No Vince Carter. No Eric or Aaron Williams. No Alonzo Mourning. No new guys to cheer, or ex-Raptors to boo.
If you were looking forward to attending today's Raptors-New Jersey Nets game at the Air Canada Centre after hearing about the major trade between the two NBA teams Friday, you will be delighted to know none of the players involved in the deal will play this afternoon.
Not only will Carter not play for the Nets, he probably won't even be in the building. Carter (strained left Achilles tendon) is not eligible to be removed from the injured list until Tuesday and most observers feel he will not attend the game today. However, Jeff Scott, Carter's spokesman, didn't slam the door on a possible appearance by Vince.
SIT IN MOM'S SEATS?
"He hasn't made that decision, yet," Scott said yesterday afternoon from New Jersey, where Carter underwent physicals before flying with the team to Toronto. "He knows (there will be a lot of attention on him if he attends)."
Of course, Carter always has the option of planting himself in in his mother's courtside seats, seeing as none of the players in the trade can sit on the bench until tomorrow at noon, following physicals and final approval from the NBA.
Either way, Toronto fans likely won't get the opportunity to boo or cheer Carter in his new jersey until April 15 when the Nets pay their final regular-season visit to the ACC.
Eric Williams and Aaron Williams (no relation) flew with the Nets to Toronto yesterday before hooking up with their new team. The Williamses are expected to make their Raptors debut tomorrow night in Houston against the Rockets.
As for Mourning, the chances of him wearing a Raptors uniform are slim to nil. The veteran centre, who will not be in Toronto any time in the near future, does not have to pass a physical for the trade to go through. There are reports the Raptors either will buy out his contract or trade him, with his likely destination in either case being the Miami Heat.
"We waived (passing the physical as a condition of a trade) because we knew there is no way he'd probably pass the physical," Raptors general manager Rob Babcock said of Mourning, who has well-documented health concerns. "Right now, he's going to take care of medical things (in Miami) ... and we'll worry about him later. That wasn't the focus of this trade."
So, after all of the above news, what we are left with today is the two worst teams in the Atlantic Division, minus key players. The Raptors, still trying to adjust to life without Carter and still dealing with plenty of trade rumours, will employ the same nine-man roster that lost 89-86 to the Pacers on Friday at Indianapolis. The Nets used eight players that night in an 89-84 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies.
"It was real weird (at practice), because (Carter) was one of the first guys I met when I got here," Raptors forward Chris Bosh said yesterday. "It will take some getting used to. He was a good friend."
Raptors coach Sam Mitchell, meanwhile, is not looking too far down the road.
"We're 8-17. We'd just be happy to be 9-17 after (today)," he said. "Let's take it slowly."