Age no issue for Carter nor his new team, Memphis
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) Vince Carter, heading into his 17th NBA season, doesn't consider age a big issue anymore. The 37-year-old veteran sees a lot of older teams around the league and notes a ''very old team'' has just won the championship in San Antonio.
So the opportunity to compete for a title drew the eight-time All Star to Memphis, even though the Grizzlies have a bunch of 30-somethings in Zach Randolph, Tony Allen and Tayshaun Prince.
''I just see they're playoff-ready and just see what I bring to the table,'' Carter said Monday. ''I'm able to come in and hopefully get us over the hump. That's the goal. Go as far as possible and hopefully hold up that O'Brien trophy here in Memphis. So why not make that the goal?''
The Grizzlies introduced Carter on Monday after signing him to a reported three-year, $12 million contract. The Grizzlies have reached the playoffs the past four seasons, losing in the Western Conference finals in 2013. Grizzlies coach Dave Joerger and team counsel Joe Abadi visited Carter at his home last week looking to replace Mike Miller on the roster in a deal clinched with a call from owner Robert Pera.
''I'm all about comfort and what fits again on and off the court,'' Carter said. ''I think it was a mutual feeling both ways, which made this feel right.''
The 6-foot-6 Carter spent the past three seasons in Dallas and has averaged 20.2 points a game in his career. Last season, he averaged 11.9 points in 81 games coming off the bench. He'll help replace Mike Miller, who is younger at 34 and shot 45.5 percent from 3-point range last season. Carter averaged 39.4 percent beyond the arc but was 15 of 31 with a buzzer-beating 3 for the win in game 3 of Dallas' first-round playoff loss to San Antonio.
Memphis averaged making an NBA-worst 4.9 3-pointers a game during the regular season. Carter, a former dunk champion, now is seventh all-time with 1,809 3-pointers made, and his 146 3s last season were the most by any NBA player coming off the bench.
Joerger said the Grizzlies need what Carter brings as a shooter, playmaker and leader whether starting or coming off the bench.
''I don't know if people realize he is a top five pick and roll player in the NBA and still very athletic, still makes open shots,'' Joerger said. ''But we want him to come in a role where we give him the ball and let him do his thing. That's going to help us.''
Carter will wear his old No. 15 in Memphis, a nice change after wearing No. 25 in Dallas. Carter, who turns 38 in January, said he lifts weights year-round as part of his workout to stay healthy for the NBA.
''It's tough,'' Carter said. ''You know kids are like, `Hey I had your poster in my room,' and now we're getting ready to do this jump ball thing. It's tough to deal with, but at the same time it makes me feel good that I put a lot of work in to stay healthy and still can compete at a high level.''