Raptors receive three players and two picks

INDIANAPOLIS -- All-Star Vince Carter was traded by the Toronto Raptors to the New Jersey Nets for Alonzo Mourning, Eric
Williams, Aaron Williams and a pair of first-round draft picks Friday.

The trade was first reported by ESPN Insider Chad Ford.

Carter, on the injured list with a strained left Achilles tendon, was at the Raptors' morning shootaround, but did not accompany the team to Conseco Fieldhouse for its game against the

"Any time you lose a guy like Vince, it's a big blow," Toronto
forward Donyell Marshall said. "He was to Canada what Michael
Jordan was to the Bulls."

"Obviously they felt that was the best deal on the table for
us," said Marshall, who spoke to Carter at his hotel room. "We're
going to miss Vince as a player and as a person. We wish him the

Carter is headed to a Nets team that sorely missed the
athleticism it lost when Kenyon Martin left for Denver in the
offseason. With Jason Kidd healthy again and Richard Jefferson on
one wing, New Jersey has a chance to return to the up-tempo style
that made it one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference.

The trade signals that the Nets want to keep Kidd and rebuild around him. After the offseason trades of Martin and Kerry Kittles, Kidd expressed his displeasure with the direction the Nets were taking.

"I hope this changes his mind a little bit. I hope he will give it a chance and see where it goes from here," said Carter, Kidd's teammate on the 2000 U.S. Olympic team.

The injured Carter will not be in uniform Sunday when the Nets play at Toronto.

Kidd, in Memphis with the Nets, sounded pleased by the trade but noncommittal about his future.

"I'm a Net until told otherwise," Kidd said. "I've always asked to be competitive, to put a competitive team out there, and that's what they're trying to do."

Carter earned the nicknames "Air Canada" and "Half-Man,
Half-Amazing" for his high-flying dunks, which breathed life into
a moribund franchise and made him easily the biggest star to play
in Canada since the NBA expanded there 10 years ago.

"We are very excited to add a player of Vince's caliber to the
Nets roster," Nets president Rod Thorn said. "He is a proven
All-Star who brings a unique dynamic to any team of which he is a

"Vince's ability to run the floor fits in very well with our
desired style of play, and his ability to create his own shot will
elevate the productivity of our halfcourt offense."

Carter has been an All-Star the past four seasons and is easily
the biggest star to play in Canada since the NBA expanded there 10
years ago.

He spent all six-plus years of his career in Toronto, earning
the nickname "Air Canada" for his high-flying dunks and
remarkable athleticism. He leaves the Raptors as the franchise
leader in 10 categories, including scoring, 3-pointers made and
games started.

But his production has been on a slow decline since he averaged
27.6 points in 2000-01 and brought the Raptors within one victory
of a trip to the conference finals. Carter has become less
aggressive, often settling for jumpers rather than driving the ball
and drawing contact, and he has been unable to shake a reputation
of being a "soft" player.

Carter's current averages of 15.9 points and 3.3 rebounds are
career-lows, as is his field goal percentage of .411.

"The organization has been good to me and given me an
opportunity to grow and make a name for myself," Carter said.
"Where it went wrong? I don't know. I guess it just got to where
it was time to move on."

Despite his significant success in Toronto, trade rumors have
surrounded Carter all season. The five-time All-Star asked to be
dealt earlier in the year, and the Raptors had spent the last
several weeks in trade discussions with a number of teams.

"Vince said it to me that sometimes we just need a change of
scenery," Raptors general manager Rob Babcock said. "And this is
probably a situation where it is the best thing for Vince and the
best thing for us."

All the speculation made it seem inevitable that Carter would be
traded, but that didn't do much to soften the blow on Friday.

"I'm still just shocked," Morris Peterson said. "Even with
all the trade talks, it's hard to believe."

Thorn said there was an outside chance Mourning would not report to Toronto because he wants to play for a contender.

"We did this trade knowing that his medical condition may mean that he never plays for us," Babcock said. "We would do this trade regardless of whether he was in it or not."

When asked what his first reaction was upon learning Carter had
been dealt, Jalen Rose said, "Was it for Richard Jefferson?

"With Kidd at the point, Jefferson on one wing, you put Vince
Carter on the other wing, it kind of reminds people on paper of
what they had with Kenyon Martin," Rose said.

The Raptors will be getting three defensive-minded players to
replace the one player who has defined offense in Canada since he
arrived in 1998.

"Those guys have been through the fires," point guard Rafer Alston said. "They toughen us up defensively. You have Zo blocking shots, Eric Williams can guard, Aaron Williams, those guys make us real competitive from a defensive standpoint.

"We're going to miss Vince. I'm going to miss his presence on the floor, drawing a lot of attention, just that factor. It's going to be tough."

Mourning, who signed with New Jersey as a free agent on July 16, 2004, has played in a total of 30 games with the Nets, averaging 9.4 points and 7.4 rebounds. After playing in 12 games in 2003-04 season, Mourning was forced to stop playing basketball due to kidney disease.

Mourning underwent kidney transplant surgery on Dec. 19, 2003, causing him to miss the remainder of that season. In his comeback this season, the seven-time All-Star played in 18 games
with New Jersey, averaging 10.4 points, 7.1 rebounds and 2.28 blocks. He was also was dissatisfied with the Nets' offseason moves and had asked for a trade.

"It just didn't work out," Thorn said. "Last year he was injured, and this year he wanted to be elsewhere. ... He just wasn't happy here. Obviously, he wanted to
be somewhere else, and now he gets that opportunity."

Aaron Williams played in 336 games with New Jersey after signing as a free agent in August 2000. In four-plus seasons with the Nets, he's averaging 7.2 points and 4.7 rebounds, but dropped out of the Nets' rotation this season as a backup center.

Eric Williams, currently in his 10th NBA season, signed with the Nets in August, and ranked second in scoring this season, averaging 12.6 points as New Jersey's starting small forward.

All three former Nets will add much-needed size to the Raptors,
who also received two of the first-round picks the Nets acquired
from Denver in the Martin trade.

"Those guys have been through the fires," point guard Rafer
Alston said. "They toughen us up defensively. You have Zo blocking
shots, Eric Williams can guard, Aaron Williams, those guys make us
real competitive from a defensive standpoint."

"This isn't a deal where we are sending three guys who didn't help us," Nets coach Lawrence Frank said. "They did help us. But it was an opportunity ... to acquire an All-Star player."

The two first-round selections sent to Toronto were originally acquired from Denver as part of a trade made this past summer.

Information from The Associated Press and was used in this report.