Thursday, June 25, 2009
Updated: June 26, 11:46 AM ET
Carter traded to hometown Magic
ESPN.com news services
The New Jersey Nets have traded Vince Carter and Ryan Anderson to the Orlando Magic for Rafer Alston, Tony Battie and Courtney Lee.
"Vince [Carter] gives us a veteran, go-to scoring presence, especially at the end of games," Magic general manager Otis Smith said in a statement. "Our goal remains the same -- to win a championship. Any time you can add an All-Star to help you reach your goals, you have to do it. Vince has been a bonafide scorer in this league for 11 seasons and we are excited to add both him and Ryan [Anderson] to our team. We thank Rafer, Tony and Courtney for their efforts and wish them success in the future."
Carter found out about the trade at his basketball camp, adding he thought it was a joke at first.
"Every player hopes for an opportunity like this, to just once compete for an NBA championship," Carter said. "This a dream come true for me. Now I have a chance to win a championship."
An eight-time NBA All-Star, Carter grew up in Daytona Beach and lives in Orlando.
The trade gives the Magic even more star power on their quest to win an NBA championship. The addition of Carter, 32, to a lineup that already consists of All-Star players Dwight Howard, Rashard Lewis and Jameer Nelson would make Orlando the favorite to win the Eastern Conference title next year if the franchise also finds a way to bring back Hedo Turkoglu, who already has notified the team that he is opting out of his contract this summer.
Orlando is hoping Carter will provide center Howard with a perimeter scorer who can create his own shot -- something the Magic lacked in losing the NBA Finals to the Los Angeles Lakers.
As for the Nets, the move is a cost-cutting measure. Both Alston and Battie are in the last year of their contracts, and trading for them would shave $16.5 million off New Jersey's roster in the summer of 2010 and put the Nets well below the salary cap.
"I think everyone here is sad because everybody liked Vince," Nets president Rod Thorn said Thursday night. "But the reality of the situation is we have to do what is best for our franchise and move on from there."
The deal shows the Nets are planning for free agency before the 2010-11 season, when LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and Amare Stoudemire can test the market.
"The trade we made today provides our franchise with numerous options in the long-term development of our team," Thorn said earlier in a statement. "We believe that in Courtney Lee, we have acquired a young, dynamic player who will be a very good player in this league for a number of years. Rafer Alston has proven to be a quality player in this league for a number of years, and Tony Battie will provide a strong veteran presence off the bench."
Over the life of the contracts, the Nets save $40 million by making the deal.
The deal also gives the Nets a young, promising shooting guard in Lee.
Lee, a rookie from Western Kentucky last season, was a late first-round pick in 2008 and turned out to be one of the Magic's few bright spots in recent drafts. Lee started 42 games and was a solid contributor for the Magic last season, averaging 8.4 points per game.
But the Magic were willing to give up Lee to acquire Carter and at the same time clear payroll.
With Nelson already named the starting point guard for next season, the team was looking to move Alston -- and his $5.25 million contract that ends after next season.
Alston was acquired at the trade deadline from the Houston Rockets after Nelson suffered what was then called a season-ending shoulder surgery. Alston's acquisition largely saved the Magic's season, but when Nelson was able to return for the Finals, Alston complained about his minutes and the point guards never could find their rhythm.
The Magic's biggest cost-cutting move is parting ways with the 33-year-old Battie, who will make $6.2 million next season in the final year of his contract.
Carter, a proven offensive force who averaged 20.8 points, 5.1 rebounds and 4.7 assists in 80 games last season, carried most of the load for New Jersey along with point guard Devin Harris and rookie Brook Lopez.
Anderson, a 6-foot-10 forward who was the 21st pick overall in last year's draft, started 30 games and averaged 7.4 points and 4.7 rebounds.
A few hours after trading Carter, the Nets used the 11th pick in the draft to select Terrence Williams, a versatile 6-foot-6 small forward from Louisville.
Information from NBA Insider Chad Ford and The Associated Press was used in this report.