Vince Carter: DeRozan ‘deserves to finish his career’ as a Raptor

Memphis Grizzlies' Vince Carter (left) plays a pass beyond Toronto Raptors' DeMar DeRozan during second half NBA basketball action in Toronto on Sunday, February 21, 2016 (Chris Young/CP)

Vince Carter knows a thing or two about being a Toronto Raptors icon and getting traded.

So, he can sympathize with the hurt feelings DeMar DeRozan experienced after getting dealt from the only NBA team he’d ever known in a swap with the San Antonio Spurs that landed Toronto Kawhi Leonard.

“We all look at it like DeMar has done so many great things there, which he has,” Carter told The Athletic’s Jon Krawczynski. “He deserves to finish his career there, especially if he wanted to, like we all know he did.

“It’s just one of those things where the organization, I guess they saw it different. They wanted to take advantage of an opportunity and who knows if it works or not? If it works, everybody forgets about it. If it doesn’t, it blows up in their face. I think that’s how these things work, and it’s an unfortunate situation.”

“It’s scary. As hurt as he should be and he’s allowed to be, I think it’s an awesome opportunity for him,” Carter continued. “It’s not all the time where a situation happens like this and a player like DeMar goes to a team like the Spurs.”

This sentiment of Carter’s, as genuine as it may seem, is also a bit ironic considering his own history with the Raptors.

Unlike DeRozan, Carter will forever be an infamously polarizing figure among Raptors fans because of the way it all ended between both sides.

On one hand, Carter put the Raptors on the NBA map and is a major contributing reason why they have become the organization they are today. On the other, he appeared to give up on the team by the end of his run with it, even notoriously admitting he wasn’t trying as hard in an interview he did with John Thompson after he was dealt to the New Jersey Nets.

And while time does have the ability to heal most wounds — Carter’s reputation is almost completely repaired among many Raptors faithful — it’s undeniable the damage he caused to the franchise when he was traded, particularly when you consider the sub-par return of Alonzo Mourning (who didn’t even report), Aaron Williams, Eric Williams and a pair of draft picks that ended up becoming Joey Graham and Renaldo Balkman.

Chris Bosh years aside, it wasn’t until the 2009 draft when the Raptors selected a skinny DeRozan out of USC that the franchise’s course really began to change, and a true heir apparent to Carter emerged.

This Raptors legacy of DeRozan’s that Carter speaks so glowingly of was originally his, but he, essentially, voluntarily gave it away. So his sympathetic words ring a little hollow.

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