DALLAS -- About this time last year, Vince Carter had already packed his bags and was already on vacation.
Carter had finished his one and only season with the Phoenix Suns, who failed to qualify for the playoffs and were at home watching 16 teams make a bid to win the NBA title. But Carter wasn't interested in none of the postseason activity.
When asked what it like being left out of the playoff picture last year, Carter said: "Boring. There was really not much to do.
"I didn't really watch the playoffs until about the second round. "You're removed from it, so you don't really want to watch it. I just kind of got home and just tried to get away from it.''
Carter was so removed from the playoffs that he missed the Dallas Mavericks' magical championship series against the Miami Heat, when forward Dirk Nowitzki was named the Finals' Most Valuable Player. But he now knows what the Mavs went through to claim the franchise's first NBA title.
"I didn't watch the Finals,'' said Carter, who signed a free agent contract with the Mavs during the offseason. "I just think they were a team that was able to persevere and really fight through it -- kind of like the unsung heroes, if you think about it.
"Nobody really had them to win it, to go that far. But Dirk was playing outstanding basketball.''
Since he joined the Mavs, Carter has found time to watch some clips of the Mavs knocking off the Heat in the Finals. However, he said: "More than anything, I'm just excited about the opportunity to get back into the playoffs and make a run for it again.''
-- Dwain Price
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