Vince gets his wish

STEVE BUFFERY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 10:57 AM ET

It was a slam dunk the Raptors were going to trade Vince Carter, and yesterday general manager Rob Babcock finally pulled the trigger, shipping Carter to New Jersey for three players and two draft picks. In exchange for the five-time NBA all-star, who asked to be traded last summer, the Raptors acquired forward Eric Williams, forward/centre Aaron Williams and centre Alonzo Mourning, along with two first-round draft picks.

"This trade accomplishes a number of things that will help us now and in the future," Babcock said. "In Aaron and Eric Williams we are acquiring two character players who are tough, defensive-minded players. They will improve our defence and rebounding, and they fit the philosophy that we're establishing in Toronto.

"The first-round picks set us up well for the future. This trade (also) gives us some financial flexibility now and in the future."

There is, however, a very real possibility that Mourning will never play in Toronto.

He has not played since Dec. 7 and has been undergoing treatment for an assortment of ailments, including a sinus infection.

The Nets signed Mourning to a four-year, $22-million US contract prior to the 2003-04 season, but his time with New Jersey lasted only 12 games because of a condition known as focal glomerulosclerosis.

He was forced to stop playing in Nov. 2003, and underwent a kidney transplant less than a month later with an organ donated by his cousin.

"If he gets healthy, we'd welcome him playing for us," Babcock said.

"This is a good trade for us without Alonzo, but it would be an added bonus should his health permit him to play."

Carter, currently on the injured list with a strained left Achilles, started at guard alongside new teammate Jason Kidd for the Eastern Conference in last season's All-Star Game.

"The (Raptors) organization has been good to me and given me an opportunity to grow and make a name for myself," Carter said last night.

"Where it went wrong? I don't know. I guess it just got to where it was time to move on."

Seventh season

Now in his seventh season, Carter has averaged 23.4 points, 5.2 rebounds and 3.9 assists.

Carter was at the team's shootaround at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis yesterday morning but said he would not rush his return to action, and apparently did not know a trade was going down later in the day.

"There have been some very good players who have had Achilles injuries and that was pretty much it for them," Carter said of his injury. "And I'm not ready to quit this game."

Carter did not attend last night's game, remaining in the team hotel.

To complete the transaction yesterday, the Raptors waived centre Jerome Moiso and placed centre Rafael Araujo (lower back spasms) and forward/centre Pape Sow (left knee, tendinitis) on the injured list.

The trade is contingent upon the players passing their physicals.

With the Carter trade, rumours heated up last night that Jalen Rose and perhaps even Donyell Marshall are next to be shipped out.

"Vince is the first domino," Rose said.

"I guess when the first domino falls there may be a trickle-down effect from that."

Toronto receives the 2005 first-round pick originally belonging to Philadelphia and also receives the 2006 first-round pick originally belonging to Denver.


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