Rumor Time Has Begun.
NBA free agency is set to begin on Monday, June 30 at 9:00 p.m. PT, and while the Portland Trail Blazers are stuck with the bi-annual and mid-level exceptions as their only avenues toward improvement, there’s one former All-Star who is reportedly interested in joining Rip City.
In a recent report from CSNNW.com’s Chris Haynes, Damian Lillard listed Mo Williams, Channing Frye, Spencer Hawes, Trevor Ariza and Vince Carter as his top free-agent targets. Of the four who did not wear a Trail Blazers jersey last season, Carter is the one whom Haynes identifies as a target with interest.
In Haynes’ own words, “Carter is ‘open’ to the idea of coming to Portland and helping boost the bench up, we’re told by someone close to the veteran guard.” The reporter continued by stating, “Dallas is the clear frontrunner, but his mind is nowhere near made up.”
At this juncture, Carter will have his fair share of suitors in free agency. The 37-year-old is well past his prime, but his three-point shooting and willingness to play off the bench are two things every squad in the Association looks for this time of year.
If Carter is indeed interested in playing for Portland, the feeling would reportedly be mutual. According to Tim MacMahon of ESPNDallas.com, the Blazers are five playoffs teams that see the swingman as a fit — the others are the Miami Heat, Oklahoma City Thunder, Toronto Raptors and, of course, the Dallas Mavericks.
Portland may not have as much to offer in terms of championship potential as the Oklahoma City Thunder or Miami Heat, but what it can give is minutes. The Blazers are desperately looking for someone to help relieve the starters of their workload, and while they have an experienced shooter in Dorell Wright coming off the bench at the 3, his performance last year did little to ensure him a spot in the 2014-15 rotation.
Where Carter ultimately signs has yet to be seen, but this isn’t the first time he’s been linked to the Trail Blazers. When Portland failed to trade Raef Lafrentz’s expiring contract in 2008, one rumor had the big man swapping jerseys with Carter when the small forward still played for the then-New Jersey Nets.
The Blazers will be quiet this summer compared to those with cap space, but if any veteran is willing to take a pay cut for a shot at a deep playoff run, Portland could swoop in and find a steal when you least expect it.