Father Time is undefeated. Tim Duncan gave in to it, Kobe fell to it, and believe it or not, LeBron James will eventually lose to it too. While all the players who formerly dominated the league are slowly but surely retiring one by one, young players who don’t pan out as hoped retire as well. Whether it be not living up to expectations, not enjoying basketball anymore, or due to injury, it’s not just the old guys retiring. It is hard to project these young guys, however we feel some of them have given us ample reason to believe they will be out of the league by 2018.
You’ll also find former MVPs and superstars of the league on this list that either succumbed to injuries or just happened to fall off, and due to their contract history vs. value provided to their teams, you could see why they may go unsigned during the offseason. Take this offseason, for example, guys such as Nerlens Noel, a great young defensive center, and Derrick Rose, former MVP, waited a while before they were signed, and both got robbed of the contracts they deserved. Rose took a massive pay cut to play with LeBron, and Noel had a situation with his agent which led to his contract.
So, with that in mind, it’s easy to see why former stars and key pieces don’t receive contracts and get signed. NBA GMs are smart enough to know not to sign washed up players but to target the younger players who conform to today’s league. Here are 15 players who WILL we jobless by the start of next season.
15 Joakim Noah
To say Joakim Noah has been disappointing would an understatement to Knicks Fans. He’s been awful. Orginally signed to be the defensive player to go alongside Kristaps Porzingis in the frontcourt, Joakim has been healthy enough to play in majority of Knicks games, but hardly sees any action these days.
Having only played 46 last season and appearing in 6 this year, it’s almost like he isn’t part of the team.
His injuries such as his torn rotator cuff have caused him to be out for so long, and he will probably have future injuries as well. While his contract last for a few more seasons, it’s difficult to see the Knicks not doing all they can to get rid of his contract. A buyout is possible, and should that happen, Joakim would likely retire. He just doesn’t add much value anymore, and the former MVP candidate and DPOY will likely be out of the league by the 2018-19 season.
14 Dwyane Wade
After coming into Cleveland with people expecting him to revive the unstoppable Miami Heat duo, Dwyane Wade was moved into a sixth man role shortly into the season. Wade took the role in stride, putting team success first, but Wade’s production is a far cry from what it used to be. Wade does show highlight level flashes of his old self during Cleveland games, but he is incapable of consistent production carrying the Cleveland offense. Wade recently turned 35, and will most likely retire should Cleveland win a championship. As much as fans may want to see the Wade of the Heat days, his injury history and age could mean he will never return to form. Wade most likely wants to spend his last year contributing to championship contender such as the Cavs, and looks to go out with a happy ending- a fourth Championship Ring.
13 Udonis Haslem
A Heat legend, Udonis Haslem is adored by Heat fans, but odds are his career is going to end soon. Haslem turned 37 in June of 2017, and as he doesn’t receive playing time and is on a short contract, there is really no reason for the Heat to retain him aside from nostalgic reasons. Haslem was a solid starter in his prime, starting with the 2006 Championship-winning Heat, and has played his whole career with them, but it is hard to see reason for the Heat to retain Haslem at this point. Should Udonis retire, he would finish as a three-time NBA Champion, winning championships with the Wade and LeBron era Heat. Heat fans and the Heat organization will be sure to recognize Haslem for all his contributions throughout his career.
12 Michael Carter-Williams
Michael Carter-Williams, ever since winning Rookie of the Year, has followed a similar career trajectory to Tyreke Evans, except for the fact that Evans is having a career renaissance now, while MCW continues to flounder. His stellar Rookie of the Year campaign made him appear to be the superstar the 76ers desperately needed, but he slowly began falling off season after season, eventually being traded to the Milwaukee Bucks. In Milwaukee, he would play as starter and backup at various points, and didn’t contribute much.
Now, he’s just a backup PG to Kemba Walker.
MCW’s NBA career marks an unfortunate turn of events, as he displayed such great potential in his first season. Unless Carter-Williams turns his career around to reach the status he once had, there’s reason to believe that he could be out of the league by 2018 and playing overseas or possibly in the G-League.
11 Pau Gasol
Pau Gasol is by no means having a bad year or performing below expectations, he just happens to be in the retirement home that is San Antonio. Pau is 37 years old, and the Spurs are the future Hall of Famer's last chance at a championship. Although he was an All-Star just three seasons ago, Pau has taken a step back as expected, but he is still contributing to the Spurs. Pau starts alongside LaMarcus Aldridge and provides a valuable skillset for the Spurs, shooting 40%+ from long range while also averaging slightly over 3 assists a game, which are vital skills for today’s centers. Despite this, it is unlikely Pau has much more in the tank to give to the Spurs, and likely aims to win one more championship ring before he leaves the Spurs and calls it quits on his spectacular NBA career.
10 Stanley Johnson
One of the younger players on this list, Stanley Johnson has been a massive disappointment for the Detroit Pistons. Johnson himself claimed that he was the best player in his draft class, but has failed to show any reason why throughout his three seasons in the NBA.
Johnson has spent time in the G-League to develop beyond his bench role with the Pistons, but has not shown much of any development.
He shoots below 30% from 3, and plays 27 minutes a night, yet only averages 7 points and 4 rebounds. As good as Johnson may see himself, he simply isn’t living up to any of the potential he may have had, and it is very likely he will see himself removed from any discussion of becoming a solid NBA player. Expect Johnson to be traded and moved to the G-League or overseas.
9 Manu Ginobili
The oldest player in the NBA, alongside Vince Carter, Manu Ginobili is still somehow churning out solid production in a bench role for the San Antonio Spurs.
Manu has yet to give in to his age, however for the past two to three years, fans have always gone in with the expectation of a Manu retirement during the offseason.
Manu has continued on for the Spurs and aims to win another championship before he retires, where he will surely look to go out on top. Manu, despite his age, is still able to carve out crafty finishes and plays ever once and a while, and even gets dunks too. Ginobili averages nearly 10 ppg while only playing 20 minutes per night, but as he gets older, Manu will look to retire.
8 Brandon Knight
After years and years of humiliating plays, whether it be being crossed in a showcase game, absolutely destroyed by a DeAndre Jordan alley-oop, or missing a wide open game-winning layup, Knight has had quite an interesting career. He currently finds himself in a bench role with the Suns, after being traded there from the 76ers in the three-team trade involving Isaiah Thomas, however, his production was substantially less last season. This season, Knight is out for the entirety of the season with a torn ACL, and in his healthy seasons, only provided some scoring in the games where he decided to be hot. Knight, unfortunately, doesn’t have value as a low efficiency volume shooter of the bench, and will likely be released or traded from the Suns before his contract is up.
7 Richard Jefferson
Even if he didn't achieve the goal of winning a championship with the LeBron James-led Cleveland Cavaliers, Richard Jefferson can look back on a solid NBA career. A 20+ PPG all-around scoring wing in his prime, Jefferson is one of the better players to ever play that never reached All-Star status. After spending his first seven seasons with the New Jersey Nets, Jefferson would become an NBA journeyman, never spending more than two and a half seasons with one team. Jefferson would play for Spurs, Warriors, Jazz, and Mavericks before finding a solid role with the Cavaliers to help them win a championship. Jefferson was recently released by the Cavaliers due to their acquisition of Jae Crowder, and he was picked up by the Denver Nuggets, filling the role as a backup wing.
6 Joe Johnson
A multiple-time All-Star and consistent 20+ PPG scorer in his prime, “Iso Joe” was absolutely beloved by Atlanta Hawks and Phoenix Suns fans during his times with their teams. Nowadays, Johnson spends time as a bench wing for the Jazz, though we should note he was an All-Star just four seasons ago. Johnson has played for a multitude of teams during his career, though, such as the Heat, Celtics, Nets, Hawks, Suns, and Jazz, and was able to contribute at each. Unfortunately, Johnson turns 37 before the end of this season, and it is hard to see much reason for him to stick around as he has injury history and only plays 20 minutes a night with the Jazz. Still, Johnson will always be remembered for his scoring ability and legendary nickname, “Iso Joe.”
5 Derrick Rose
One of the more unfortunate entries in the list, Derrick Rose simply cannot overcome the injuries that he has suffered. An MVP in just his third season, Rose was on track to have a Hall of Fame-worthy career, but after multiple torn ACLs, Rose has not returned to form. Rose spent the 16-17 Season with the Knicks, and while he put up solid numbers, he was nowhere near his MVP level, and he wasn’t even the first or second-best player on the team. Rose is now on the Cavaliers alongside LeBron James and Isaiah Thomas and doesn’t even start.
He spent some time on the injured list and just recently returned as Thomas’ backup.
Rose simply is not the player he once was and doesn’t fit the mold of today’s NBA. He is a high volume slashing point guard, which, unless you are Russell Westbrook, is not the best role for a PG to fulfill.
4 Tony Parker
After a long, successful career, it appears time for Tony Parker to call it quits. Parker’s production has dropped quite noticeably over the past few seasons. Whether it be to injuries, or him just getting up there in age, Tony Parker just isn’t the same player he was years ago. Aside from Kawhi Leonard, the Spurs dynasty is going to come to a close soon, as Gregg Popovich and Manu Ginobili will also likely be gone soon. The Spurs also have a solid, young point guard with DeJounte Murray, and they also have Patty Mills as backup, so Tony Parker’s role with the team is unclear. Parker will most likely call it quits when coach Pop and Manu decide to call if quits, which would effectively end the Big 3 Era of the Spurs.
3 Jason Terry
Following his Championship stint with the Dallas Mavericks, Jason Terry hs become one of the older benchwarming veterans in the league. The Jet has had a nice career, winning a Championship and a Sixth Man of the Year Award.
These days, Terry is a 40-year-old receiving nearly no minutes a night, so it’s hard to find reason for Terry to stick around.
This season he is only averaging 1 PPG and less than a rebound and an assist, so he isn’t contributing to his team, the Milwaukee Bucks, either. Terry is a player who has a good reputation with his peers, and will likely receive gracious support when he decides to retire. Terry isn’t on this list because he is bad, as he can still shoot and handle the ball, however he is simply too old. Terry would make a great fit in the Ice Cube’s 3-on-3 league, though.
2 Vince Carter
Despite being 40-years-old, Vince Carter can still dunk as if he is ready for the Dunk Contest. Carter has expressed that he still wants to win, however he made a questionable decision to go to the Sacramento Kings. Sacramento, unfortunately, are one of the worst teams in the league, and aside from “mentoring” the young guys, Carter doesn’t really have a role with the team. "Vinsanity" has had an absolutely remarkable career, amassing a multitude of All-Star appearances throughout his career, and even earning the title as the G.O.A.T. dunker from some. Carter will be remembered as an absolute legend when he retires, and every fan will show their appreciation for the career he has had.
1 Dirk Nowitzki
The grandfather of the current NBA, Dirk Nowitzki is surely going to to retire after this season. One of today’s G.O.A.T.s, Dirk was a player before his time. When he came to the league, bigs shooting threes was a rarity. Now it is almost a necessity. Dirk will go down in the history books as a player who revolutionized the game. Dirk, if he started his career today, would likely be a multiple-time MVP and championship winner, fitting the mold exactly of what a team wants in a modern day four.
Dirk, unfortunately, is on one of the worst teams in the league and is having one of the worst seasons of his career. It is pretty clear it is time to call it quits.
Dirk will receive love from NBA fans everywhere when he calls it a career.
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