BY FRANK ISOLA
DAILY NEWS SPORTS WRITER
Vince Carter's agent revealed yesterday that the All-Star swingman met with Toronto Raptors management two weeks ago and asked the club to explore trade possibilities.
"We did meet and asked them to look into trades," Mark Steinberg said in a telephone interview. "They know where we stand."
Steinberg would neither confirm nor deny reports that Carter is trying to orchestrate a trade to New York. Last week, a person close to Carter told the Daily News that he "absolutely wants to be traded to the Knicks."
Raptors first-year GM Rob Bab**** has stated publicly that Carter, who has four years remaining on his contract, will remain in Toronto. Still, the Knicks and Raptors have had had preliminary discussions regarding Carter and would likely have to include a third or even fourth team to make a deal.
Knicks president Isiah Thomas has let it be known that under no circumstances would he trade point guard Stephon Marbury, which makes it all the more difficult to pry Carter from Toronto. Tim Thomas could be included in a potential deal, although Isiah Thomas has strong feelings for the player he acquired last February for Keith Van Horn.
In all likelihood, if the Raptors were to trade Carter, they would want some of their high-salaried players (Alvin Williams, Jalen Rose) included in the deal. It's hard to imagine the Raptors trading their most marketable player to the Knicks and to Thomas, the former Raptors president who had a falling out with Toronto's ownership group.
The Knicks can only hope that Carter puts enough pressure on Toronto to force its hand. Shaquille O'Neal and Tracy McGrady forced their teams to trade them to Miami and Houston respectively. Of course, both players had leverage because they were entering the final year of their contracts while Carter's deal doesn't expire until after the 2008 season.