Steve Nash and Vince Carter

When the Phoenix Suns traded Goran Dragic and a lottery-protected first round pick for Aaron Brooks yesterday, they made a statement that they didn’t believe Dragic was fit to succeed Nash as an eventual starter. This issue becomes more pressing as it becomes more likely than ever that the Suns will trade Nash after the season to start a true rebuilding process.

It’s hard to believe that a 37-year-old point guard could be one of the hottest commodities in the off-season trade market, but there’s no doubt that any contender looking for an instant upgrade at the position will be giving Suns management a call or two. Meanwhile, Nash has a teammate who is three years younger and an eight-time All-Star who will be a free agent after the season and probably won’t have any interested suitors unless he’s will to sign for around 25 percent of the $17.5 million he’s currently making — that would be Vince Carter.

I don’t know if this has been suggested elsewhere, but it wouldn’t shock me if Vince retired after this season. He’s in obvious decline and the Suns barely use him late in games anymore — he’s played just nine fourth-quarter minutes in his last six games. He’s made an incredible $130 million (give or take a few million) over his career, so I doubt he needs any more money. Maybe a contender will see value in him as a scorer off the bench next season, but they’ll have to overlook his porous defence because that part of his game hasn’t aged as well at it has with 38-year-old teammate Grant Hill.

I know it’s a weird thought, but what if this is Carter’s last game in the Air Canada Centre? I’ll be very interested to see what kind of effort he puts out tonight. If he seems to have an unusual spring in his step, that might be something worth reading into.

Injury report

Toronto: Joey Dorsey is out and Jerryd Bayless is a gametime decision. Reggie Evans will resume practicing tomorrow.

Phoenix: Zabian Dowdell (who?) is questionable for tonight due to illness

Five questions

1. Do you think James Johnson should be the Raptors’ starting small forward for the rest of the season?

2. If Steve Nash, Vince Carter and Grant Hill had played on the same team in the 2004-05 season (think Jersey Vince, not Raptor Vince), would that team have contended for a championship?

3. If this is Vince Carter’s last season in the NBA, do you think he belongs in the Basketball Hall of Fame?

4. Now that Steve Nash has publicly announced, “If they want to move me, I’m open to that,” should the Raptors go after him this summer?

5. If you could choose to have either Nash or Carter wearing a Raptors uniform next season, who would you pick?

Start time: 7:00 PM ET
Channel: TSN2
Liveblog:
Natasha Alibhai on theScore.com and ScoreMobile
Probable starting lineups

Toronto: Jose Calderon, DeMar DeRozan, James Johnson, Amir Johnson, Andrea Bargnani
Phoenix: Steve Nash, Vince Carter, Grant Hill, Channing Frye, Robin Lopez

Tonight’s pregame song is “I Need a Doctor” by Dr. Dre and Eminem because… do I need to explain why? It’s a new song from Dre and Em. Jeez.

Comments (11)

  1. This ‘Barbosa sired a child with Nash’s wife’ rumor is too symmetrical to be true right? Right??

  2. It’s none of my business, but it’s my understanding they’re still friendly. Maybe somebody actually at the game will let us know if that’s not the case.

  3. This is a pretty weak track, IMO. Also, how much did Gatorade pay for the product placement?

  4. As much as I’d love to have Nash here…I don’t think it makes any sense for him or the Raptors. He needs a shot at a championship…and realistically the Raptors’ rebuild has barely begin. I don’t think they’ll sniff the playoffs for 2 or 3 more seasons

  5. On Twitter, Nash said that he & Barbosa are co-hosting a party for his charitable foundation after the game. Doubt they would do that if Barbosa used Nash’s ex-wife as a sword sheath.

  6. 1) Yes
    2) No
    3) No
    4) Meh
    5) Nash … although I would rather his spend his last couple of years in the league with a contender.

  7. 1. I think that at the very least, James Johnson has earned himself at least another five games as a starter with the Chicago performance. He certainly seems to complement the other Raptors starters well.

    2. I don’t think Jersey Vince was any more of a complementary piece to Steve Nash than Phoenix Vince is. Nash at his prime has always been about team play, while Vince has always been about individual performance.

    3 I think that Vince’s spot in the NBA hall of fame would get tired of the poor supporting cast of Hall-of-famers in his wing, underperform, and eventually force a trade which would net the NBA Hall of Fame the San Diego Chicken and three members of the Washington Generals.

    4. Nash is a quality piece for a team that is a elite point guard away from playing with the big boys. Accordingly, his best fit here would be on his way to being flipped to another team where he would actually be enough to help them contend.

    5. Given that you’re basically asking “which of these basketball players would you like to see suffer?”, there can be only one answer from me: Vince.

  8. Waterboy: I like how you think with your answer to #5.

  9. I also like Waterboy’s answer to #3

    i think Vince’s notorious lack of character undoes the boost he’d get from the early dunks. 20000 points is nice, but that[‘s pretty much all he’s done. He’s never won.

  10. I don’t know about you guys, but when Vince retires, I’m gonna writhe on a basketball court in pain one last time, for him.

  11. If he ever does get inducted, I ecpect him to walk up to the mic, brush against the podium and drop to the floor clutching random body parts. He will then lie face down on the carpet for a full five minutes before returning to his seat with a noticable limp and a severe grimace.

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