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Suns now have more time to decide on Vince Carter’s contract

Jun 23, 2011, 2:00 PM EST

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The Phoenix Suns and Vince Carter have agreed to extend the deadline that would make his contract become fully guaranteed, according to a team press release. Originally, the Suns had until June 30 to decide whether they would waive him for $4 million, or keep him on the books for next season for the full amount of his guaranteed contract: an astronomical $18 million.

“This change gives us additional time and flexibility to make a decision on Vince’s contract,” said Suns President of Basketball Operations Lon Babby.

When you’re talking $18 million for Vince Carter, there is only one decision here, and it had been previously reported that Phoenix had already made it. And deadline extension or not, it’s the same one the team will make when the time comes again.

Letting Carter go and not committing to that ridiculous salary in these extremely uncertain financial times for the league — with a lockout quickly approaching and a new, lower salary cap structure in place whenever a new collective bargaining agreement does get done — is really the only option. But the extension, with the new deadline for the Suns now standing at the start of the 2011-2012 free agency period, does allow Phoenix to explore trade scenarios which can include Carter’s contract for next season.

Any deal involving big names must include players whose contracts closely match on the salary side, and $18 million gives the Suns almost unlimited options in pursuing whomever they choose.

Now, as for whether or not another team would be willing to take on Vince Carter at $18 million for next season, well, of course, that doesn’t seem very likely. Then again, neither did the Wizards being able to get out from under Gilbert Arenas‘ monster contract, which had around $60 million remaining when they dealt him to the Orlando Magic last December.

So, while it remains doubtful that the Suns will be able to convince another team to commit to Carter at that price for next season, there is still a chance, however slim. This move simply buys the team some extra time to do so.

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