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  Wed, May 26, 2004


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Give Dr. J a chance -- Carter
By BILL HARRIS -- Toronto Sun

Vince Carter yesterday made a passionate public plea for the Raptors to consider hiring Julius (Dr. J) Erving as their general manager.

"Number 1," Carter replied when asked where Erving ranks on his personal wish list of potential GMs.

"And it's not only because I like the guy. He would bring credibility and a lot of great things to this organization."

And for those who say Dr. J doesn't have enough experience to run an NBA team, Carter had some strong words.

"I think that's just ridiculous," Carter said. "Let's talk about facts. Did Larry Bird have (experience) before he got his job (running the Indiana Pacers)? Did Danny Ainge (before he was hired by the Boston Celtics)? You have to start somewhere sometime. (Erving) is a guy who has won a championship (as a star player with the Philadelphia 76ers in 1983). He knows what it takes. He knows what pieces you need to make a complete puzzle to win. So, what better person?"

Carter, the Raptors' marquee player, was at Dundas Square yesterday to promote his fourth annual charity all-star game, which will take place on July 30 at the Air Canada Centre. But when the media surrounded Carter, most of the questions had to do with Erving, who several weeks ago declared his interest in the GM post.

The Raptors' hierarchy has contacted Erving and he will be interviewed formally soon, according to league sources.

"I don't want to say anything right now," Larry Tanenbaum, the chairman of the board at Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment Ltd., said when asked specifically about Erving yesterday. However, Tanenbaum said he appreciates Carter's passion on the matter.

Essentially, Carter is putting substantial heat on his bosses with regard to Erving, one of Carter's heroes when he was a kid. But Carter claimed he's open-minded, as long as Erving at least gets an interview and the job is filled soon.

"(Erving) might blow your socks off and be the perfect one, or he might not," Carter said. "But you don't find out until you give him that interview and I think the time is now.

"(Being without a GM) kind of makes me nervous, man. You get restless. But I'm going to say this, so people don't say, 'Oh, he's pushing Dr. J and forget everybody else.' I just want a GM in place and I want it to be a good one. If they feel (Erving) is not the one, well, he's not the one. But now is the time to really buckle down and find somebody, because this affects the whole summer."

However, Tanenbaum won't make a rushed judgment.

"We're not putting any time-frame on it," he said.

One thing Carter and Tanenbaum agree upon is that the Raptors are at a crossroads. Of course, it would help immensely if the club could catch a break in the NBA draft lottery tonight, which will determine the order of selection for the top 14 picks. Centre Chris Bosh will be the Raptors' representative, and Carter hopes Bosh will be more lucky than Carter was as Toronto's rep last spring.

But the draft lottery is a matter of chance. The search for a GM is not. While Carter and Tanenbaum have different concerns and prefer different methods, they both know the importance of finding the right man for the job.

And if the right man just happens to be Dr. J, then hey, Carter won't fight it.

"I didn't want to put him through an interview," Carter said of his recent one-on-one conversations with Erving. "If I could do it, that would be great and he'd have the job. I just wanted to hear what he was thinking and let him know he has my blessing and my support."

That much is obvious. And who knows? If things go well on the GM front in the next few weeks, maybe the 54-year-old Erving could suit up for Carter's charity game.

"I don't think he would do it," Carter said with a smile. "But that would be pretty neat."

Presumably not as neat as having Dr. J as a boss.









Do you like the new-look Raptors heading into the 2013-14 NBA season?
  Yes, new GM made great moves
  No, they will still be a terrible team
  Unsure what to make of it


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