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The Circle of Stupidity is complete: Suns expected to buy out Vince Carter

Jun 19, 2011, 3:00 PM EDT

Vince Carter,

This is like some crazy train of poor decision making and it just jumps from car to car to car. Let me try and trace this back for you.

Hedo Turkoglu looks awesome in the 2009 NBA playoffs, helping the Orlando Magic make it all the way to the NBA Finals. He rebounds, runs point forward, hits threes, the works. It’s a bright, bright, sun-shiny free agency day for Turkolu when he hits the open market that summer. The Magic decide to let him go by the wayside, instead opting to take on Vince Carter and his ridiculous contract which pays him $16 million in 2009-2010, largely to miss games with minor injuries, miss free throws and not be able to carry a team at all like he did back when he could… in the Mesozoic era.

The Portland Trail Blazers and Toronto Raptors get into a bidding war over Turkoglu’s services, despite many intelligent people saying this was a bad idea given Turkoglu’s age and declining abilities. Many of these people aren’t even on the internet. The Blazers think they have their man but dodge a huge bullet when Turkoglu instead opts for Toronto. Toronto pays him a huge sum of money, and he is terrible. Absolutely terrible, worse than even the harshest critics thought. He says he feels “wronged” by Toronto management (the same people that gave his elderly self that ginormous contract) and he’s eventually traded, because the Phoenix Suns lose Amar’e Stoudemire and are desperate for any forward they can get their hands on. They trade their expiring contract of Leandro Barbosa and pieces for Turkoglu, hoping he can rekindle some magic.

He can’t.

Meanwhile, the Magic have gone on and taken a big step backwards with Carter as it becomes apparent that not only is he not the high-flying, dagger-dropping Carter of old, he’s not even a vacant shell of that. He’s incapable of running the pick and roll with Dwight Howard. Let me say that again. He couldn’t figure out how to run the pick and roll with the best center in the league who is an athletic freak of nature and who’s biggest talent offensively is working in the pick and roll. Carter struggles, struggles some more, has a late season breakout game where everyone says he’s back…. and then goes right back to being Vince Carter.

So the Magic get desperate to trade him as they frantically try and hold onto Dwight Howard and prop the championship window open. The Suns meanwhile are looking to liquidate, now wanting expiring contracts, like the Barbosa one they shipped, and the Magic and Suns find themselves talking. Somehow in this process, the Suns let Jason Richardson, the younger, better player who actually contributes go in the deal, along with his $14 million expiring contract, just to get rid of Turkoglu. The Magic are willing to take on Turkoglu in order to get Richardson and because Turkoglu had had such success in Orlando. Also, they’re desperate.

So the Magic now have Turkoglu on the contract they knew they shouldn’t give him, because they opted to go after a player notorious for, well, being Vince Carter and who was aging. The Suns meanwhile, took on two more years of Vince Carter just to get rid of Turkoglu, and managed to nab Marcin Gortat, despite Gortat not being anywhere near the offensive weapon they need and regardless of their long-term prospects with Robin lopez.

The Raptors wind up with cap space. Bryan Colangelo is considered the worst of the three front offices. We haven’t even started to talk about Gilbert Arenas yet.

Anyway, the circle is almost complete as the Arizona Republic’s always reliable Paul Coro reports that the Suns are expected to buy out Vince Carter’s remaining year for $4 million instead of trying to move his final year on some other poor sap. Carter will then be a free agent in a dramatically different NBA free agency landscape following the CBA restructuring, but will inevitably get an offer from someone and probably start on top of it. The Magic will still have Turkoglu for the rest of eternity, and the Suns will pay $4 million to get rid of the player they acquired to get rid of Turkoglu, after the Raptors paid them to take him after they gave him the money the Magic knew they shouldn’t give him in the first place, which they are now paying him.

In unrelated news, NBA ownership meets with the player’s union again next week to continue discussions about how it’s the system which is unsustainable and that their economic troubles have nothing to do with their decision making on the open market.

  1. cosanostra71 - Jun 19, 2011 at 4:42 PM

    In unrelated news, NBA ownership meets with the player’s union again next week to continue discussions about how it’s the system which is unsustainable and that their economic troubles have nothing to do with their decision making on the open market.


  2. mytthor - Jun 19, 2011 at 4:47 PM

    Vince could still be a contributor on a good team, under the following conditions:

    1) He embraces the fact that he’s a scorer off the bench at this point, and;

    2) The team that signs him realizes that and expects nothing more from him.


    1) That team is in the WNBA.

    • littlejohn4life - Jun 20, 2011 at 12:04 AM

      Change the OR to an AND, now where talking

      …rumor has it he is only “half” man

  3. Justin - Jun 19, 2011 at 4:57 PM

    We can blame the team executives all we want but the fact of the matter is that this happens in the NFL all the time. Players get signed to unrealistic deals and they are either cut or restructured before the deal expires. When the Redskins signed Albert Haynesworth it was for 7 years and $100 Million. The 5th year of the deal would basically give him 29 Million and the Reskins would cut him before that ever happened.

    Is using the Redskins the best example? No they make some pretty stupid front office moves but lets not pretend other don’t do it. Once Manning signs his new contract it will be for probably 7 or 8 years. Do the Colts and Manning really believe he will be playing into his early 40s?

    • pudgalvin - Jun 19, 2011 at 5:20 PM

      Well, yeah, but that’s the exact opposite of what happens in the NBA, and a shining example of why the NFL system works better than the NBA system, from an owners (and probably fans) prospective. Nobody gets cut in the NBA. Hedo signs a massive terrible deal and there’s no provision to cut him halfway through the deal to save 50 million dollars. It’s a guaranteed contract. No such thing in the NFL. It’s a whole different ballgame for NFL GM’s; they can afford mistakes like Haynesworth. NBA GM’s mistakes set their franchies back years.

    • helinhater - Jun 19, 2011 at 8:02 PM

      Clearly you aren’t aware of the fact the NFL does not have guaranteed contracts while the NBA does…hence, when NFL teams make stupid decisions, they don’t cripple themselves for a half-decade or longer.

      This should the be the league’s only request during negotiations: remove the guaranteed contract thereby creating a system where players have an incentive to work hard.

      Yes, it’s true teams will continue to make poor decisions on the open market. However, they will no longer be competitively crippled and in debt.

      • passerby23 - Jun 19, 2011 at 9:49 PM

        The players union will never concede having non-guaranteed contracts. To me, they need to reach a happy medium that protects players and doesn’t cripple franchises with terrible long-term deals. For example, guaranteed 3 years on long-term contracts (say 5 years or more), with the option to terminate or cut after 3 years or restructure after that.

        I’m kind of surprised Phoenix just wants to cut their losses and not try to get something of value for Carter. Some contender could still use his services as a scorer off the bench, but he doesn’t have the ability to be a starting player on a contender anymore in my opinion.

  4. andyreidisfat - Jun 20, 2011 at 9:04 AM

    I am super on the players side for the NFL lockout. But with the NBA I am even more so on the owners side. This is the main reason for me. I know that the teams make these mistakes themselves, but its the fan bases that suffer. And there is nothing in sports that i am more tired of than trading expiring contracts. How many times has your team traded a decent player for a retired guys contract. The dude doesn’t even play anymore. Its stupid.

    Non-guaranteed contracts is the only way to go. It works. Especially with how the league is going these days. I’m telling you if it stays the way it is 5 years from now all the top talent will play for 6 teams and everyone else will suck. I think they should lower the cap as well so their is no super teams. I would much rather watch an NBA where any team can win any year. Do u realize that since 92 only 7 teams have one titles. 7. in almost 20 years. In that time period 14 teams have won superbowls. Thats parody. Thats why people love the nfl more than the NBA. Everyones team can win any year. But I know for a fact my sixers have no chance in next 3-4 years because of the rules and contract status. People will start tuning out in cities that really do love basketball because they know their team has no chance. Rooting against the Heat and Boston is novelty that will wear thin very soon. Its time for a change and i say owners i am willing to forgo a year of NBA if you come back the nest year with a league where anyone can win !!!

    • ayearofphilosophy - Jun 20, 2011 at 9:32 AM

      You’re right. That is parody.

  5. svallen - Jun 20, 2011 at 10:54 AM

    Found Carter’s current contract details:

    Might be a change for Carter to take a smaller salary next year and get on a winning/championship caliber team. Depends on how big his ego might be to take that kind of pay cut AND which team is willing to take a chance on him.

  6. Brian Serra - Jun 20, 2011 at 11:05 AM

    Go Magic?

  7. thetooloftools - Jun 20, 2011 at 11:40 PM

    MY HEAD IS SPINNING at all the stupidity.

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