Mavericks assure Vince Carter he will not be traded

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There were times you could count on Dallas to be a player at the trade deadline — at Mark Cuban’s urging the Mavericks have been aggressive in team building.

But the long-term plan in Dallas now is to maintain their cap space for next summer and go after big-time free agents with a max deal (they have to look at what is going on with the Lakers the last 48 hours and smile). Which means the only guys likely to be moved are ones whose salaries carry over.

Like maybe Vince Carter.

But he is staying put. Mavs coach Rick Carlisle told Carter himself, reports NBA.com.

“A couple days later (Carlisle) pulled me aside and said all the trade rumors, because I didn’t know much about it, he said it’s not going to happen,” Carter told NBA.com after Wednesday’s win that pushed Dallas’ record to 21-28 as it began a massively important run of seven of its next eight games at home.

“I’m happy where I am. I feel like my role here is needed,” Carter continued. “It’s a perfect position as a mentor, as a player, as a spark. I’m OK with that. I feel like for me, if they need me to start I’ll do it. If they need me to come off the bench, I’ll do it. I’m still going to play my same game and be effective. I’m a team guy and I want to see our team have success.”

Carter is a real value for the Mavs — 12.8 points a game as a sixth man, all for $3 million this season and $3.1 million next season. The Mavs have gotten even more out of him recently, including shooting 45 percent from three his last eight games. Carter has accepted his role as a veteran in a way many former stars cannot and is thriving in that role. Dallas would need a lot to move him, and they are better off keeping him around.