Sacramento Kings: Vince Carter’s far from slowing down

Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images
Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images /

After signing a one-year, $8 million deal with the Sacramento Kings over the summer, Vince Carter is still on a mission to prove the final act of his career will end on a high note.

With the hope of being able to cultivate a star over the next few seasons, the Sacramento Kings brought in a player this summer who knows a thing or two about being a superstar.

In the first few days of free agency, the Kings brought in veteran swingman and soon-to-be Hall-of-Famer Vince Carter on a one-year, $8 million deal. The addition of Carter was the last signing of the veterans the Kings targeted in free agency after bringing in both Zach Randolph and George Hill just a couple of days prior.

By coming to Sacramento, Carter has instantly become the elder statesmen on a Kings roster that is primarily made up of young and incredibly inexperienced players.

While Carter’s days of superstardom have long been a distant memory at this point in time, it’s been his transformation to playing as a role player and setting an example on and off the court that has made his NBA career a long and lasting one.

With that, this upcoming season will be the 20th of Carter’s career, which has long been a personal goal for the Florida native.

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From that perspective, it’s hard not to see the appeal of bringing a player of Carter’s experience and wisdom, which will be beneficial to everyone in the Kings’ locker room, no matter how young or experienced a player may be.

But while Carter is already doing his part to create a positive culture change in Sacramento with training camp officially underway, he still is able to make an impact on the court at the ripe old age of 40 as well.

In his third and final season with the Memphis Grizzlies last year, Carter averaged 8.0 points per game and shot 37.8 percent from three, along with posting 3.1 rebounds and 1.8 assists in 73 appearances.

Although those stats were a big improvement on his previous two seasons in Memphis, Carter’s impact was felt beyond his own individual numbers as he posted a +3.6 net rating (per and ranked ninth among shooting guards around the league in ESPN’s Real Plus-Minus rankings.

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The value of having a player that carries that level of impact and efficiency as Carter still does at this point will certainly be to the Kings’ benefit in any kind of lineup head coach Dave Joerger puts on the floor.

Despite being in the league for three decades now, Carter’s career is far from finishing up and through all the teams he’s been a part of, he still remains a productive figure after all these years.

Naturally, one would assume Carter could have latched on to a team that was in a better position to contend for a championship, much less compete for a playoff spot than the Kings this season. But that wasn’t much of a possibility in Carter’s mind as he explained during the team’s Media Day session earlier this week via NBC Sports Bay Area.

"“Great opportunity for me. I always liked the state. At this point, it’s not really about the money, more so than the opportunity. I still want to play in this league. I didn’t want to sit and collect a check and ride a wave of some championship team. Yes, that’d sound great, but I’m just at a point where I still feel like I can contribute at a high level. And maybe down the line, maybe that option I’ll really embark on. Until then, I want to play, I want to contribute and still help the young guys get better and go through the ups and downs of this league, you know, ’cause I’ve been there.”"

As with any NBA player of any age or experience, it’s obvious that Carter carries plenty of pride with the career that he’s built and his performance level certainly backs up his belief that he can contribute in a consistent role.

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That’s exactly what he’ll get with the Kings in some capacity this year and in doing so, Carter will hopefully continue fending off Father Time for another season when it’s all said and done.