The NBA has turned into a young league, a three-point shooting league, and a fast pace league. However, there are still players such as Vince Carter at age 40 and Dirk Nowitzki at age 39 who are still in the league. So, which players should retire already? Who can still play two or three more years in this fast paced league?
There are so many young talented players coming out of college nowadays, that it is difficult for general managers to keep these players that are well past their prime. It’s a young man’s game now and the game has changed so much, with perimeter shooting becoming more important than ever, and size not being nearly as important as it used to be. Some managers however, like Mark Cuban still would want to keep players past their prime such as Dirk Nowitzki, so that he can mentor the rookies and young talents. Whether or not that’s constructive for a young, rebuilding team is up for debate.
There are some players hanging around that have us scratching our heads as to why they’re still in the NBA, whereas some have inexplicably remained productive at an advanced age. Here are the eight players who should retire already and seven players who are cheating father time.
15. Should Retire: Channing Frye
Channing Frye is 34 years old, and he has played in the NBA for 11 seasons. He has lived off the three-point shot throughout his career. But, he is slowly declining, the power forward spot is getting more versatile, and he is becoming more predictable with his game and easier to guard. In his 11 seasons, Frye has played for the New York Knicks, Portland Trail Blazers, Phoenix Suns, Orlando Magic, and the Cleveland Cavaliers, averaging 9.2 ppg, and 4.7 rpg, in his career. As you can see, Channing Frye has never been a superstar type of player, but, at times, he has been a difference maker for his team, by hitting big shots in key moments.
In the last few seasons, he has been able to play with the best player in basketball, LeBron James, and has contributed for the Cleveland Cavaliers mainly by being a corner specialist from deep and his ability to space the floor out, making it harder for the defense to stick to him. He was on the NBA All-Rookie First team in 2006 and became an NBA champion in 2016 with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Unfortunately, the time has come for Frye to retire. He is not playing as much this season, and as stated earlier, he is declining. He has had a good career, winning a championship, something that some hall of famers has not accomplished, so he can end his career on the right note, by earning a championship ring and retiring.
14. Cheating Father Time: David West
David West is 37 and in his 14th season. West is known for his aggressive play, not backing down from a fight, and a veteran mentor.
As most of us know, the Golden State Warriors have a very talented roster with Draymond Green, Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Andre Iguodala. So, West has accepted a bench role, as he wanted to win a ring, so he went to Golden State to win it. He won his first and only championship last season with the Warriors. He is a good mentor for the young guys like Kevon Looney, Damian Jones, and JaVale McGee. Over his career, West has played with some great point guards in Chris Paul, Tony Parker, and now Stephen Curry. He has averaged 14.0 ppg and 6.6 rpg. He was also a two time All Star. So, West has had a good career and since he still has a bench role with the Warriors, I think West will be around for another year or two.
13. Should Retire: Kyle Korver
Kyle Korver is 36 years old, and just like Channing Frye has lived off the three-point shot throughout his career. Korver is a sharp-shooter and he still is, but, he is a very bad defensive player. In today’s NBA, players either need to be very talented on the offensive end like LeBron James or James Harden or very talented on the defensive end like Draymond Green or Patrick Beverly.
Korver, unfortunately, is neither, so it seems like Korver’s time is soon coming to an end as well. He will be known for his three-point shot and he may go down to be one of the best three-point shooters of all time. Perhaps the only main goal left for him is to win a championship with Cleveland.
12. Cheating Father Time: Zach Randolph
Zach Randolph is 36 and in his 16th season. Randolph is known for his elite rebounding, post up game, and hard work. He has played for five teams throughout his career; Portland, New York, the Los Angeles Clippers, Memphis Grizzles, and he is currently with the Sacramento Kings. Randolph has had a solid career, now with the Kings, he will be a great mentor for Willie Cauley-Stein, and still be a sixth or seventh man, and at times start at power forward.
In his impressive career, Randolph has averaged 16.7 ppg and 9.3 rpg. He was a two time All Star, in 2003-04 he was most improved player, and in the 2010-11 he was All-NBA Third Team. He has had a good career and can still play another two or three years. Hopefully he can play for a contending team before retiring, so he has a chance at winning his first championship.
11. Should Retire: Luol Deng
Luol Deng is 32, and has amazingly been in the NBA for 15 seasons. He is a good two-way player, he has a nice mid-range game, and can be a streaky shooter, he is also a good defensive player. However, with this young Laker team, Deng is currently not in the rotation, he still has two more years after this season on his highly paid contract, and I don’t think any team will have interest in Deng especially since the NBA is trending towards a fast pace and young players.
Deng played for ten seasons with the Chicago Bulls, two seasons for the Miami Heat, one season for the Cleveland Cavaliers, and currently, he is in his second season with the Los Angeles Lakers. Deng has had a solid career, averaging 15 ppg, and 6.1 rpg. He was a two time all-star, 2011-12 All Defensive second team, and in 2004-05 All-Rookie first team. So Deng has accomplished a lot in his career, except winning a championship, but, besides that, his career has been successful.
10. Cheating Father Time: Tony Allen
Tony Allen is now in his mid 30s and in his 15th season. He is known for his elite defending and his grit and grind style. Allen has played for two teams for the majority of his career; the Boston Celtics and Memphis Grizzles, however, this season he is playing for the Pelicans. Allen may go down as one of the best defensive players of all time. Kobe Bryant stated that Tony Allen was ‘the best defender I have faced’ which is big because Kobe saw so many in his career.
Allen does a lot of things that don’t show up on the stat sheet but in his career, he is averaging 8.2 ppg, 3.5 rpg, and 1.4 spg. Allen was the heart and soul in Memphis and he will continue that legacy with the Pelicans. He was a six time All-Defensive first team and a champion in 2007-08 with the Boston Celtics. He still has two or three years in him because of his elite defense, his old school playstyle, and his determination to not let the opponent score at all costs.
9. Should Retire: Jason Terry
Jason Terry is 40 years old and is in his 19th season. Terry is currently with the Milwaukee Bucks, led by Giannis Antentokunompo and a young crew, so he likely will not see much playing time, however, he can mentor the young players such as Malcom Brogdon. Terry won a championship in 2011 with Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Kidd, and the Dallas Mavericks, so he has experience in the biggest stage of them all.
In his impressive 19 season career, he has played for the Atlanta Hawks, Dallas Mavericks, Boston Celtics, Brooklyn Nets, Houston Rockets, and currently with the Milwaukee Bucks. Jason Terry in his career averaged 13.8 ppg, 2.4 rpg, and 3.9 apg. He was the sixth man of the year in the 2008-09 season and on the All-Rookie team in 1999-00. Jason Terry’s career has been good, but, it is time for him to retire. If the Bucks are intent on having Terry’s presence, perhaps they should bring him on as a coach instead.
8. Cheating Father Time: Manu Ginobili
Manu Ginobili is 40 years old, and even in his 15th season Manu does all the little things to help his team win, whether it is hitting big threes, taking charges, or making big defensive plays. Manu has played with one team his whole career, a rarity in today’s NBA. Manu has been mentored by one of the best coaches, if not the best coach, Gregg Popovich.
In his career, Ginobili has averaged 13.6 ppg, 3.6 rpg, and 3.9 apg. He is a complete player, he can get rebounds for his position, he make plays whether that’s finding a way to score, or getting a pass off. He is a two time All-Star, four time NBA Champion, 2002-03 All-Rookie Second Team, 2007-08 Sixth Man of the Year and two time All-NBA Third Team in 2007-08, 2010-11. He has had a great career and at age 40, he can still play two more seasons.
7. Should Retire: Nick Collison
Nick Collison is 37 years old, and he has played in the NBA for 13 seasons. Collison was known for all the little things such as taking good charges, getting offensive rebounds and giving his team chance points, and a great mentor, leader, on and off the court. Collison mentored Steven Adams throughout his career and now it looks like Steven Adams has developed into a very solid center, hence why the Thunder are still keeping Nick Collison. However, he should retire after this season, but stay with this franchise and become some type of a coach or trainer.
Collison has been with one franchise his whole career, which is a big accomplishment considering the fact that very few players in recent history have done that. However he shouldn’t hang around much longer.
6. Cheating Father Time: Pau Gasol
Pau Gasol is has played in the NBA for 16 seasons and continues to be a serviceable player. Pau has a very nice mid-range game, has formed a three point shot, can rebound effectively, and protect the paint most of the time. Pau has played for four teams in his 16 season career; the Memphis Grizzles, Los Angeles Lakers, Chicago Bulls, and he is currently with the San Antonio Spurs.
Pau has had a great career and has been coached by legendary coaches, in Phil Jackson and Gregg Popovich. He played with one of the best, if not the best player of all time, Kobe Bryant, and won two championships with the Los Angeles Lakers. He also has been a six time All-Star, 2001-02 Rookie of the Year, All-Rookie First Team, 2008-10 All-NBA Third Team, 2010-2011 and 2014-15 All NBA-Second Team. In his impressive career, Pau has averaged 17.8 ppg, 9.4 rpg, 3.2 apg, and 1.6 bpg. Pau still has a couple of more years left in him before he retires.
5. Should Retire: Udonis Haslem
Udonis Haslem at 37 and in his 14th season, is known for his leadership, mentoring, and doing all the little things such as getting second chance opportunities and making smart decisions, for example taking a smart jump shot or passing it to the open man. He is a great mentor for a rising star in Hassan Whiteside.
Haslem has won three championships with the Miami Heat and Haslem has been with one franchise his whole career. However, Haslem has not played much in the past few seasons, and after this season, it looks like Haslem will retire as a player, but, may still be involved with the Heat organization, as a coach, trainer, etc… Haslem in his career has averaged 7.8 ppg and 6.9 rpg. It’s time for him to stay with the Heat in a different role.
4. Cheating Father Time: Vince Carter
Vince Carter is 40 years old, and has managed to stick around for 19 seasons. Carter is a good two-way player. He had all the offensive skill set, and was a harder worker on the defensive end. However, he will be remembered for all the memorable dunks he did with the Toronto Raptors. Carter has played with seven teams including the Toronto Raptors, Nets, Orlando Magic, Phoenix Suns, Dallas Mavericks, Memphis Grizzles, and is now trying to bring a veteran presence to a thin Kings team.
In his impressive career, Carter has averaged 18.2 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 3.3 apg, and 1.1 spg. He is an eight time All-Star, 1998-99 Rookie of the Year and All-Rookie First Team, 1999-00 All-NBA Third Team and, 2000-01 All-NBA Second Team. Now he has a bench role on this young and talented Sacramento Kings team, but, he can really help the rookies, DeAaron Fox and Justin Jackson improve their game and develop confidence, so I think Vince will stick around for another year or two before retiring.
3. Should Retire: Richard Jefferson
Richard Jefferson is 37 and in his 16th season, and Jefferson is known for his two-way game and versatility. He is a good defender and can put the ball in the basket on the other end. Jefferson has played for eight different teams, including the Nets, Milwaukee Bucks, San Antonio Spurs, Golden State Warriors, Utah Jazz, Dallas Mavericks, Cleveland Cavaliers, and he’s now managed to snag a one-year deal with the Denver Nuggets.
Jefferson in his career, is averaging 12.8 ppg and 4.1 rpg. He won the NBA championship two seasons ago with the Cleveland Cavaliers, and he was named on the All-Rookie team in 2001-02. Jefferson’s leadership on and off the court is why so many players like playing with him and he is one of those players like Patrick Beverly, who you love to have on your team but hate to play against him.
2. Cheating Father Time: Dirk Nowitzki
Dirk Nowitzki is 39 and one of the most loyal players you’ll ever find. Dirk is known for his post up, fadeaway, and three point shot. He is a good leader, mentoring Nerlens Noel and developing his game. Dirk has play for one franchise his entire career, despite being in an era where it’s all about cashing in for free agency and forming super teams. He won a championship with the Mavericks in 2011 against LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and the Miami Heat. Dirk is one of the few loyal players in the league now, even taking a pay cut during the offseason in order to return to the Mavericks.
In his legendary career, Dirk averaged 21.7 ppg and 7.8 rpg. In 2006-07 Dirk was named MVP, in 2010-11 he was named Finals MVP, in 2004-2009 he was named All-NBA First Team, in 2001-2003, 2007-2011 he was named All-NBA Second Team, and in 2000-01, 2003-04, and 2011-12 he was named All-NBA Third Team. Dirk still has one or two more years in him until he retires.
1. Should Retire: Jose Calderon
Calderon is known for his playmaking ability. He is a very good passer, makes smart decisions, and that is what a good point guard is. Calderon has played for seven teams in his career, the Toronto Raptors, Detroit Pistons, Dallas Mavericks, New York Knicks, Los Angeles Lakers, Atlanta Hawks, and he currently is with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Calderon now is in a reserved role because of the Cavaliers’ depth at the point guard position with Isaiah Thomas at starting point guard, when he returns from injury, and Derrick Rose as backup point guard. However, this is a good opportunity for both Rose and Thomas to learn from Calderon. In his career, Calderon has averaged 9.5 ppg and 6.2 apg. Calderon’s play time has been decreasing tremendously over the past few years, and this should be his last season in an NBA uniform.
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