Trading Carter was best for Raps: Rivers

DEAN McNULTY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:28 AM ET

Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers thinks Toronto basketball fans should stop fussing about what Vince Carter does or says about his time with the Raptors.

Rivers said he had little sympathy for the criticism that Carter faced after telling a television interviewer that he didn't always try hard in Toronto.

"It's not a comment you want to read by a professional athlete," Rivers said yesterday before the Celtics lost to the Raptors 104-93 at the Air Canada Centre. "But it's not the end of the world."

In fact Rivers is convinced the Raptors are a better team without the perennial all-star on the roster.

Rivers said that with Carter gone, the Raptors have been forced to close ranks and that has made them a more formidable opponent.

"They're definitely more committed to each other now," Rivers told the Boston Globe earlier in the day. "In a lot of ways, they're better. They're a better defensive team. They go to (Chris) Bosh more."

Rivers said that when a coach has a player of Carter's star status on the team, decisions often get made that aren't always in the best interest of other players like Bosh.

"(The Raptors) should have been (going to Bosh) earlier, but it's difficult when you have to placate Vince," Rivers said.

He said that he felt Carter had given up on himself as well as the team through his actions.

"The team hadn't been going the way that he wanted it to," Rivers said. "Instead of (Carter) handling (adversity) by just willing the team better, he just didn't."

Rivers said there are a lot of similarities between his team and the Raptors without Carter.

"We both have one star on the team (Bosh for the Raptors and Paul Pierce for the Celtics) and a lot of young guys," he said. "And you are trying to mold a new team and that can be a challenge at times."

GET OVER IT

Rivers has a believer in Raptors coach Sam Mitchell who said yesterday there has been far too much attention paid to the trade that sent Carter to New Jersey for Eric Williams, Aaron Williams and Alonzo Mourning.

"News flash. Players in the NBA get traded," Mitchell said. "It happens all the time."


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