After acquiring Ty Lawson in the draft last month, many in Nuggets Nation agreed that bringing AC back for another season in Denver was a no-brainer. I hate AC as much as any good Nugs fan, but we're gonna need a 3rd PG at the minimum salary. Is there really a better, more logical option out there? I thought it was pretty much a foregone conclusion AC would be coming back. Let's rock this after the jump, where I explain why it suddenly seems not so simple.
Since then, Chris Tomasson has reported twice about Carter looking for opportunities outside of Denver, with the Memphis Grizzlies mentioned specifically (thanks to Nate for linking the second RM Independent article). He wouldn't be making more than the minimum, but apparently AC is worried about a reduced role and fewer minutes with the Nuggets, which is a near certainty should he return. Ty Lawson would need to have a season ending injury for AC to return to his role as primary backup and 22 mpg guard off the bench. For Carter, that could mean the difference between getting a last shot at a multi-year contract, or possibly being out of the league altogether. As it stands, AC is only in line for minimum one year contracts from Denver, as they have acquired what they hope will be his replacement in young Ty Lawson.
George Karl has been extremely vocal about his desire to bring Carter back for another season. As much as he likes AC, he can't promise him anything more than a short, uncertain future with the team. Should AC return, I expect he would want to be given the same role as last season. Depending on Ty Lawson's performance, that may be nearly impossible. This combined with GK's affinity for Carter is very troubling to me. Personally, I see the potential for a dangerous conflict of interest that could be a dividing force within the team and organization. To be fair to AC, he should look for not only the best financial option but the best opportunity for his professional future.
This begs the question of whether or not Karl would feel obligated to defer a certain amount of minutes to AC in convincing him to come back. Of course I think AC should and would play next year, but it's impossible to know how much until we see where Ty Lawson is at and exactly what he can do. Therein lies the problem, and while I don't want AC to get hurt I think it's the coaches job to do what's best for the team. Even if that means an increasingly obscure role for Anthony Carter.
I am purely speculating about what AC might be feeling about re-signing in Denver. He could very well be a team player willing to sacrifice whatever is necessary for the best chance of winning. On the other hand, if the personal side of things could create even a little tension between him, GK, and the team - then everyone loses out. That's an un-needed distraction and something that had better not be a problem with whoever signs as our next backup point guard. Please take the poll below if you've read all of this