Carter poised to make history by returning for 22nd season

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Sacramento Kings guard Vince Carter (15) drives to the basket against Oklahoma City Thunder forward Paul George (13) during the second quarter at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, USA, Mar 12, 2018.

Vince Carter is putting off retirement for at least one more season in order to claim the longest career in NBA history all to himself.

A source familiar with the situation on Monday confirmed Carter has agreed to a one-year contract to return to the Atlanta Hawks for his record 22nd season.

The source spoke to Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the deal has not been officially announced.

The 42-year-old Carter is tied with Robert Parish, Kevin Garnett, Kevin Willis and recently retired Dirk Nowitzki - all of whom played for 21 seasons - for the longest careers in NBA history.

"Just waiting for the right opportunity," he said on a recent conference call to discuss the upcoming Jr. NBA Global Championship, when questioned by a reporter for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "Nothing has changed as far as that goal and that dream of mine."

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.

This year, the Hawks have 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.

Carter also showed last season that he's still got some hoop skills. He was a valuable member of the playing rotation on a rebuilding team, playing in 76 games with nine starts, averaging 17.5 minutes and 7.4 points per contest.

While Carter is likely to get less playing time after the additions of Hunter and Reddish, the Hawks wanted him back and finish off what is expected to be a 14-man roster this season.

Carter entered the league in 1998 - the same year Young was born - as the fifth overall pick out of North Carolina.

He sparked a wave of "Vinsanity "in Toronto, where his high-flying style made him one of the league's top players. With the Raptors, Carter began a run of 10 straight seasons in which he appeared in the All-Star Game, averaging more than 20 points a game.

Carter was dealt to New Jersey in a blockbuster trade early in the 2004-05 and spent nearly five seasons with the Nets.

Since then, he bounced around to Orlando, Phoenix, Dallas, Memphis and Sacramento before landing in Atlanta last season.

The only blemish on his resume is the lack of an NBA title, which isn't likely to change in Atlanta, where the Hawks are in the midst of a total roster makeover focused on young talent.

Atlanta went 29-53 last season and is again pegged as a long shot to make the playoffs in the Eastern Conference.

After reporting for training camp a year ago, Carter said he still feels like a 20-something when a new season rolls around.

"This is like I'm in my third, fourth, fifth year," he said. "I'm excited about the opportunity. I'm excited about playing. I still love playing. I still love competing. I still enjoy the traveling, the ups and downs of the league. That's what it's all about. It's hard to let go."

Coach Lloyd Pierce, who is heading into his second season with the Hawks, loved having Carter around to give players such as Young and Collins an extra shoulder to lean on during their transition to the NBA.

Pierce is only eight months older than Carter.

"When we have our locker-room and on-the-bus debates and conversations, he's on our side," Pierce joked. "He can relate a little closer to the coaching staff than he can with the players."

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