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Vince Carter reportedly set to return to Atlanta Hawks

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The elder statesman is back.

Atlanta Hawks v Milwaukee Bucks Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

Vince Carter enjoyed a memorable season in 2018-19, acting as a prominent member of a fun basketball team with the Atlanta Hawks. Throughout his 21st season in the NBA, Carter answered seemingly endless questions about his future and, along the way, the 42-year-old declared that he had every intention of continuing his career with another run in 2019-20. It took a while for Carter’s next step to illuminate but on Monday, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN broke word that Carter will, in fact, be in the league for the upcoming campaign and he will return to the Hawks.

Wojnarowski also brings word that the 19-20 season is likely to be Carter’s final season in the NBA, which would sign off a Hall of Fame career.

There were many twists and turns along the way, with the Hawks acquiring a pair of veterans (Jabari Parker and Chandler Parsons), a pair of rookies (De’Andre Hunter and Cam Reddish) and another established option (Evan Turner) as options at the forward spots alongside John Collins. That seemingly led to a lack of a defined slot for Carter but, after more than a month on the free agent market, the future Hall of Famer chose to return to Atlanta, even without a clear path to regular playing time.

During the 2018-19 season, Carter was quite effective, occupying the backup power forward role behind Collins and continuing his late-career renaissance as a knock-down shooter. The veteran connected on 39 percent of his three-point attempts and, while Carter isn’t the same athlete that he was in his prime (for obvious reasons), he held up defensively, even when asked to slide back to the small forward spot to make up for injuries elsewhere on the roster.

Beyond his on-court impact, Carter was renowned for his leadership during his first season with the Hawks, drawing rave reviews from teammates and coaches. Even if he does not receive regular playing time when the roster is at full strength, Carter can provide value behind-the-scenes and, as he showed last season, the team’s elder statesman can still check a number of boxes when thrusted into extended deployment.

With Carter returning, the Hawks add another versatile, floor-spacing threat and there is real value in that profile, even if it might come in something of an insurance role. Carter is much more than that, though, and fans will undoubtedly be thrilled to observe his movements during what will be a record-breaking campaign.

Stay tuned.