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  Fri, June 11, 2004


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The mother of all trades?
Steve Simmons says Vince's mom has got to go
By STEVE SIMMONS -- Toronto Sun

When last we saw Mats Sundin's mother -- or better yet, the actress playing her in the commercial -- she was serving soup to her hungry son.

When last we heard from Carlos Delgado's mother ... well, truth is, we've never heard from Carlos Delgado's mother.

So why is Vince Carter's mother Michelle everywhere?

Why is she at courtside, and on all-sports radio, and too often the unnamed source, inadvertently embarrassing herself and her son and the Raptors all at the same time, spreading the Vince message to whoever cares or whoever will listen.

Why is everything always about Vince?

The Raptors search for a general manager: What does Vince think?

The Raptors hire a new management team: Will Vince like this, or will he ask to be traded?

The Raptors need a new coach: Wonder who Vince wants?

Vince wanted Dr. J to be the GM so the Raptors interviewed Julius Erving twice. Had Vince wanted Dr. Dre, he probably would have been granted an interview, also.

ANNOYING

It's hard to determine what is more annoying: Vince's mother becoming the official spokesperson for everything that bothers her son, or Carter being party to his mother playing the basketball version of Bonnie Lindros -- and we all know how well that worked out for Eric.

Carter is getting married soon. Maybe this will be the best thing to happen to him. Maybe this will distance himself, at least professionally, from mommy.

Maybe the kind of responsibility that marriage brings will make him a more responsible athlete to both his teammates and to the Raptors organization.

Maybe. Or maybe not.

MISTAKE

This is Year 7 for Vince Carter if he makes it to the fall as a Raptor. And the team has won just one playoff series during that time. The best ball he played was four seasons ago. The best the team ever played was the playoff run it made without him three seasons back.

In the meantime, the Raptors have made the mistake of treating Carter, contractually and otherwise, as though he is one of the greats in basketball history. He is not a bad person, just not necessarily a strong one. And ownership, almost from the beginning, has worshipped this idol rather than worked with him.

Ownership believed if it made mommy happy, it would be making Vince happy by extension. The owners gave her a voice and him a voice and they tip-toed around when they had to. The same strategy of bowing down to Antonio Davis and his wife, Kendra, ended up blowing up badly for the Raps.

Instead of earning confidence, the Raptors found themselves taken advantage of.

Now Rob Babcock, the new GM, is supposed to walk on some kind of eggshells because he wasn't Carter's choice for the job and the whispers -- most of them coming from mommy -- are that Vince may ask to be traded.

Babcock, when he sits down with Carter, should make a few things clear. One, that Carter works for him and not the opposite. Two, that he will communicate with Carter and his agent, but there is no hotline for mommy. Three, that if Vince doesn't like this setup, there is the door and don't let it hit you on the way out.

Babcock, obviously, will be more diplomatic than that. But is there any other player he will be forced to make peace with? And you have to wonder: What works with Vince Carter?

Kevin O'Neill rode him hard. That lasted about 20 games. Lenny Wilkens gave him free rein, and Glen Grunwald asked his advice on almost everything and Carter took advantage. Butch Carter used the tough-love approach and sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn't.

If I'm Babcock, I'll keep the player and see if I can't trade the mother and see how everything works out in the end.









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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