Vince Carter will be waived, according to ESPN report

The Suns plan to waive Vince Carter to save $14.3 million. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

Vince Carter was never going to play this season for the Phoenix Suns at an $18.3 cap number, the only question was whether the Suns would find a suitable trade partner before waiving his largely non-guaranteed contract.

A Carter trade does not appear to be in the cards, however, as ESPN’s Marc Stein and Chris Broussard reported Sunday that the Suns will indeed waive Carter within the first 72 hours of free agency before his 2011-12 salary becomes fully guaranteed. Carter’s contract calls for $4 million of guaranteed money, but the Suns can forego paying the remaining $14.3 million by releasing him.

By ValleyoftheSuns’ salary numbers, the Suns will be on the hook for about $53.5 million in salaries after waiving Vince, but that number is over $64 million when you add the cap holds on Grant Hill and Aaron Brooks into the equation. When you consider both players will likely play for something closer to the $3 million-plus range (if Brooks plays at all), that puts Phoenix at $60 million (without including Markieff Morris’ deal).

Although we don’t know exactly what the new luxury tax will be, if it’s close to the $70.3 million from last season then most any deal involving taking back salary for Carter would have pushed the Suns into the tax unless the deal involved taking on pretty lengthy contracts for less dollars, which the Suns don’t want to do since their long-term plan is predicated on 2012 cap space.

Therefore, deciding to waive Carter was not exactly the most difficult post-lockout decision this front office will make.

Carter averaged a career-low 13.5 points per game as a Sun to go along with 3.6 boards and 1.6 assists per game while shooting 42.2 percent from the field. He exploded for big scoring games at times but too often was plagued by inconsistency and inaccurate shooting with Phoenix. Vinsanity never did become the go-to scorer the Suns had hoped they were acquiring and he was replaced by Jared Dudley in the starting lineup late in the year, making this move a foregone conclusion more or less.

The ESPN report included a couple more juicy tidbits on the Suns’ thinking:

The Suns’ plan, sources said, is to bring back Hill if possible and make a playoff run this season, then proceed to the summer of 2012 armed with salary-cap space to make major upgrades to the roster.

Sources said the Suns have yet to receive any indication from star guard Steve Nash that he wants to be dealt to a contender, which is why management clings to the hope that the two-time MVP — who is also headed for free agency in July 2012 — will retire a Sun.

This is essentially the plan the Suns spoke of in the aftermath of 2010-11. We know 2012 is the year the Suns plan on making wholesale upgrades and we know they do not want to start rebuilding now without Nash to plan for that future.

So long as they don’t trade him, Nash should make the Suns good enough to contend for a playoff spot throughout the season. The downside is that would prevent the team from earning a top-10 draft pick that could be a major piece of their rebuilding project, but so long as the Suns do commit to keeping him and bringing back Hill they owe it to those vets to try to stir up the magic one more time.

Toward their goal of trying to win one more year (at least) with Nash, The Arizona Republic reported that the team is interested in adding a wing and a backup point guard to the roster. It will be interesting to see if the Suns offer anything more than a one-year deal as they pursue free agents in the hopes of preserving their voluminous amount of 2012 cap space.

Tags: Steve Nash Vince Carter

  • Jacob

    Although PHX is looking to improve in the summer of 2012, I don’t see it happening… if Chris Paul is traded, he’ll sign a contract extension, and I don’t see Dwight or DWill wanting to sign in the valley. Those are the best unrestricted free agents. Russel Westbrook looks to be the next best player, but I’m not a fan of how he hogs the ball, and OKC will probably match any offer…

  • sun also rises follow-up report suggests that the Lakers are interested in bringing VC on, as is Chicago. All I can say is: good luck to both. lol.

  • sun-arc

    @SAR: I don’t wish the Lakers any luck with anything…. ever. I know you are sending a sarcastic “good luck”, and I don’t believe in luck, but it still scares me to think of him turning his career around in LA. Personally, I hope he stays “half-man, half-interested” if he goes with them. Though I have nothing against Chicago, I’d still be pissed if he picked up his intensity after sucking last year so much.

    @Jacob: you are right that we aren’t likely to get Dwill, Dwight, or CP3. But OKC can’t hold onto everyone they have during next summer. Someone will get Harden, Westbrook, or one of their other FA’s. Hopefully it’ll be us. There will be a lot of trades going on this year and next summer will be interesting.

  • Lloyd I. Cadle

    A few thoughts on the Suns:

    * The team as presently constructed, is too talented to just throw in the towel this year and wait for 2012. Dallas, going into the playoffs last year was considered “too soft” to do anything in the playoffs, and look what happened? I’m not saying the Suns can win the title this year, but just make the playoffs, get hot, and who knows?

    * If “Dwill” is indeed a free agent, the Suns do have a real shot to sign him. They will have the money and the allure of a great area to live in (especially the warm weather during the NBA season). He also may be attracted to the Suns because they might have enough cap space to get two max players; Dwill and another player.

    * If Robin Lopez is indeed healthy and committed for a change, and he can play to the level of two years ago, the Suns will have a darn good front line. However, it remains to be seen if Lopez will be as commited to his NBA career as he is to his comic books. Time will tell.

    * If the Suns can be a playoff contender this year it will at least give Suns fans some pleasure while we wait for 2012, which may be the launching pad for a new era for Suns baskketball.

    * Steve Nash seems a little happier with the chance to at least play with some returning players for a change, rather than a yearly gutting of the roster that Sarver usually hands to him.

    * Yes, I would like to see the Suns deal Nash for a young player or a top pick, but, for the above referenced reasons I don’t see the Suns going in that direction. (Plus, Sarver would be looking at poor ticket sales for this season.)

  • Scott

    Nash for Rondo? Word is he’s being “aggresively shopped”.

  • steve

    Nash for Rondo straight-up doesn’t really provide a whole lot of benefit to us.

    Rondo is one of the most overrated players in the NBA from a statistical standpoint. He gets credit as being a top 5 PG, but he doesn’t do much to show that he is. Here are some stats pulled from last year:

    PER: 17.1
    TS%: 51.8
    EFG%: 49.4
    ORtg: 104
    WS/48: 0.126

    That’s MAYBE top 10 PG stuff right there (not even close to top 5), but it’s definitely not wow material. He is exceptional in two different categories-assists and steals. Nash is better with assists. So, are we really going to pay even money for a guy who isn’t even near the offensive power that Nash is for improved defense at the PG spot?

    I’m all for defense, don’t get me wrong. I think the Suns need to improve their defensive mentality if they’re ever going to get anywhere in the NBA. It’s just that you’d be surrendering a ton of points by subbing Nash for Rondo, and I think the the PG spot is arguably the least important position on the court, defensively.

  • Tony

    I just do not understand why anyone would trust the ‘Three Stooges’ to pull off a great free agency period next year? People, elite players don’t just go to a team because it can offer them max-dollars! Sure, that’s part of it, but since usually other teams are also offering them max dollars, something other than money has to attract them to a particular team. In most cases, that other thing is winning a championship. If Paul, Howard, or D-Williams was interested in playing for a mediocre team, they simply would stay with their respective teams, where in addition they would be paid more money because of the CBA rules. It just makes no sense to believe any top-tier player will be signed by the Suns in 2012.
    What the Suns front office should be doing instead of pretending to be waiting until 2012 to make any big moves, which is most likely just a marketing ploy anyway, they should be really improving the team now, so that by next season’s free agency period, the Suns are already relevant and max players think they might have a chance to win a ring if they sign on with the Suns.
    As far as the top restricted free agent players in 2012, such as Love and Westbrook, it is also pretty ridiculous to think the Suns will be able to pry them away from their respective teams. Correct me if I’m wrong, but as far as I can recall, the last restricted free agent star player to actually have his own team not to match the offering team’s salary was Joe Johnson. I wonder which owner allowed that to happen……Sun Also Rises, do you know….? Other than Sarver, owners of franchises in the NBA tend to do everything they can to retain their star players, only letting them go via trade or unrestricted free agency when they’ve done everything in their power to retain them.

  • Michael Schwartz

    Technically the Joe Johnson deal turned into a sign-and-trade, but point taken since the Suns didn’t want to match it.

    Gilbert Arenas was one, but I guess he wasn’t exactly a star when he left GSW and the Warriors were powerless to match anyway:

  • sun-arc

    Wasn’t the choice with Joe that we could either sign him to that deal OR sign Amare’s next deal? I think there was a cap problem there, and we chose Amare, which was the right choice. Though I guess Sarver could have chosen to be a higher tax payer and attempt to win a championship. Even then, though, Joe was saying he didn’t want to remain a Sun where he would always be the 3rd best player. He wanted to be THE marquee for a team. And, if I recall, Sarver offered him nearly the same deal (maybe $.5m less?) and Joe still walked.

  • steve

    I love how so many people get angry about not retaining Joe Johnson as if he isn’t one of the most grossly overpaid players in the league right now. And, considering that we had prime Nash, prime Amare, and just-slightly-past-his-prime Marion at the same time, why would you need a fourth “star,” if that’s what Johnson really is?

    I am glad we don’t have Johnson at his price, and when we let him go, he was FAR from the player he is now. He had upside, but he was far from a surefire megastar.

    Some numbers on Johnson:

    Last season with the Suns (04-05)

    I don’t know what you think when you see that, but the first thing that comes to my mind is “mediocre 2.” That’s FAR from stunning, especially considering it was his third year with the Suns and his second as a starter.

    Now, for his BEST season (09-10, arguably):


    Even in his BEST year, Joe Johnson is pretty far from being a “star.” He’s a better than average SG/SF now, but he’s very far from being “great.” Would I want him on my team? Yes, for maybe $8-10M per. But he’s getting A LOT more than that now, and I wouldn’t want to touch that awful contract.

    He’s never had a PER over 20, never had WS/48 over 0.140 (great players can breach 0.200 or at least approach it), never had a DRtg below 105 (and that was with PHX, oddly enough), never averaged more than 0.7 bpg (despite being VERY long at his position), never shot 85% from the FT line, never shot 47% from the field, never approached 40% from the 3P line except 04-05 where he went off for 48%…. He’s never done anything truly remarkable that I can see. He has just been solid, and even good at some points, but never great.

    Also, I would put Arenas in the same category as Johnson (even pre-injury/gun fight Arenas). They’re pseudo stars, and more of their success comes from their athletic advantage and the effects of a boring 82-game schedule than their skills and ethic.

    Can we all agree that Joe Johnson is not that great, and his contract is far more than he deserves? Numbers would seem to suggest that. Heck, they scream that at the top of their lungs.

  • steve

    Oh, and the $8-10M per was referring to his contract year with PHX, not where he currently is. In his current form, I would be willing to pay him around $10-12M.

  • Marley

    You SUNS fans are being played for fools!

    You will never win a championship in the Steve Nash era!

    JJ Barea showed last year how overrated Steve Nash really is. JJ Barea now has a championship ring and Steve Nash does not!

    The SUNS organization are just using Steve Nash to sell tickets and merchandise.

    It’s been rebuilding time since last year – but they will not make it official until Nash’s contract expires – or if by chance, they can get a great trade deal – which is very unlikely!

    By the same token, they will bring Grant Hill back just to make the fans happy.

    All in all, this year is all about just turning a profit using two popular players in Nash and Hill.

    But VC is sure one lucky guy!

    He got out of two dead-end teams: the Orlando Magic and now the Phoenix Suns.

    VC+Kobe => Lakers > Dallas > Miami
    VC+Rose => Bulls > Miami

    Another team that needs VC are the NY Knicks.

    VC+Melo+Amare => Knicks > Miami > Bulls

    VC will torch the Suns this year like how he does it to Toronto!


  • scott

    Who wouldn’t take 4 years of prime Rondo @ 10 million per for the loss of one more likely superlative Nash season @ 13? Factor in that Nash would be heading to a top win-now team that would kill for his game, and this deal leaves everyone smiling.

  • sun-arc

    @ Scott: I’d only take Rondo if Nash wanted to be traded and we couldn’t get a better PG like Westbrook. Don’t get me wrong- I really like Rondo’s game, but I don’t like his attitude at times, he’s inconsistant, and rarely can control a game like Nash, Westbrook, DWill, or CP3. But overall I’d be fairly happy if that is what we got.

    @ Steve: Johnson was really good defensively when he played for us. And with Marion and he on the perimeter, it was enough to cover some/most of the shortfalls of Nash and Amare. If he would have stayed, we might have won a championship precisely because we would have had 4 star starters. It would have been great. But, he is SO overpaid right now, and I really like your point.

  • Scott

    Just so you all know, there’s more than one Scott here.

    I would never trade Nash for Rondo. If the Nets were willing, I’d consider trading Nash for D-Will, because he’s a little more like a mix between Nash and Kidd.

    I’m not saying Nash has to be traded. But I do want to see the Suns find a skilled PG, hopefully one who can one day take over the reins. (BTW, any thoughts on draft prospect Kendall Marshall in this regard? I don’t watch college sports.)

    @Lloyd – Just so you know, D-Will isn’t a free agent. He’s under contract, with 2 years remaining. So to obtain him the Suns would have to make a trade. My trade proposal was Nash for D-Will, straight up. Now it looks like this is dependent upon Howard, as D-Will likes the idea of that pairing in NJ. However, if Howard decides to spurn NJ’s offer, and instead goes to Houston or LA, how long will D-Will want to stay in Jersey?

    @Marley – If VC torches the Suns, it will be due to bad defense on the part of the Suns. Which is … not impossible. ;)

  • ironworks

    I dont think you can rationalize away Joe Johnson. He may not be a max player, but he is on his second max contract now. He is not All NBA first team, and he doesnt play wiht much fire, but he is an 2nd or 3rd All NBA player who is a unique defender and a versatile player.

    But the handling was a blunder by Sarver. At the time JJ was not asking for a max deal from Sarver, he was looking for 5-years and $55M, Sarver offered 5 years and $50m and when Johnson said no Sarver threw one of his tantrums and made no counter offered and ordered him traded. All over what amounted to $1M a year. You dont lose assests like that, thats what Sarver never understood.

    Johnson at 5/$55 in his mid-twenties is a good contract, either as a member of the Suns or as a tradeable assets 2-3 years into the contract. Bryan Colangelo did a pretty nice job of salvaging the situation, 2 first rounders and Diaw for Johnson in a sign-and-trade was pretty good, and the Suns were one funky lottery ball away from one of those draft picks being Joakim Noah in 2007 instead of Robin Lopez in 2008.

    So I would say Sarver totally botched the Joe johsnon negotiations because of his temper and poor skill set. And then started following it with the trading of 1st round picks for $3M and blaming it on his coach by stating he wont play rookies. Good rookies are still an asset even if they dont play.

    Sarver never learned you dont trade assets and you dont let your temper get in the way of building a asset-rich roster. He did the same with Steve Kerr. And Kerr was a friend and fellow Tucson-mafia member. But again, Sarver gets pissed because an employ dare to negotiate his salary and suggest he be paid what his market value is.

    He has not learned his lesson as late as Amare. Again, you dont dump an asset like that. You max him out, and if he plays well you trade him 2-3 years into the contract, when the team has leverage, not the player. But you cant take the attitude that you cant max out an asset because you think he will get hurt. If your margin for error is that small and you deal from a position of fear like that you probably should not have bought an NBA franchise. This is why Sarver is a poor owner and he has dismantled a once asset-rich roster.

  • steve

    Steve Kerr was better than Nash. He has rings.

    DJ Mbenga is better than Nash.

    Luke Walton is better than Nash.

    Scott Williams proved how overrated Steve Nash is.

    Will Perdue owns Steve Nash.

    John Salley could have been a better point guard than Steve Nash. At least Salley has multiple.

    Mark Madsen could teach Nash how to play basketball, and then teach him how to dance.

    If Darko was such a flop, how did he get a ring? I’d take Darko over Nash any day.

    Marley is right. JJ Barea is the greatest of all time.

    To one of the Scott’s questions, I wouldn’t take four years of possibly-overpaid Rondo for one year of comically underpaid Nash (he makes $10M, not $13M).

  • sun also rises

    I broke one of the Ten Commandments of this blog by mentioning VC in a post… it makes Marley pop up like Beetlejuice. One thing that’s going to be nice about this week is that we’ll have one less clown running around here, since (hopefully) Marley will take his Ringaling Bros. act to the forums of whatever team chooses to inject themselves with Vinsanity’s special brand of rat poison.

    Also, sorry Tony. I saw my name as I was scrolling down but I didn’t read any of the post. I’m going to guess it had something to do with Sarver and how the team is going to be crap for the next four years, etc. etc… in other words, the same thing I got sleepy responding to back in last January or whenever it was that you started copying and pasting the same four points of argument over and over and over and over and… ;D

  • steve

    @Ironworks- good post, and I’ll just say two things. At the time of the Johnson deal, he wasn’t even close to third team all-nba. And it was his fifth or sixth year in the league. Who is going to bet on that guy being a perennial all star (possibly unjustifiably based on the numbers, but let’s pretend Joe Johnson is a legit stud for a second)?

    Second, why should we blame Sarver for not wanting to pay market value when “market value” got us into the mess of the lockout we were just in (and Johnson is currently the poster boy for overpaid players this decade, read Simmons’ new article)? Trying to buck the system doesn’t always equate to being cheap.

  • Lloyd I. Cadle

    Scott -

    Thanks for the update on D-Williams.