All Flights Cancelled

"In years past, no”, said Carter, who was traded to New Jersey on December 17th. “I was fortunate to have the talent ... you get spoiled when you're able to do a lot of things. You see that you don't have to work at it. Now, with the all the injuries, I have to work harder. I'm a little hungrier. Getting a fresh start has made me want to attack the basket."

Howls of indignation could be heard, aided by the microphones and pens of the media, across the great White North. Like jilted lovers, many were affronted by his admission.

I’m a little bit puzzled as to why. Vince didn’t say anything that his lovers (and haters) didn’t already know.

The fact that Carter was not performing up to his abilities was the primary reason he was traded. Raptors GM Rob Babcock made it clear at the outset of Vince’s trade demand last summer, that the franchise didn’t care what Carter wanted in terms of an address, or a jersey color. What Babcock said was he would be guided by what was best for the organization, period.

When it became clear that, despite potential, Vince was not going to realize it in a Raptors’ jersey, the club began to explore options to improve the culture of the team, if nothing else.

The move puts more teeth into a campaign that promised “A New Era” in Raptors basketball. The club officially began that transition on December 17th, when it cut the strongest tie to the old one.

Vince Carter was basketball in Toronto, the face of the franchise and let’s be honest, after three consecutive seasons of mediocrity, the Raptors were in serious need of a face lift. Carter’s leaving should be understood as a part of a process that ultimately could benefit all involved.

I understand that the ticket-buying public would be less than impressed with a young man who took their money, but came up short on his end of the bargain, just as I would sympathize with a friend who had trusted, nurtured and loved - only to discover they had been deceived, used up and discarded. However, taking it personally only prolongs both the suffering and the recovery.

I don’t believe that people try to be a disappointment. Sometimes, they’re just not up to the task. Whether character flaws or a lack of inspiration/chemistry led to the breakdown of the relationship doesn’t matter. The truth is, it wasn’t working.

If you’re inclined to judge Vince harshly, be glad he’s someone else’s problem. He didn’t get away with anything. His mistakes and missteps will form part of a legacy that he alone will have to shoulder. On the other hand, if you believe he’s simply been fumbling towards maturity, hope that his experiences here – good and bad – will help him grow up. He’s too talented and too nice a person to wallow in a half-awakened state.

In keeping Vince, the Raptors were also in a form of limbo. The organization decided to move on and now - so should everybody else. My mother always said, “Don’t look back unless you’re going that way.” I can’t imagine a single ticket holder who would want a repeat of the last three seasons.

Besides, there are signs that point to a better future: