The Hawks had a specific criteria for the player who would be the final piece of a young, rebuilding roster.
They went old school to get him.
The Hawks agreed to terms on a one-year, $2.4 million contract with Vince Carter last month. On Friday, they officially signed the veteran who will enter is 21st season in the NBA. The 41-year old will take the last roster spot.
The Hawks wanted a veteran that its core of young players could watch, listen and learn. Carter is just fine with that job description.
“Let them see me and let them see how annoying I can be, but in a good way,” Carter said during an introductory press conference. “I’m going to stay in their ear. At least you know at any time throughout the year, whether it’s practice games, any situation, they will have me to fall back on. Or I’ll come up to them and help them out any way I can.”
Dirk Nowitzki and Carter will join Kevin Willis, Robert Parish and Kevin Garnett has the longest tenured players in NBA history.
Carter could have joined a serious title contender for another season but reiterated such a quest was “not my style.” With the Hawks he will be tasked with guiding young players such as Taurean Prince, DeAndre Bembry, John Collins, Tyler Dorsey and this year’s first-round picks Trae Young, Kevin Huerter and Omari Spellman.
“It’s always great to have a job, plain and simple, at this age,” Carter said. “I’m very thankful and fortunate for the opportunity, to yet again be a part of a team. Try to help the organization the best that I can. To help grow and develop the young guys and be an extension of the coaches and their philosophies.”
Carter will wear the No. 15 his has worn for most of his career. The number has not been worn sign long-time Hawks center Al Horford.
Carter, the 1999 Rookie of the Year as the No. 5 overall draft pick, played last season with the Kings and averaged 5.4 points, 2.6 rebounds and 1.2 assists in 17.7 minutes over 58 games.
In Carter’s 20 seasons, he also played for the Raptors, Nets, Magic, Suns, Mavericks and Grizzlies. He has career averages of 17.7 points, 4.5 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.0 steals in 31.4 minutes of 1,405 regular-season games.
Carter ranks third among active players in games played, fourth in scoring (24,868) and minutes (44,161), fifth in 3-pointers made (2,106), sixth in steals (1,463), 14th in assists (4,579) and 15th in rebounds (6,288). He ranks eighth in NBA history in 3-pointers made and 22nd in scoring.
Carter is an eight-time all-star and two-time All-NBA. He won the slam dunk contest and won an Olympic gold medal in 2000.