The Raptors twittersphere blew up late this afternoon after Michael Grange tweeted the following:

 

Raptors fans grimaced in disgust over the realization that the Raptors passed up on two surefire Hall of Famers in Kid Canada and Dirk in exchange for a guy who never fully capitalized on his talents (Vince Carter) and another player who made just one All Star appearance (Davis).

While it’s easy to throw expletives Glen Grunwald’s way in hindsight, let’s please take a step back and consider what Shannon said. As Grange points out in his tweet, the timeline for this declined trade was “2001ish.”

Whether it’s the 2000-2001 season or the 2001-2002 season we’re talking about, or somewhere in between, Raptors fans and Canadian basketball fans would have rioted if Grunwald pulled the trigger on a deal to ship Vince Carter out of town. At the time, the Raptors were a promising Eastern Conference team on the rise. Few people remember that the Raps were seen as Eastern Conference favourites, or at least one of the favourites, after losing to the 76ers in the 2001 East semis and later signing Hakeem Olajuwon.

Not to mention, while we were all left with an extremely bitter taste in our mouths over the way VC made his Toronto exit, let’s remember what he was in and around the year 2001, and that was simply the most electrifying basketball player on the planet, and certainly the biggest basketball draw in the world.

He was that big. He was the best player on a team that some thought could be a championship contender within a year or two, and he would have been only 24-years-old. In terms of stats, Vince was averaging around 27 points per game to go along with approximately five rebounds, four assists and over a steal and block per game.

Antonio Davis was an All Star big man in 2001, giving the young Raptors around 14 points, 10 rebounds and a couple of blocks on a nightly basis.

Nash was a 26 or 27-year-old point guard, averaging around 16 points and seven assists per game. He was very good, but he was a far cry from the lead guard that went on to win back-to-back MVP awards and cemented his hall of fame legacy as one of the best pure point guards of all time. As for Dirk, he was already scoring over 20 points per game while adding over nine rebounds, and he would have only been around 23-years-old.

If you were going to rank the four players at the time of the proposed deal, I’d be willing to bet that almost everyone would have Vince at the top of the list, followed closely by Dirk, with Davis and Nash seen as a toss-up for third and fourth.

At the end of the day, while it may sting to think about the fact that Nash and Nowitzki could have laid the foundation for a perennial contender North of the border, no Raptors fan can realistically look back and say they would have been content with this deal in 2001, even despite the fact that the Raptors would have acquired a Canadian legend and a budding superstar.

And it’s because no matter what their passports said, in and around the year 2001, there was no bigger professional athlete in Canada than Vince “Air Canada” Carter.

Comments (9)

  1. Wow, that’s really interesting.

    I agree with you though, at the time when VC was just entering the league, there’s no way you trade him for Nash and Nowitzki, or really anyone for that matter. He was untouchable at the time.

    Although it looks like it would have been the better deal looking back at it now, it was the logical choice at the time to keep Carter. Just unfortunate how things ended up shortly after.

  2. It’s probably bullshit, one of those anecdotes that is only relevant because of how the careers of the players/futures of the organizations in question turned out.

    As much we talk about Vince’s value in 2001, let’s not overlook what the Mavericks were doing with Nowitzki, Finley and Nash. They were about to break a 10-year playoff drought and all three were emerging as stars.

  3. What a great night, Nets win, Pistons win, Cavaliers win and Kings are on their way to a win.

  4. Back then they VC was being mentioned in the same breathe as Kobe and MJ. He was the next big thing but he never had the right attitude and was very immature . Could have been a hall of famer now hell just be seen on the top 50 most hated basketball players of all time. Guess it’s in his genes (t-mac)

  5. this shows that grunwald is dumber than babcock 2 future HOF’s for to guys that only got us 2 the conference finals once and guys who were mediocre after that hmmm i wonder what would have happened if he had swung that

  6. Nobody is dumber than Babcock.

    It’s one thing to criticize a guy for a trade he didn’t do based on some rinky-dink anon quote from a former exec, it’s another to have a guy readily destroy value through awful draft picks and trades.

    I would not blame GG overly for standing pat at the time. Fortunes diverged, but are we then to say that Dallas’ GM was an idiot for offering the same deal? Clearly he saw the value in that trade the same way the raptors did, because he wanted it and they rejected it.

  7. To put it in today’s perspective, would you trade Lebron to the Wolves for Love and Rubio?

  8. Carter was never LeBron. More like the Clippers’ Griffith for Love and Rubio.

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