Originally posted on Fox Sports Southwest  |  Last updated 12/17/11
Besides the Dallas Mavericks acquiring Lamar Odom from the Lakers earlier this week, they also made another pretty notable move by inking free agent Vince Carter to a three-year contract. The North Carolina product is currently slowed a bit by knee tendonitis and it remains to be seen exactly what his role could be for the 2011-12 Mavs. But no matter whether he is in Rick Carlisle's starting five or if he comes off the bench, Carter is here with a simple goal and it's not one he takes lightly. "It's a new start with a new team," he said after practice on Saturday. "I'm just trying to accomplish a major goal in my mind of playing for a championship. I'm excited about being part of it. It is something that I really want." The ex-Tar Heel and eight-time NBA All-Star has 13 years of experience in the league and comes off a season where he started the year in Orlando and averaged 15.1 points and 4.1 boards in 22 games before he was shipped to Phoenix almost one year ago. With the Suns, VC hit the floor for 51 games, including 41 starts and averaged 13.5 and 3.6, solid numbers for the athletic veteran. Phoenix released him about 10 days ago, so when the Mavs came calling with a three-year deal, he jumped at the opportunity. "Obviously, that stability is what you want as an NBA player. It's the right opportunity and the right situation," Carter said. "It's a great organization, a great atmosphere and a great place to be." Joining the Mavs makes sense for him on several fronts. First of all, it reunites him with Jason Kidd, a teammate of his for almost four seasons in New Jersey. "Getting to play with a Hall of Fame point guard and a winner is great. I couldn't be happier for him to see him win a title. He's a great person and a great player," Carter said. But J-Kidd isn't the only familiar face he sees on the practice court each day during training camp. He also was a teammate of current Mavs assistant coach Darrell Armstrong, playing alongside him during the 2007-08 season when they were both with the Nets. "I was teammates with Darrell Armstrong too. That must mean I've been in the league a long time," Carter quipped. And with the Mavs also adding big man Brandon Wright earlier this week and with Brendan Haywood spending much of the last two years here, heading to Big D also gives him a pair of fellow Tar Heels to talk UNC hoops with. "Playing with Brendan Haywood, who was a teammate of mine at Carolina, is great," Carter said. "It's been exciting to see him mature. Us UNC guys all look out for each other. We just do what we do. It playing here is a great opportunity for all of us." Originally the fifth overall pick in the 1998 NBA Draft by Golden State, who subsequently traded his rights to Toronto, Vince is currently 34 and will turn 35 next month. While some might say he has lost a step or two since the Vinsanity days, there is much more to this veteran's game than his athleticism. In fact, Carter can still knock down more than his share of shots, haul in his share of rebounds and still deliver several highlight reel plays per game. One knock on VC has always seemed to be that he isn't the greatest defensive player. Well, he won't have a choice under Carlisle and while his D hasn't been stellar, it hasn't exactly been a huge liability either. When asked for his initial impressions about his new head coach, he admits he was impressed. "He's a fiery coach, a former player. He has a businesslike approach and I like that," Carter said. Another factor that shouldn't be discounted is the hunger that he brings. Unlike many of his new teammates, he doesn't know what it's like to play for or to win an NBA title. He does have 56 games of postseason experience but it's clear he wants more. So, no matter whether or not he lands a spot in Carlisle's first five or if he is one of the Mavs head coach's first options off the pine, Carter isn't worried about such trivialities. No, he is confident enough in himself and in his game that he knows no matter what his role is on this year's team or what he is asked to do he will rise to the occasion and make a meaningful contribution to this thing. "I can do a little bit of everything-I can get my own shot, make shots, play defense and just do what it takes. It's not about me scoring a lot of points. It's about me doing my job," Carter said. Based on that statement alone and considering how businesslike this veteran-laden team was during their incredible journey to the 2011 NBA title, Carter looks like he will be an excellent fit as this team looks for the opportunity to repeat in 2012. Adding veterans like Carter and Odom to an already intact experienced core that includes the likes of Kidd, Jason Terry and reigning Finals MVP Dirk Nowitzki might help this remain one of the older rosters in the league, but that sure worked out well for them earlier this year, didn't it?
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