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Carter eager to get started with Nets
Updated: 2004-12-21 14:20

Vince Carter's strained left Achilles' tendon will keep him from playing Tuesday night when the New Jersey Nets face the Charlotte Bobcats.

Vince Carter, seen here November 2004, the Raptors star swingman who has been clamoring for a trade from Toronto, is headed for the New Jersey Nets, according to a report by ESPN. [AFP]
But Carter can't wait to play for his new team and prove he hasn't lost a step or an inch on his vertical jump.

"I'm going to make a lot of people eat their words when it's time," the former Toronto Raptor said after his first practice with the Nets. Don't be my friend later. If you hate me now, hate me later. I don't mind."

Carter was traded from Toronto to New Jersey on Friday for Aaron Williams, Eric Williams, Alonzo Mourning and two conditional first-round picks. The deal was finalized Monday, when the players passed their physicals. The Raptors waived the physical for Mourning, who probably will be bought out of his contract.

For the 27-year-old Carter, this is a new beginning after 6 1/2 seasons in Toronto, where he was the face of the franchise and the person who took the heat when the Raptors didn't play well or when he didn't carry them to victories.

"My whole goal was to take the pressure off of everybody else," Carter said. "I could shoulder the blame."

Carter's role with New Jersey will be much different. The Nets are Jason Kidd's team first, then Richard Jefferson's. That doesn't bother five-time All-Star Carter.

"I'm happy with it," Carter said. "I'm just there to be that other guy, that third guy to help out. Now who are you going to worry about more? It's going to be fun."

For the time being, no one will be worrying about Carter. He also doesn't expect to play Wednesday against Cleveland. A more realistic date for his Nets' debut is Monday at Detroit.

"It's feeling good," Carter said of the injury. "But I'm not going to rush it."

Carter was given opportunities to criticize the Raptors, but chose not to. He was the subject of countless trade rumors and was nearly dealt to the Blazers and Knicks. He was surprised when he found out it was the Nets, but wasn't upset.

"I was happy that a decision was made," Carter said. "Seven years, time to move on."

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