After one playoff appearance, McGrady departed in free agency, leaving Carter as a solo star. After a somewhat respectable finish in their second season as an NBA franchise, the Toronto Raptors seemed to be on the right path. Draft picks Damon Stoudamire and Marcus Camby had shown flashes of brilliance, and with another lottery pick in the NBA draft on the way, the Raptors were compiling a youthful group of talent. Then-Raptors executive vice president Isiah Thomas was the mastermind behind the pick after team scout Craig Neal discovered McGrady early on. After a couple of minutes, Christie stared at Thomas and said, "You can get that kid?
Shooting Shot location data available for the through seasons. I still talk to a lot of those guys to this day. Journalistic Standards. But if 'if' was a fifth, you know? May 27, Williams R. Jon November 1, It's like a music group," Oakley said.
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Views Read Edit View history. BirdK. Views Read Edit View history. Before the lockout-shortened Tracy mcgrady raptors seasonthe Raptors drafted McGrady's distant cousin, Vince Carter. Recommendations for you. Image Unavailable Image not available for Color:. Alexa Actionable Analytics for the Web. November: 9—6 Home: 4—3; Road: 5—3. ComiXology Thousands of Digital Comics. August 23,
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- In their first full season playing at the Air Canada Centre , the Raptors got better as the season progressed.
We gave them our unconditional love and allowed them all the freedom they asked for yet still nothing was ever good enough for them. Carter had spent the better part of the previous year whining and moping around the Air Canada Centre trying to force the Raptors hand. Once the trade was complete, Mourning refused to report to Toronto and had to be bought out and never played a game for the Raptors.
Essentially, the Raptors received six bucks and a bucket of chicken in return for one of the games best players. A few years earlier we saw a similar routine from Tracy McGrady. The Raptors drafted McGrady right out of high school and allowed him the time to develop but the second he had the chance to leave town, he did. It was painful to watch at times and you just wanted to shake McGrady to make him realize just how good he had it in Toronto.
Raptors fans had to deal with being rejected by the likes of McGrady, Carter and then Mourning. It seemed that nobody in the NBA wanted to play in Toronto.
The Raptors fans and organization did everything they could to support the two young superstars. Endorsement deals, marketing slogans and merchandise sales were centred around Carter and McGrady. They had 50 foot murals of them painted on the side of buildings in downtown Toronto and billboards with their likeness plastered everywhere from Robson Street in Vancouver to Argyle Street in Halifax.
The other Canadian NBA team in Vancouver had failed and moved to Memphis in and it looked for a time that the Toronto franchise may have suffered the same fate following the Carter saga. It may have stung less had Carter and McGrady bolted for greener pastures with the L. A Lakers or N. It was like finding out your significant other is cheating on you and when you bump into them in a restaurant you realize you were cheated on with somebody far less attractive than you.
Raptors fans across Canada supported Carter and McGrady unconditionally and got nothing in return. The organization fostered an environment that could have led to long term success on the court but they both to opted to leave at the first available chance.
In the years following, the Raptors struggled to find an identity. The ACC was half-full some nights and the media coverage of the team waned. There was a time, somewhere around the season where Carter and McGrady almost killed basketball in Toronto. It took several more years before the city of Toronto and the Raptors finally forged their real identity.
By the year , they had officially become what they are today. The Raptors partnership with Drake has helped foster a culture of glamour and show-time surrounding the Raptors and it has now officially become cool to play for the Toronto Raptors.
Several media outlets have tried to suggest to the people of Toronto that it is time to forgive Carter and he has been applauded in his recent returns to the ACC as an opposing player.
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After one playoff appearance, McGrady departed in free agency, leaving Carter as a solo star. After a somewhat respectable finish in their second season as an NBA franchise, the Toronto Raptors seemed to be on the right path.
Draft picks Damon Stoudamire and Marcus Camby had shown flashes of brilliance, and with another lottery pick in the NBA draft on the way, the Raptors were compiling a youthful group of talent.
Then-Raptors executive vice president Isiah Thomas was the mastermind behind the pick after team scout Craig Neal discovered McGrady early on.
After a couple of minutes, Christie stared at Thomas and said, "You can get that kid? Despite the addition of McGrady, the Raptors lost 19 of their first 20 games of the season, sapping much of the promise and hope from the previous year. Coach Darrell Walker also departed, leaving assistant coach Butch Carter to take over on an interim basis.
With new owners, new management, a new coach and new players at midseason, Toronto was starting all over again. The one major beneficiary of the massive shake-up was McGrady, although things didn't necessarily start out well. He nearly went public to the media about disagreements with Walker, but after a conversation with Christie, he decided not to. It's not the time to go and just bust out and say to have this argument with the coach.
You keep your head down and keep working hard. You have the talent. You should be playing. You're not, but you have to pay your dues. Carter looked to give McGrady a fresh start with Toronto playing out a lost season. He looked to manage McGrady's minutes so he would be able to gain experience without putting an immense amount of physical stress on his body.
The Raptors were extremely impressed. Carter no relation to Butch wowed the team with his freakish athleticism, and his jump shot was better than advertised. So they wanted to make sure that they got the player that they wanted. In order to do that, we agreed to sort of flip-flop draft picks and got a little [cash] from doing that. The selection of Carter paired an interesting duo together. Over the next two seasons, Toronto underwent a massive rebuild that saw numerous veterans join the club.
In a one-year span, Toronto acquired three of the four, headlined by Oakley. Other veterans like Muggsy Bogues and Dell Curry joined on as well. By the campaign, Toronto had five players over the age of 30 who played 1, minutes or more. The previous season they had none. We were trying to be successful. We had some issues in terms of retaining players in Toronto, and we wanted to make sure that Vince could be retained. As the veterans arrived, they all accepted roles as supporting cast members, allowing McGrady and Carter to incubate.
During the lockout-shortened season, Toronto nearly made the playoffs, but a late-season swoon caused the team to fall just four games short of the postseason. Carter wowed with a yearlong dunk showcase that ended with his being named the Rookie of the Year. McGrady, who was building a highlight reel of his own, took a modest step forward in his sophomore campaign.
Christie was a defensive ace on the perimeter. Curry and Dee Brown provided the three-point shooting necessary to space the floor when Carter and McGrady faced double-teams. Bogues was a steady presence at point guard, and youngsters Michael Stewart, John Thomas and Alvin Williams filled out the main roster.
It's like a music group," Oakley said. But with veteran status also came the leeway to establish how the team operated. We knew we had a lot of talent, especially young talent. The team eventually saw Carter settle into the role of superhero and McGrady as his sidekick.
The cousins were close and spent much of their time together, but they were also extremely competitive. Toronto was a surprise story during the season. The Raptors finished the year with a record and qualified for the postseason for the first time in the franchise's then-five-year history. Carter continued to widen the eyes of fans and his NBA peers alike with a wide array of gravity-defying dunks.
Tracy was no slouch, either. Carter was the eventual winner, putting on one of the best dunk contest performances ever after scoring a perfect 50 on every dunk he attempted. McGrady, finishing in third place, also held his own.
Throughout the course of the season, McGrady's looming free agency hovered over the Raptors. Before the season, the Raptors offered McGrady a max contract, but he declined, according to Grunwald.
His game, though, took off, as he posted career numbers While Toronto entertained the possibility of trading McGrady, it couldn't find any takers—not because of a lack of interest, but because of McGrady's expiring contract. That really depressed his market value.
Toronto was the victim of an era where numerous players left the team that drafted them due to the absence of restricted free agency in the collective bargaining agreement.
The court was on the third floor of the school. Since it was late, the school was empty and Gabriel could not find anyone to open the door for him. After arriving, Gabriel was informed by Hopkins that practice was nearly over and that he had to run and see a game involving the University of North Carolina. Feeling disheartened for missing an opportunity to see McGrady play live, Gabriel was prepared to leave when he discovered the coach was making the team scrimmage for two games as punishment for missing free throws.
Long strides, rebound, finish at the rim. Though Gabriel didn't draft McGrady, he would get a chance to pursue the phenom in free agency. After pulling off a rebuild in that saw Orlando ship Penny Hardaway, Nick Anderson, Horace Grant and Isaac Austin for spare parts, the Magic set themselves up for a spending spree in the summer of First on the list was the duo of Tim Duncan and Grant Hill.
Hill was a near guarantee, and Duncan had serious interest in a partnership with Hill. McGrady was also on Orlando's radar, and Gabriel felt there was a legitimate chance of signing all three stars. That bumped McGrady up to a major priority. McGrady initially agreed to a deal, but due to a moratorium period of nearly 30 days, Orlando couldn't officially sign him. It faced threats from Chicago and Miami, both of which pursued McGrady vigorously.
And they met him out on the tarmac. I don't know if it was Pat [Riley] or not. McGrady said yes. At the heart of McGrady's decision was the opportunity to go home. McGrady is originally from Auburndale, Florida, which is just about an hour drive from Orlando. After departing for Orlando, McGrady was expected to form a dynamic duo with Grant Hill, but it would never work out that way as Hill would miss out of a possible games over the next four seasons due to multiple ankle injuries.
McGrady flourished under the added pressure, leading the NBA in scoring twice during that time and creating numerous highlights as he stepped out of Carter's shadow. However, McGrady's one-man show never fared as well in the standings, as Orlando could never get past the first round of the playoffs. After Orlando went during the season, McGrady became frustrated with the direction of the franchise. But injuries began to take their toll, and as the veteran core continued to age, the Raptors found themselves out of playoff contention.
If McGrady had stayed in Toronto, the duo had a clear window of contention. With a developing Carter and McGrady reaching their primes, it's easy to believe that Toronto would have found themselves in a couple of conference finals appearances.
Both of them could score, so it would've been nice to see them play together 10 years. Add in a quality supporting cast and you can imagine an Eastern Conference dynasty in the making. I think about that often. But if 'if' was a fifth, you know? That's what he wanted. That's just the way it was back then, and he wanted that opportunity to be the exclusive go-to guy and you can't knock him for that.
He was taking abuse—verbal abuse—from a lot of people for doing that. And I think now, if a player were to do that, they would be respected for it.
It's weird how time changes. Toronto was just one stop in McGrady's career, and there are still many questions. Tellem's point flows into a larger discussion. There are numerous 'what ifs' in McGrady and Carter's respective careers. What if Grant Hill was healthy in Orlando? What if Tim Duncan chose to sign with Orlando? What if Tracy never had his career cut short by microfracture surgery?
What if Vince Carter didn't suffer knee injuries in Toronto? They're all questions that NBA fans can fantasize about, but Vince and Tracy together for their respective primes may be the most intriguing.
At one point, two future Hall of Famers—and cousins—played together in their early 20s and invigorated a dormant franchise in another country. That's a story for the ages.