The summer is a time of hope for many people involved with the NBA. First, there is the hope you see in the young faces of guys going into the NBA Draft. These are young men who are finally fulfilling their dream of becoming a professional basketball player in the best league in the world. At the same time, there is the hope of players going into free agency, who believe they will finally get the money they so deserve.
Unfortunately, the summer can also be a time for heartache for many people. There are players who contributed a lot to teams in the NBA, but simply don’t have a place in the league anymore. These are usually the guys who will look elsewhere to continue their basketball careers. The most likely destination for these players is overseas since a lot of them don’t believe the G-League is a good bet. And when you look at the amount of happy former NBA stars playing overseas, you can’t deny that this is a lucrative and enticing opportunity. Another brand of player we would like to talk about are those who should probably retire during the summer. These guys have already given the basketball world more than they had to, and there should be no shame in hanging up the sneakers and waiting for the call from the Hall of Fame. Well, at least for some of them.
15 Overseas: Omri Casspi
Once upon a time, almost everyone believed Omri Casspi would eventually become one of the most solid contributors in the NBA. Nobody really believed Casspi would become a sure starter in the league, but the general agreement around the NBA was that he would always be a good role player wherever he went. In many ways, this was due to his ability to shoot well from beyond the three-point line. Most if not all NBA teams would welcome a 6’9” power forward who can shoot the three ball.
Unfortunately for Casspi, that was pretty much all that he could do, and he was mostly a liability whenever he was on defense. A testament to that is that he was eventually waived by the premier three-point shooting team in the NBA. Yeah, this guy made it all the way to the Golden State Warriors in 2017-18 only to be waived after 53 games with the team. Now, he could test free agency and try for another year in the NBA, but we believe it would be both more lucrative and better for his career to take a chance and go play in Europe where his talents would be used to the full. Still, it will be up to him whether or not he will stay in the NBA since he could probably sign for a veteran’s minimum with a middle of the pack team to warm the bench.
14 Retire: Manu Ginobili
It has been at least five years since Manu Ginobili has started contemplating the idea of retirement. But again and again, he decides to come back to the NBA and is still able to play at a very high level. Hell, just ask the Golden State Warriors, he literally took a game away from them during the playoffs. No, Ginobili is not the kind of guy who will still play more than 20 minutes a night, and he has certainly become a liability on defense since you lose a lot of your quickness and ability to react to the movements of younger guys with age.
In a league full of explosive guards, it is hard for the Argentinian to keep up most nights. Nevertheless, we have learned not to doubt this guy at any point in his career.
The bottom line here is that if Ginobili wants to retire he will retire, and if he decides to come back the San Antonio Spurs will welcome him with open arms. But going into his 41st year in this world, it might really be the time to retire while he’s still on top. After all, not many people can say they retired after stealing a game from the Warriors at 40-years-old.
13 Overseas: Brandan Wright
While they might seem complex to a lot of people, things have gotten way more simple in the NBA over these past few seasons. The bottom line here is that to stay in the league without being a reliable three-point shooter, you need to be either a lockdown defender, an exquisite playmaker, or a tenacious rebounder. Brandan Wright is none of those things. Don’t get us wrong, this guy has done his service and played nearly a decade in the NBA. However, the North Carolina graduate is just not cut for the game anymore, in the NBA at least.
We say that because we believe he could be a great player if he were to take his talents overseas. During the 2017-18 season, Wright played 27 games for the Memphis Grizzlies and just one game for the Houston Rockets. As a whole, he averaged five points and 3.4 rebounds per game during the season. The problem was that this has been pretty much his average throughout his entire career. Add that to the fact that he cannot shoot a three-pointer to save his life, and a move overseas seems to be the way to go. Yes, the European game is also based a lot on three-pointers, but he could fit the bill of being a tenacious rebounder there.
12 Retire: Dwyane Wade
Much like Ginobili, Dwyane Wade is someone who seems to have some gas in the tank after all those years in the pros. But having gas in the tank doesn’t exactly mean that you should go and spend it all. There is nothing wrong with hanging up the old sneakers while you can still contribute a little bit. Wade is an amazing player and, like Ginobili, he proved that he can still be the difference for his team coming off the bench during a playoff game. The guy is a future Hall of Famer, and no one will ever be able to force him to retire. The Miami Heat will keep re-signing him for as long as he wants to play. That is just how much Wade means for that franchise.
Nevertheless, the signs of aging have been showing, and his little stint in Cleveland did not seem to help extend his career at all. There was probably a lot of stress going on inside the locker room involving Wade. Otherwise, we find it hard to believe Cleveland would agree to trade a future Hall of Famer for a second-round pick that they will probably not even get. Soon enough, Wade is going to turn 37, and this is an offseason in which he is probably going to give a good and long look at the prospect of retirement.
11 Overseas: Mirza Teletovic
Adapting from the college game to the NBA game is already hard enough, but it seems that adapting from the international game to the NBA game is even harder. This is most likely the reason why we see so many players who perform at a world-class level overseas coming into the NBA and not performing well at all. It is just a different game. Yeah, you have to put the ball in the basket, and the rules are mostly the same, but if you watch a European game and an NBA game, you realize that they are different kinds of basketball. We are not saying one is better than the other, we’re just saying they are different.
This adaptation was something Mirza Teletovic seemed to be pulling rather well as he shot better than 37 percent from three-point range through his six years in the NBA.
Unfortunately, it seems like Teletovic will be forced to retire from the league because of a medical condition.
But while the Milwaukee Bucks seem to have given up on him, Teletovic does not seem to have given up on basketball as he is hopeful he will make a comeback. While it might not happen in the NBA, we would place all our bets on him going back to Europe and making Milwaukee regret giving up on him.
10 Retire: Joe Johnson
When did Joe Johnson go from being one of the clutchest scorers in the history of the game to becoming a benchwarmer for the Houston Rockets? If you remember this guy playing in Atlanta or even a few times during his stint with the Brooklyn Nets, you remember that he was about as deadly as shooters come. Unfortunately, it seems like in a blink of an eye Joe went from being one of the better scorers in the league to becoming a guy who fans don’t even want to see coming off the bench for their team. This is one of the saddest things we will say throughout this entire article, but after what we saw from him during the playoffs, it might be time for Joe Johnson to call it quits on his basketball career.
He is going to be turning 37 soon, and it really doesn’t seem like he has enough gas in the tank to be a good contributor for a playoff team anymore. During this season’s playoffs, he averaged 6.8 minutes per game with the Rockets. In that time, he scored a total of 12 points and missed all of the three-pointers he attempted. Maybe he could try and drag his career another season, but for a guy who already made more than $210 million in the NBA, it might not even be worth it.
9 Overseas: Josh McRoberts
Josh McRoberts was fun to watch. Ever since he came out of Duke University, this guy entertained people all around the NBA. Yeah, he was a second-round pick in the 2007 NBA Draft, but that did not stop him from being a solid role player for more than a decade in the NBA. He has career averages of 5.4 points 3.9 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game, but you shouldn't be deceived by those stats. Josh is a very good shooter for someone his size, as the 6’10” forward has a career average of 34 percent shooting from beyond the arc. Not only that, his shooting always seems to be improving as in 2016-17, playing for Miami he shot better than 41 percent from beyond the arc.
Unfortunately, this past season with the Dallas Mavericks was not a great one for McRoberts. He played only a couple of games before being waived by Mark Cuban and his team. That is not such a good look for someone who was earning more than $6 million in his contract. That being said, we find it hard to believe that any team will throw more than a veteran’s minimum at McRoberts during free agency, which is why we believe he would be a good fit for a move overseas, where he would be one of the most exciting players to watch. If you don’t believe us just watch his dunk videos.
8 Retire: Pau Gasol
If we were to keep it real here, we should probably say that Pau Gasol should have retired whenever he stopped playing with Kobe Bryant. That is just the truth. You can probably count on your fingers how many seasons Gasol’s career really lasted after he parted ways with Bryant. Yeah, the two of them were a dynamic duo with the Los Angeles Lakers, and they were enough to win a couple of NBA championships together. Nevertheless, once they said goodbye to each other neither of them found much success in their career.
Gasol had a couple of good years with Chicago when he still had over 30 minutes of playing time. However, once that time on the court started going down, so did his career. Just this past season with the San Antonio Spurs he played more than 23 minutes a game and averaged 10.1 points and eight rebounds a night. That is down from his career averages of 17.4 points and 9.3 rebounds per game. But more than that, it is visible that he simply cannot keep up with the younger guys on the court.
There are so many athletic people in the NBA today that Gasol’s declining skill is not enough for him to play the game anymore.
If anything, the San Antonio Spurs’s playoff series against the Golden State Warriors should be enough to prove that he is nothing more than a liability for his team these days.
7 Overseas: Isaiah Canaan
You know your NBA career is in serious jeopardy when you get waived by the Phoenix Suns. That is the unfortunate situation Isaiah Cannan found himself in when Phoenix decided he was not good enough for their team at the beginning of February. Not only that, this is terrible because he wasn’t even a big hindrance to their salary situation since Cannan was earning a little over $1 million for the season. Nevertheless, after just 19 games in Arizona, they decided he was not for them and waived him into the limbo of midseason free agency. As he is a speedy guard, we still think he has a lot to contribute when he returns from his devastating injury. If anything, Isaiah is a good playmaker who could help a team if push came to shove. The problem here seems to be his height. At 6-feet-tall, he has a lot of trouble playing defense, and this was something that not too many teams will look at with kind eyes after what we saw during the playoffs.
Maybe he will be able to get a contract during the summer free agency, but the most likely scenario here seems to be that he will take a chance and continue his career overseas, where his speed and scoring ability should be enough to make him one of the best players in a good team.
6 Retire: Jason Terry
There are a lot of veterans playing in the NBA today, but not all of them are as fun to watch on the court as Jason Terry. The Jet has been in the NBA for almost two decades, and we can’t deny that we smile every time we see him on the court. This is a guy who has played the same way throughout his entire career. Despite the fact that age is a serious factor for him now, he still tries his best and puts up good performances when his number is called. His playing time is down to 16 minutes a night for the Milwaukee Bucks, but he has taken the role of being a veteran three-point shooter well and contributed to Milwaukee whenever he was given a shot to get into the court.
Unfortunately, at 40 years old going into 41, we find it hard to believe that Terry has another season in him. His averages were down all the way to 3.3 points and 1.2 assists a night for Milwaukee. Next year, they will probably be even lower as he will seldom see court time if he re-signs. Then again, this is a guy who loves playing basketball, and no one should doubt that he will try to drag his career on for another season.
5 Overseas: Quincy Pondexter
At this point, we thought Quincy Pondexter would be much older. This is a guy who has been in the NBA for quite some time, or at least that’s what we thought. Despite being drafted in 2010, Pondexter only has six years of experience in the league. That happened because of his history of suffering severe injuries that pretty much ruined his career whenever he started picking up steam. Pondexter was a good scorer whenever he was on the court as he averaged nine points per game for the New Orleans Pelicans in 2014-15, shooting almost 45 percent from the field and 43 percent from the three-point line. Those are solid numbers that would land him a spot on almost any team in the NBA. Unfortunately, he did not play the next two seasons because of injuries.
He returned this season playing for the Chicago Bulls in a limited role where he saw less than nine minutes of playing time every night.
This is kind of sad because Quincy was supposed to be a good player in the NBA, but things just didn’t work out for him. Perhaps the best thing for this guy to do would be to try to make a name for himself overseas, where he will actually get to play, before trying to return to the NBA. At 30-years-old, he still has a lot of basketball in him.
4 Retire: Jamal Crawford
Not many people in the history of the NBA were as skilled in scoring the basketball as Jamal Crawford. This guy is fun to watch, there is no other way to describe him. If he was not playing in the NBA, there is a good chance Crawford would be a street ball superstar. People talk about Kyrie Irving and Steph Curry when they mention ballhandling and dribbling, but if you watched Jamal Crawford playing throughout his entire career, you know that even those guys would have trouble keeping up with him in his prime.
At 37 years old, Crawford still had enough in him to put up an amazing sixth man season playing for the Minnesota Timberwolves. He averaged more than 10 points a night, shooting better than 33 percent from beyond the three-point line and better than 90 percent from the free-throw line. Yeah, this guy can shoot the basketball, and that should be enough for him to keep playing as long as he wants. However, age seems to be catching up, and we find it hard to believe Crawford will get enough playing time next season to showcase his array of moves and skills. It's a sad thing, because he is one of those microwave players who needs to heat up to perform at his best. Maybe considering retirement is not such a bad option for him now. He certainly made enough money during his NBA career.
3 Overseas: Ramon Sessions
If you are one of those people who didn’t realize Ramon Sessions was still playing basketball, don’t be ashamed because you are not the only one. Sessions was never really a top guy on any team, but for many years he was a solid point guard to have coming off the bench. There were even times when it seemed like he should have been a starter in many teams. Unfortunately, when someone has played for as many franchises as he has, things start piling up, and people stop believing that you are the kind of player they should put their money on. Why would I give this guy a big contract if he is probably just going to leave the next season or if I am going to trade him halfway through the year?
That seems to be the line of thought when talking about Sessions, which is unfortunate because he is a good point guard. And because of that, we believe a move overseas could be really good for his career. Just this past season he played only 28 games divided between the New York Knicks in the Washington Wizards. He didn’t get much playing time, and he certainly did not get the recognition he deserved. Going overseas, he will be able to showcase his skills and maybe even prove that he deserves a better spot in the NBA.
2 Retire: Dirk Nowitzki
Do whatever you want, but just don’t tell Mark Cuban that Dirk Nowitzki should retire. We could say that we were kidding, but the truth really seems to be that Cuban believes Dirk is the greatest player who has ever lived. And in a way, he might be just right. No, we are not saying Dirk is better than Michael Jordan or LeBron James. But you could say that Dirk is a unique player. There have always been players who changed the game of basketball because of the way they played, but Dirk is in a league of his own when it comes to that.
He came into the NBA in 1998, and to this day you can confidently say he is one of the greatest big men shooters of all time.
There are a lot of amazing moves in basketball, but you will have a hard time finding a move that is tougher to defend than that one-footed turnaround fadeaway Nowitzki perfected. It simply is one of the deadliest moves the basketball world has ever seen, and the Dallas Mavericks have a championship to prove that. Unfortunately, at 39 years old, going into 40, it might really be the time for Dirk to say goodbye.
1 Overseas: Andrew Bogut
People picked on this guy his entire career, but the truth is that Andrew Bogut was a good player in the NBA. No, he was nowhere near as good as a number one overall pick should be, but he is not nearly the bust that many people claim him to be either. After more than a decade of basketball in the NBA, this is a man who has career averages of almost 10 points, nine rebounds, and 1.6 blocks per game. Not many people can claim numbers like those. It might have helped him if he tried to develop a jump shot while he was in the NBA, but his inability to do just that is the reason why he is basically being pushed out of the league today.
The latest hurdle in Bogut’s career was being waived by the young Los Angeles Lakers, which should at least be a wake-up call for this guy to realize staying in the NBA might not be the greatest thing for him to do now. We are not even saying that Bogut should try to make a living in Europe or anything. But maybe going back home to Australia to play a little, just as he did recently when he signed with the Sydney Kings, would not be such a bad thing. They have a developing basketball league there, and it sure would be fun for the people of that country to watch one of the best basketball players ever to come out of there playing in his home turf.