- Tim MacMahon, ESPN Staff Writer
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Vince Carter believes he has at least a couple of quality NBA seasons left in his old legs.
At 37 years old in his 16th NBA season, Carter ranks among the NBA’s most productive reserves, averaging 12.0 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2.8 assists as the Mavericks’ sixth man. Carter’s contract expires this summer, but he fully intends to continue his career next season, although he expects to retire by his 40th birthday.
“I have a couple of years left,” Carter said Wednesday afternoon. “Maybe I can [play until 40].
“It’s just coming into the league and even early in the league, if you would have asked me back then at 25, ‘Yeah, you’re going to probably play until you’re 40, huh?’ I would have said there’s no way. There’s no way I would even make it to 37. If I can continue to just do the things that’s been keeping me on the court and keeping me going, who knows? But 40?!”
Carter laughed at the thought of celebrating his 40th birthday in an NBA uniform, a rarity for any player but especially a wing whose best asset for most of his career was his remarkable athleticism. Carter calls it “crazy” but doesn’t completely rule out the possibility, saying he’ll see how his body feels.
Carter is already in extremely rare air among wing players at his age. The only wings to average at least 12 points per game when they were 37 or older are Hall of Famers John Havlicek, Michael Jordan, Reggie Miller and Dominique Wilkins.
“I still love the game,” said Carter, whose 22,955 career points rank 27th in NBA history. “I still enjoy competing and being around the guys. Sometimes it’s just tough. When you go to practice, it’s like, ‘Man, I feel 37 today.’”
There’s a decent chance that Carter’s career will continue with the Mavs. Owner Mark Cuban has publicly stated several times that he’d like to re-sign Carter, who is intrigued by the possibility of finishing his career as a Maverick.
5mMarc Stein and Tim MacMahon