If Vince Carter competes in the NBA's slam-dunk contest next month, it might be enough to push Raptors fans over the edge. Carter, the former Raptor who was traded to the New Jersey Nets two weeks ago, told The Bergen (N.J.) Record recently that he would consider participating in the dunk contest, which annually takes place during all-star weekend, if he's at least "90%" healthy.
Carter has competed in the dunk contest only once, in 2000, when he won it in explosive fashion. Since then, he has cited injury woes as his main reason for skipping the event, although it would be understandable if he simply admitted that after 2000, there's a good chance anything he tried now would be a disappointment.
Regardless of the reasons, if Carter competes in the dunk contest, wearing his new Nets uniform, many Raptors fans will feel resentful, if not outright cheated.
Raptors rookie centre Rafael Araujo raised eyebrows with his solid play when given a starting assignment in two games last week. Araujo had 13 points and eight rebounds in 22 minutes against the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday, and eight points and 10 rebounds in 19 minutes against the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday.
"I think he figured something out," Raptors forward Chris Bosh said. "Something clicked in his head to where he said, 'I can do this. All I have to do is just duck in hard, go to the boards hard, and I'll be fine.' "
Of course, the increased court time accorded Araujo must come at someone's expense. In this case, the odd-man out has been centre Loren Woods, who did not play at all in the past two games after being a solid contributor early in the campaign.
If Woods' role continues to diminish, it's not out of the question the Raptors might waive him before Jan. 10, when non-guaranteed contracts become guaranteed for the remainder of the season.