Vince Carter has reached a deal to return to the Atlanta Hawks, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports.
Carter previously announced his intention to retire after next season, which will be his 22nd in the NBA.
Carter will become the first player in NBA history to play a 22nd season, passing Dirk Nowitzki, Kevin Garnett, Robert Parish and Kevin Willis, who each played 21 seasons in the league.
The 42-year-old was a contributing role player last season with the Hawks — his first in Atlanta — averaging 7.4 points, 2.6 rebounds and 1.1 assists while shooting 38.9 percent from 3-point distance in 17.5 minutes per game.
A respected veteran and eight-time All-Star, Carter’s presence in the locker room is an added value on a young roster featuring unanimous All-Rookie Team selection Trae Young, alongside D’Andre Hunter and Cam Reddish, lottery picks in this year’s draft.
Carter’s longevity is even more remarkable considering that he built his likely Hall of Fame career around his exceptional athleticism, a trait that doesn’t age well in the NBA.
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Carter has kept his body in top shape throughout his career and maintained his ability to shoot from distance to help extend his time in the league.
He had previously stated his desire to return for another season, and the Hawks reportedly held a roster spot open for him during free agency.
Carter is one the most popular players of his generation, once a dynamic above-the-rim performer who electrified the league in his prime with Toronto and New Jersey. He has averaged 17 points in 1,481 regular-season games, and won an Olympic gold medal and NBA dunk contest in 2000. Carter also won the NBA’s rookie of the year award in 1999.
Essentially an extra coach during his first season with the Hawks, Carter served as a mentor to some of the NBA’s most promising young talent, including point guard Trae Young and forward John Collins.
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This year, the Hawks added first-round picks D’Andre Hunter and Cam Reddish, giving the team two more players who will surely benefit from Carter’s experience and leadership.