Ex-mates relieved for Vince

STEVE BUFFERY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:02 AM ET

The Raptors locker room at the Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis last night was a hive of activity as players reacted with shock and resignation to the Vince Carter trade. "Vince was to Canada what Michael Jordan was to the Chicago Bulls," forward Donyell Marshall said. "He can finally move on and just go out there and play basketball without all of these (rumours) hanging over his head.

"I guess this is D-Day," said swingman Jalen Rose, who is also expected to be shipped out of Toronto sooner than later. "My first reaction was: Was it for Richard Jefferson?"

It wasn't. The Raptors would acquire Alonzo Mourning, Eric Williams, Aaron Williams and two first-round draft picks in exchange for Carter.

The general feeling on the Raptors was the the team might not have received enough in the deal, particularly if Mourning chooses not to report to Toronto, as rumours suggest.

"I know Alonzo expressed a desire to play with a championship team and I don't know how close we are to a championship right now, you know what I'm saying?" Morris Peterson said. "But hopefully everything works out and he ends up playing here. We definitely need him."

Both Rose and Marshall talked to Carter yesterday at the team hotel prior to the game last night and said he was excited about the deal, but also saddened about leaving Toronto, the only NBA team he has played for.

"He's secure about his situation in going to New Jersey, running the wing with a guy like Richard Jefferson with Jason Kidd pushing the ball. He feels like that's a good look," Rose said.

"But for fans in Toronto, to see Vince Carter and Carlos Delgado (depart) in the same season -- I know they are beloved and Vince Carter is probably the most beloved athlete in Toronto history."

Point guard Rafer Alston expressed excitement over what Mourning and the two Williams brings to the team.

"They toughen us up defensively," he said. "You've got Zo blocking shots, Eric Williams can guard and Aaron goes after the ball. Those guys make us real competitive. But we loved Vince as a person and a player. I'm going to miss his presence on the floor, drawing a lot of attention."

"Vince was one of the funnier guys in locker room," Marshall said, "one of the guys that kept us going and kept a smile on his face so we'll definitely miss that part of him.

"I'm sure he's happy. He wanted out of here, so we wish him the best."


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