Mourning may never play for Raptors!

Alonzo Mourning, the most recognizable name in Toronto’s blockbuster trade, may never slip on a Raptors jersey…The Raptors traded star guard/forward Vince Carter to the New Jersey Nets on Friday for Mourning, Aaron Williams, Eric Williams and two first-round draft picks.

Mourning was more of a throw-in than a key part of this deal, and that’s a good thing. The 34-year-old is coping with major health issues and he’s made it clear he only wants to play for a contender.

The Raptors host the Nets today at 3 pm.

The trade has received mixed reviews, critics claiming the Raptors didn’t get nearly enough for Carter, a five-time all-star, who became the face of pro basketball in Toronto.

“I’m a GM in fantasy basketball and I’m a GM on Playstation, so on Playstation I probably would have got a little more,” said Rose. “But this is real life, so I don’t know.”

Raptors GM Rob Babcock stressed the club worked long and hard to get a deal done for Carter, who went public with his wishes to leave Toronto in the off-season. But it wasn’t easy. The six-foot-six Carter’s marquee value and on-court performance had been on a serious decline, and that fact he voiced his wishes to hightail it out of Toronto weakened the team’s bargaining power.

“The player’s value is what his value is right now, it’s not his value five years ago, and his value may be higher in two years,” said Babcock. “What it is, is what it is right now for our basketball team.

“He may average 25 points a game (in New Jersey), but he wasn’t averaging 25 points for us.”

Carter was averaging 15.9 points a game, but the Nets clearly believe he has more to offer them. The headline on New Jersey’s team website Saturday read: Jersey, start the Vin-sanity!

Mourning averaged 10.4 points, 7.1 rebounds and 2.3 blocks in 25.4 minutes per game with the Nets. But his health is a serious issue. He was diagnosed with a kidney ailment in 2000 that forced him to miss most of the 2000-01 season.

The four-time all-star played just 12 games last season, undergoing a kidney transplant on Dec. 19 of last year, and after 10 months spent recovering, he returned to Nets training camp in October and earned a starting role.

Babcock said he’s awaiting the doctors’ reports on Mourning’s status, but isn’t holding his breath. He said he won’t worry with whether or not the 34-year-old will ever play for the Raptors until after Christmas.

There were more rumours Saturday – Rose and Donyell Marshall to Miami for Eddie Jones and Malik Allen. An interesting wrinkle: Miami is one of the teams Mourning would like to play for.

Babcock said, to keep distractions to a minimum, he’s told his players not to pay attention to the rumours, and refrain from reading what’s on the internet.

“Ninety-five per cent of the things that are on there are not true at all, not even close to true,” said Babcock. “All you’re going to do is get yourself all worked up.”

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