Raptors GM says trade front is quiet

STEVE BUFFERY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:16 AM ET

After pulling everyone's chain all summer, Vince Carter finally has decided it's time for the truth. And the truth is, the $12-million-a-season basketball superstar wants to be shipped to another team and expects Raptors general manager Rob Babcock to put the best interests of the franchise on hold and pull the trigger on a deal as soon as possible.

The Raptors have bent over backward for their coddled star for years. Nevertheless, Carter contacted a reporter on Wednesday to selfishly announce that it's time to do "what's best for me."

Throughout the off-season there were reports Carter wanted out of Toronto, requests that were relayed by his mother, friends, agent Mark Steinberg and, most recently, on his website. But when Carter made a trip to Toronto in July to promote his charity game, he was anything but forthcoming in his desire to be moved, claiming that everything was fine between him and the team.

Since taking over as GM in June, Babcock has been forced to continually answer questions about his disgruntled star and the GM continues to insist he will not trade Carter unless the deal is beneficial to the Raptors, nor will he be pressured to trade anyone. Training camp begins Oct. 5 at Brock University in St. Catharines.

"Vince is under contract with our basketball team and like all players on our team we expect (him) to be in camp and be in shape and be ready to go with a great attitude and fulfill their contract," Babcock said yesterday at a media event to announce an Oct. 20 pre-season game against visiting Italian premier league team Benetton.

It seems unlikely that Carter will come into camp with a great attitude.

Babcock, pointing out that Carter's wish to be traded is nothing new, waved aside suggestions that the pouting swingman would have a negative affect on morale.

"I don't think team morale will suffer because, first of all, they don't even know us yet," Babcock said of the players. "As camp unfolds and they get to know (coach) Sam Mitchell and myself and the rest of the staff, I believe that 90% of all players would love to play the type of basketball we're going to play.

"Vince is a good person and once he gives us an opportunity to show what we're about, I think he will really enjoy playing for the Toronto Raptors."

The GM said that there is nothing on the table in terms of a trade for Carter.

"I've been in regular contact with every team in the league, so I have a pulse of what's going on out there," Babcock said. "I know what teams have interest in what players and nothing has changed. Right now, it's very quiet out there."

Babcock refused to express disappointment over Carter's third-party expressions of dissatisfaction.

"He's free to do what he thinks is best for him," Babcock said. "It's not the way I would go about doing things, that's not to say that's not the right thing for him."

Mitchell believes Carter's trade demands stem more from his frustrations with the former Raptor hierarchy.

"Unfortunately Rob and I have to deal with the aftermath of three of four years of broken promises (to Carter)," Mitchell told the Fan 590 yesterday.

Carter signed a six-year contract extension worth more than $90 million US following the 2000-01 season.


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