Report: Vince Carter signing with Hawks for first minimum contract of 21-year career

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Vince Carter has played 20 seasons in the NBA. He has received more than a minimum salary in all of them. As of a few years ago, the idea of accepting the minimum seemed to offend his sensibilities. He earned $8 million from the Kings last summer.

But Carter has finally declined to a point he’ll take the minimum.

Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:

The 41-year-old Carter remaining in the NBA, at any salary, is a huge accomplishment. He got drafted before new teammate Trae Young was even born.

If he sees the court this season, Carter (and likely Dirk Nowitzki) will join Kevin Garnett, Robert Parish and Kevin Willis with the most seasons played all-time, 21. If he plays on or after his Jan. 26 birthday, Carter will become the first 42-year-old in NBA action since Dikembe Mutombo in 2009.

Carter keeps himself in great shape,* which should set a good example for his younger teammates on the rebuilding Hawks. He can still play a little, but on a tanking team, that’s significant mostly for his ability to build credibility as a mentor. Unlike many former stars who talk about teaching the next generation but don’t actually have the patience and desire, Carter has already done it.

*Declining from such a high athletic peak doesn’t hurt, either.

This is a sound signing by Atlanta.

For Carter, it’s a testament to his longevity – even if he had to compromise on salary.