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Tuesday, February 14, 2012
Fresh fit: Vince Carter better than expected

By Tim MacMahon

Our weekly look at the Mavs' newcomers:

DALLAS – Mark Cuban considered it a no-brainer to sign Vince Carter for the mini-midlevel exception.

But Cuban readily admits that he’s getting a much better bargain than he anticipated for Carter’s $3 million salary.

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Mavs guard Vince Carter talks about why he chose Dallas over other teams, crediting cryotherapy in helping him feel strong and ready throughout this short, quick season and much more.

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Everybody knew Carter could still score a little bit. After all, “Half Man, Half Amazing” is creeping up on 21,000 career points. Carter’s passing ability, especially out of the post, and defensive intensity have been pleasant surprises.

“Vinsanity is down to get dirty,” Cuban said.

Vinsanity is down to do whatever it takes to win.

If that means coming off the bench, Carter is cool with it, having done so 10 times this season. If that means starting, he’s happy to do it.

Carter came to Dallas because he desperately wants a championship ring. He’s even hungrier for that to happen after witnessing the banner-raising and ring ceremonies.

“This is something that can complete my career,” Carter said. “I want it for a lot of reasons. I just feel like I’ve done a lot in the league, been through a lot, seen a lot, accomplished a lot, but that’s the ultimate goal. Having that chance, I’m excited about that.”

The 35-year-old Carter is putting up impressive numbers for a part time player, averaging 10.8 points while shooting .455 from the floor and .458 from the 3-point line, 3.0 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.1 steals in 23.5 minutes per game.

But his plus-minus total, which is by far the best on the team, is a better indicator of Carter’s impact. The Mavs have outscored opponents by 161 points in Carter’s 563 minutes. The only players in the West with better plus-minus totals are Portland’s LaMarcus Aldridge and Gerald Wallace and the Clippers’ Chris Paul.

“He’s been phenomenal for us, just phenomenal,” Cuban said. “He’ll contribute in any way he possibly can. He’s one of those guys, all he wants to do is win.”