Babcock playing peacekeeper

STEVE BUFFERY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:20 AM ET

Raptors GM Rob Babcock played the part of Neville Chamberlain yesterday, preaching peace in our time between coach Sam Mitchell and superstar Vince Carter.

Mitchell has expressed frustration and dismay towards a couple of his top players, particularly the underachieving Carter, and even sat Vinsanity for the entire fourth quarter in a 105-102 loss to Portland on Saturday night.

After the Portland loss, Mitchell was asked if Carter just didn't have it, to which he replied: "Ask him. (Bleep), I'd like to know."

But Babcock, who has accompanied his team on its current six-game, West Coast swing, downplayed talk of a growing feud between Mitchell and Carter.

"Every coach gets upset with players from time to time," the GM said. "It's like having kids. You get upset with your kids, but you still love them."

TRADE WINDS

Carter asked to be traded from Toronto during the off-season, and it's uncertain whether or not he has changed his mind, sparking renewed rumours that he may be traded to the 0-6 New Orleans Hornets for Canadian centre Jamaal Magloire.

Babcock has continually brushed aside suggestions that a trade is in the works and praised the work of his emotional coach thus far.

"Sam's very competitive and he wants to win basketball games," Babcock said. "We lost a couple of games, very close games, on this trip that we had a chance to win. So of course he's going to get a little agitated. I'd be surprised if he didn't because he's competitive and wants to win."

As for Mitchell sitting Carter in crucial minutes of close games, Babcock said it's all part of the game.

"It's not so much a knock on Vince and Jalen. Other guys are playing well and Sam is going to go with them," he said.


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