It’s that time, hoops fans! The NBA season is here and it’s arrived a bit earlier than usual. Due to some schedule changes, the regular season has started two weeks earlier than normal so we’ll get to see the best athletes in the world on a nightly basis between now and June.
While every team has a dream at winning an NBA championship; let’s be honest, really only a handful of teams actually have a chance and one is overwhelmingly the favorite. But that doesn’t mean the season will be devoid of excitement as the NBA may be the best soap opera in sports. It is a superstar-driven league and fans come to arenas to see the names on the back of the jerseys just as much as the names (or ads) on the front of the jerseys.
But every team has a player or two whose name has been on the back of a jersey just a little too long. These are the “keep gettin’ dem checks” All-Stars who have, somehow, stuck around a couple of extra years for some nice paydays. Did you know that guys like Chris “Birdman” Andersen and Mike Miller were still on rosters last season? The same goes for guys like James Jones and Dahntay Jones. (Every player 35 or older should try to become friends with LeBron – it will keep you in the league a couple of extra years).
Not every player can go out like Paul Pierce and retire on their own as most get forced out before they are ready to leave. These guys may not be ready to leave, but they should have been kicked out a long time ago. Here is a player from every NBA team that should just retire already.
30 Atlanta Hawks: Luke Babbitt
Babbitt is as one-dimensional as they come as he led the NBA in three-point rate last season. Nearly 75 percent of all of his shot attempts were three-point attempts which essentially makes him the white James Jones. Babbitt has carved out a niche role in the NBA but much more was expected of him especially after being traded for Ty Lawson in a draft day deal. But the main reason why Babbitt should retire is because he may soon top an infamous list that no one wants to top.
Only three active players (Omri Casspi, DeMarcus Cousins, Ricky Rubio) have played in more regular season games without appearing in a playoff game than Babbitt has. Casspi is a lock with the Warriors while Boogie and Rubio could also make it this year with the Pelicans and Jazz, respectively. However, the Hawks have no chance of making the playoffs even in the low-down dirty shame of the eastern conference so Babbitt could top that list by the end of the year.
29 Boston Celtics: Aron Baynes
The Celtics overhauled their roster and now have just two players 30 or older: Baynes and Al Horford. Horford is one of the Celtics’ best players so he’s going nowhere so the bearded New Zealander gets the short end of the stick. Baynes is an old-fashioned banger who might have been a starting center during the 1980s but now is a role player who may not get off the bench some nights. He’s made over $16 million in his career and picked up a ring with the Spurs a couple of years ago so everything from here on out is just dressing. The man’s name is “Baynes” so he already has his second career lined up as Tom Hardy’s stunt double:
28 Brooklyn Nets: DeMarre Carroll
If you are a starting wing that averages 12 points and 5 rebounds per game, then you can earn a $60 million contract like Carroll did two years ago. Just a month into that contract, Carroll hurt his knee, underwent surgery and hasn’t been the same since then. He’s been either injured or ineffective over the past two seasons and was traded in a salary dump to the lowly Nets this offseason. He just doesn’t even look healthy out on the court and he was even benched during the playoffs last season. Now, not only is he still not healthy, but he’s playing for arguably the worst team in the NBA with no shot at the playoffs. Another candidate for the Nets to retire was Timofey Mozgov but he’s provided us too many great moments over the years.
27 Charlotte Hornets: Dwight Howard
According to ESPN’s Zach Lowe, he thinks the Hornets will bench Howard at some point this season for Cody Zeller AKA Big Handsome. It’s one thing to get benched for DeMarcus Cousins or even Myles Turner, but Cody Zeller! That, alone, should force Howard to call it a career and then he can fart as he pleases in retirement. He’s going to be in the Hall of Fame one day, but Howard has alienated teammates, coaches and fans over the years, so it’s just a matter of time until he does the same in Charlotte. Speaking of being in Charlotte, Cam Newton is the king of that town which means the Howard isn’t even the best Superman in his own city.
26 Chicago Bulls: Quincy Pondexter
It has been two-and-a-half years since Pondexter last played in a game and that was at the end of the 2014-15 season. He’s missed all of the last two seasons after undergoing three knee surgeries and also dealing with a staff infection. Right after being traded to Chicago in September and being cleared to play, Pondexter promptly injured his hamstring and didn’t play in preseason. His body is failing him which is a tough pill to swallow for someone still in his 20s. He really wanted to play for the Bulls as his uncle was a first round pick by the team in 1974, but Quincy, these aren’t your daddy’s or your uncle’s Bulls. If Pondexter is able to make it back to the court, he may realize the trash he’s playing with, and decide to call it quits then and there.
25 Cleveland Cavaliers: Jose Calderon
At his peak with the Raptors, Calderon was considered one of the most underrated point guards in the NBA. Now, he’s just over the hill and is the league’s oldest point guard at 36 years old. There’s a good chance that Calderon wouldn’t have even made the Cavs’ final roster had the team brought in point guards with better injury histories than Isaiah Thomas and Derrick Rose. Over the past 18 months, Calderon has been a member of the Knicks, Bulls, Lakers, Warriors, Hawks and Cavs as his NBA career is on life support. He holds the all-time record for free throw percent in a single season (98.1 percent) and has won three Olympic medals with Spain, so he’s had a decent career. It wouldn’t surprise me if the Cavs cut or traded Calderon once Thomas gets healthy and returns to the lineup.
24 Dallas Mavericks: Josh McRoberts
Remember when Josh McRoberts was the No. 1 player in his high school class? Remember when McBob was Miami’s big free agent addition that would keep LeBron in South Beach? He was, at one point, both of those but now McRoberts is nothing more than an expiring contract after the Mavs traded for him this summer. He played in just 81 games over three years in Miami as his body is broken down at the age of 30.
Even the Mavericks themselves don’t expect to get anything out of him this season and are just utilizing his expiring deal as cap room for next season. McRoberts will earn just over $6 million this season to sit on the bench and play with his manbun.
23 Denver Nuggets: Jameer Nelson
Yes, that Jameer Nelson is still in the NBA. Nelson may have been overshadowed last season with Mike Miller also on the Nuggets but he’s now the lone senior citizen in the Mile-High City. Nelson actually started 39 games for the Nuggets last year which tells you just how bad Emmanuel Mudiay was, but with the Nuggets expected to push for a playoff spot this year, Nelson (and Mudiay) should be glued to the bench. Jamal Murray was just six years old when Nelson was making that run with St. Joseph’s alongside Delonte West but props to him for sticking around this long. I just don’t see a happy ending for Nelson as sub-6’0” point guards who are 35 don’t have a great track record of success.
22 Detroit Pistons: Reggie Bullock
When you are a fringe NBA player who can barely get off the bench, you need to be a model citizen in order to stay on an NBA roster. What you don’t need to do is get busted for smoking marijuana and failing a drug test. But that’s exactly what Bullock did, and as a result, he’s been suspended for the first five games of the 2017-18 season. What makes this even worse is the fact that the NBA doesn’t administer drug tests during the offseason, so Bullock smoked weed during last season and failed one of the four random tests. What makes this even worst is that a player is only suspended after failing three tests so Bullock was caught, placed in a substance abuse program, and still decided to smoke anyway. He appears to love the weed more than he loves the game and someone else would be more-deserving of his roster spot in the NBA.
21 Golden State Warriors: Zaza Pachulia
With Matt Barnes without an NBA team, that means that Zaza “Watch your ankles” Pachulia leads all active players in flagrant fouls. He has 18 in his career and, shockingly, the foot slide under Kawhi Leonard in the WCF last year was not called a flagrant. But the NBA did create what will unofficially be known as the “Zaza Pachulia Rule” this offseason and made the unnatural closeout on a jump-shooter an illegal play if the defender doesn’t give the shooter a chance to land. Pachulia injuring Kawhi Leonard last playoffs may have changed the entire complexion of the postseason as the Spurs were dominating the Warriors at that point. Pachulia has value to the Warriors as a goon, but the rest of the NBA wouldn’t shed a tear if he was no longer around.
20 Houston Rockets: Luc Mbah a Moute
Luc Mbah a Moute is a dogged defender and has put in nine years of service in the NBA, but he may be a better basketball scout than he is a basketball player. Mbah a Moute, a Cameroon native, discovered Joel Embiid at a basketball camp in their native land when The Process was just a 16-year-old. Mbah a Moute is Embiid’s mentor and even advised him on declaring for the NBA Draft. He infamously tweeted at Adrian Wojnarowski back when Woj prematurely said that Embiid had declared for the draft:
Embiid isn’t the only player that Mbah a Moute has discovered as he also did the same with Pascal Siakam in 2010. Mbah a Moute facilitated Siakam’s move to the United States and he became the WAC Player of the Year at New Mexico and a first round pick by the Raptors in 2016. I’m sure being a personnel evaluator doesn’t pay as well as being an NBA player, but Mbah a Moute may already be better at the former than the latter.
19 Indiana Pacers: Al Jefferson
Professor Al Jefferson earned his PhD in low-post moves about a decade ago when playing in the post was the cool thing to do. He’s managed to stay afloat despite the game passing him by and is a dinosaur compared to most of the other big men in the league. He’s just 32 but seems so much older because he came straight out of high school and he looks so much older. His rookie teammate, Ike Anigbogu, was just five years old when Big Al was drafted in 2004 and he must feel like a babysitter with the Pacers having four players on their roster 21 or younger. Jefferson has a non-guaranteed contract for the 2018-19 season so this may be his last season in the NBA. He would make for a great college coach because post play is still a big part of the college game and no one could teach footwork on the low block better than Professor Al.
18 Los Angeles Clippers: Marshall Plumlee
Unlike his older brothers Mason and Miles, who were first round draft picks, Marshall went undrafted and had to survive while playing for the Knicks as a rookie last year. But Marshall’s place on this list has nothing to do with his basketball skills, which make him a fringe NBA player, but rather his service off the court. While at Duke, Marshall was sworn into the Army after being a member of Duke’s ROTC program. In the summer of 2017, he was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the New York National Guard:
Proud to be commissioned as a 2LT in the United States Army and excited to start serving with the New York National Guard. Thank you to everyone who helped me reach this milestone. I am honored to have the opportunity to work with the brave men and women who are sacrificing for our nation, they are my greatest role models and inspiration. There is no doubt in my mind that I would not be where I am today as a player, officer, and man if not for the values instilled in me by Coach K, Duke, and the Army. Moving forward I have the privilege of serving two storied organizations; the New York Knicks, and the New York National Guard. I am determined to continue growing as a leader, and make a positive impact on these two great teams.
Shortly after that ceremony, Marshall was waived by the Knicks but then joined the Clippers. He has a higher calling than simply playing basketball and no matter which team you root for, everyone should respect Marshall Plumlee.
17 Los Angeles Lakers: Andrew Bogut
In case you weren’t keeping count, Andrew Bogut has had not one, not two, not three, not four, but five season-ending injuries over the last nine seasons. The Australian big man went on a sugar-free diet recently and has lost 20 lb, but he turns 33 soon and has been unable to stay on the court. He had interest from the Celtics but decided to sign with the Lakers for some reason so he’s clearly chasing money instead of another ring. Lakers fans also probably want Bogut to retire, today, as he’s blocking two talented 20-year-olds. LA drafted Ivica Zubac and Thomas Bryant over the last two seasons but Bogut’s presence may keep them in the G-League this season.
16 Memphis Grizzlies: Chandler Parsons
You probably forget Parsons was still in the NBA, but he will have swindled NBA owners out of over $127 million by the time his contract expires in 2020. He will make $23 million this season which is among the top 25 salaries in the NBA, but can’t even crack the starting lineup for a Grizzlies team expected to be in the lottery. Parsons’ number of games played has decreased in four straight seasons and whatever Memphis gets out of him this season will be an unexpected bonus. Parsons is an above-average player when healthy, but now all he’s known for are his injuries, his social media game, and his dating life. Of every player on this list, no team’s fan base wants the listed player to retire more than Memphis wants Parsons to hang it up. His contract is untradeable and he will be holding the franchise back from making big moves in free agency for the rest of this decade.
15 Miami Heat: Udonis Haslem
Coach Haslem returns to Miami for his 15th season despite playing in just 16 games and scoring 31 points last year. Haslem seems be taking the role that Juwan Howard had with Miami and will transition to being a coach for the team as soon as he retires. Haslem has little left to offer as a player and I suspect there’s an underlying reason as to why Pat Riley brought him back. Haslem is 26 games behind Dwyane Wade for the most games played in Miami Heat history and you can expect UD to reach that clip in his likely final season. Riley would love to stick it to Wade one last time and having Haslem take his games played record would be the way to do it.
14 Milwaukee Bucks: Brandon Rush
Only in the NBA could you show up to work just 47% of the time and still get paid over $12 million. Granted, Rush has shown up more than 47% of the time, but that is the percentage of games he’s played in over the last five seasons. He was once a solid, athletic wingman but a second torn ACL in 2012 has robbed him of his quickness. But that certainly hasn’t stopped Rush of robbing four different teams of $12 million. Rush signed with the Bucks this offseason but it seems like an odd fit since they already have a sage veteran in Jason Terry. What’s the point in having two old guys who can’t play!? It’s amazing that Brandon Rush has made it to 10 years in the NBA while his two older brothers, who were better players, lasted a combined seven NBA seasons.
13 Minnesota Timberwolves: Aaron Brooks
Along with Jimmy Butler and Taj Gibson, Brooks was one of the three former Bulls that Tom Thibodeau brought with him to Minnesota. Brooks was the Most Improved Players in 2009-10 but may have been the Least Improved since then as he’s gone in the opposite direction. He’s on his sixth team since 2013 and his play has dropped seemingly every season since playing in China in 2011-12. You would think that there isn’t a market for old and small point guards who can’t shoot, but Brooks is still in the league. The Timberwolves should be seeing what they have in backup Tyus Jones who was a first round pick in 2015 but the former Blue Devil looks primed to another year toiling away in the G-League.
12 New Orleans Pelicans: Omer Asik
Over the last few months, Asik has been treated for Crohn’s Disease, irritable bowel syndrome and ankylosing spondylitis…Need I say more? There is a good chance he won’t play at all this season and may never play again. At the Pelicans’ media day at the start of training camp, he admitted as much and said that basketball was the furthest thing from his mind. From a basketball standpoint, Asik no longer has a role in the league as a lumbering big man with hands of stone. He’s already made over $50 million in his career but he may be going down the route of Chris Bosh or Nikola Pekovic with a career-ending injury/illness. If Asik doesn’t retire on his own, look for the Pelicans to request to have his money cleared off their books once it’s been one year since Asik has last played.
11 New York Knicks: Joakim Noah
With $55 million left on his contract, there is no way in hell Noah walks away even though his body is telling him to. Since the start of the 2016 season, Noah has had two shoulder surgeries and a knee surgery to bring his career operations to a total of six. He was also hit with a 20-game suspension for PEDs and why would Noah be taking PEDs? BECAUSE HIS BODY CAN’T TAKE THE RIGORS OF THE NBA ANYMORE!!! He’s reached 70 games in a season just once since turning 24 years old and he’s a shell of his former self. Who would have thought that a decade after winning back-to-back titles at Florida, Corey Brewer would be a more effective player today than Noah is? Noah should be sending triangle-shaped Christmas cards to Phil Jackson every year as a thank you for giving him that $72 million deal last summer.
10 Oklahoma City Thunder: Kyle Singler
Kyle, this is for your own good: Retire….Yesterday.
Has any player (who rarely plays) taken more of a beating over social media than Singler has? He’s become like the white JaVale McGee but isn’t even as good a player as The Rattail. Whether it’s his play or his worse-than-JaVale hair, Singler is a hater’s favorite player. I mean, look at this:
Singler was an NCAA champion and was the Final Four’s Most Outstanding Player while at Duke. Kyle, you peaked in college. Hang ‘em up.
9 Orlando Magic: Mario Hezonja
Hezonja has a unique spot on this list because he’s the only player here I think shouldn’t retire…but he should find a new employer. But I don’t think another team in the NBA, Super Mario should head back to Europe where he was one of the best young players in the league before Scott Skiles ruined him. He won the Rising Star award as an 18-year-old in Spain and then won the Liga ACB championship a year later. Since then, it’s been all downhill as he’s struggled to get playing time for one of the worst teams in the league. He was billed as someone who could win both a Dunk Contest and a Three-Point contest but he made all of nine dunks last season and shot under 30 percent on 3PAs. At just 22, Hezonja is still young enough to put in 2-3 years overseas and then come back to the States as a more seasoned pro.
8 Philadelphia 76ers: Nik Stauskas
Stauskas grew up in a wealthy family in Canada and had his choice of after-school activities. When just 10 years old, Stauskas’ dad gave Nik and his brother the option of having a putting green, a swimming pool, or a basketball court built in their backyard. They went with a court and the privileged Stauskas even got the opportunity to play one-on-one with Vince Carter when he was with the Raptors.
That’s a long way of saying that Stauskas is well off and doesn’t need NBA money (He also attended South Kent School which has the ninth highest tuition of any school in the US). Though, that didn’t stop him from taking pictures of his money on a team plane and being “caught” by DeMarcus Cousins:
Stauskas had money as a kid and now has even more as an adult. Just get out the game now and let someone who loves the game more than money take your spot.
7 Phoenix Suns: Tyson Chandler
At 35 years old, Chandler is still relatively young, but in NBA age, he’s a dinosaur. He also plays for a Phoenix Suns team that has 10 players that are 25 or younger which, likely, makes Chandler feel like a grandpa. On top of that, the Suns will, again, be uncompetitive this season so he’s an NBA senior citizen, is 10 years older than most of his teammates and plays for a crappy team. The $26.5 million he’s owed over the next two years has to be the only reason Chandler still comes to work every day. Chandler can still play and would be best-served as a backup center on a playoff contender, or at the very least, he would be best-served on a team that has a leg day as a part of its offseason conditioning program:
6 Portland Trail Blazers: Meyers Leonard
Portlanders are known as some of the nicest, and weirdest, people in the United States. But you would have thought that Meyers Leonard was wearing an Osama Bin Laden jersey with the boos that were showered upon him during a home game in last year’s playoffs. The Blazers were on their way to getting swept by the Warriors, but every fan focused their energy on going after Leonard.
glad to be a portland fan, we never boo our own team...except for Meyers Leonard, everyone boos for him unfortunately— Ian Charles Rose (@IanCharles33) January 30, 2017
He’s mercifully gotten rid of whatever was growing on his head, but he’s still the softest 7’1” dude in the NBA. By all accounts, Leonard is a great person and overcame a tough childhood, but for his own sanity he should probably gracefully exit from the game and take up whatever else 7’1” guys do when they’re not playing basketball.
5 Sacramento Kings: Vince Carter
This one hurts me because it’s tugging at my childhood as I had VC posters on my wall growing up. Carter turns 41 this season and he looks every bit of 41 as I’ve never seen someone appear to be in so much pain while simply running up and down the court. Last year, Carter blocked 3 shots in the span of about 5 seconds in a game vs. the Spurs. He then had to sit out the next game because he was tired and wasn’t used to jumping that many times in that small a time frame. When Carter was teammates with Dwight Howard in Orlando, Howard re-nicknamed him “Half-Man Half-Retired”
That was eight years ago!
Now, Carter is more like 99.1 percent man, 0.1 percent amazing and the Kings are banking on that 0.1 percent to show up at some point this season.
4 San Antonio Spurs: Tony Parker
Remember when Parker was this spry teenager with a funny accent? Well, the accent is still there but nothing else remains and he’s on his last leg. No really, he ruptured his quadricep tendon in last year’s playoffs and no one knows if he will ever be the same. Coming back from a torn tendon is tough for anyone, but especially so for a 35-year-old who relies on his quickness like Parker does. Parker is already a Hall of Famer and has numerous off-court interests including co-owning a French basketball league and running his own basketball academy, so he doesn’t need basketball in the way that 40-year-old Manu Ginobili does. He won’t ever get his youth back, nor Eva Longoria, so he should just step away from the game while he still has one good leg.
3 Toronto Raptors: Bruno Caboclo
At just 22 years old, Caboclo is the youngest player on this list but he has shown nothing that proves he should still be in the NBA. He was the player who was infamously labeled “two years away from being two years away” and now enters Year 4. Over the last three seasons, he’s played all of 23 NBA games and has been assigned to the D-League what has to be a record 57 times!! Joel Embiid was taken in the same 2014 draft that Caboclo was, and despite missing two whole years, Embiid has played in 680 more NBA minutes than Caboclo has. Caboclo has also had behavioral issues and was suspended by the Brazilian National Team after he refused to enter a game during the AmeriCup this summer. Perhaps he should do everyone a favor, stop wasting the Raptors’ time, and kick around a soccer ball like so many of his native Brazilians.
2 Utah Jazz: Dante Exum
Some bodies just aren’t built for contact sports like basketball and Exum’s is proving to be one of those. He missed his entire second season due to a torn ACL and is poised to miss this entire season due to a shoulder injury. Exum is just 22 years old but if he can’t stay healthy while young, then how is he going to when he’s 29 years old? Exum was once seen as a top prospect which led him to being the fifth overall pick in the 2014 draft but he’s proven to be nothing more than a replacement-level player. If Exum were to retire, then the Jazz would still maintain their United Nations roster as they have another Australian in Joe Ingles along with players from 8 other countries.
1 Washington Wizards: Jason Smith
Imagine being asleep on your chartered flight and waking up to this:
That was Marcin Gortat’s view on the plane and, that alone, should force Jason Smith to look for a new profession. Freaking out your teammates at an altitude of 39,000 feet isn’t in the script for building great team chemistry but Smith has, somehow, stuck around for 11 years. Smith can still contribute as a floor-spacing big man but that picture above is going to give me nightmares. If Smith were to retire, then he already has his second career lined up as an unabashedly terrible backstage dancer.
And that concludes our list. Is there someone on your team who you wish would just hang them up already? Let us know!