The NBA is the toughest league in the world to play in, and also the most rewarding. It is one of the toughest leagues in the world to hang around in for too long as well. It does not matter the level of potential you have. If you do not show up on a nightly basis, you will be sent packing. It does not matter how many rings or MVP trophies you have won. If you can not dominate at the highest level, you will be shown the door. For some younger players that just means a trade to another team, but for older players or those who saw their performance dip, it could mean having to find a whole new career very quickly.
This list will contain some of both. If the player is just not very good at basketball or is just so old, for NBA standards, then we will not see them run up and down the court next season like we have for many years. A few of these players will go down in the hall of fame, but those years are all behind them. They should try and come back like MJ did.
There is no shame in knowing your worth, taking the millions of dollars you made as a player, and moving on to the next part of your life. Some of these players will become coaches and commentators while others should just go and flip burgers somewhere.
15 Dwyane Wade
Dwyane Wade has been in the league since 2003. Coming in with the 5th pick he has more than lived up to his draft day expectations. He awards speak for themselves as far as showing what kind of player he was. Dwyane was a 3x NBA champ, finals MVP, 12x All-Star, 8x All-NBA, and 3x All-Defensive team. This 36-year-old has nothing left to prove or show. You will be in the Hall of Fame. In this last season, he came off the bench for all but 3 games. Averaging 11.4 points, 3.8 rebounds, 3.4 assists, and 0.9 steals. All of those are career lows for him. If none of that shows you how much he needs to retire then let me remind you that the Cleveland Cavaliers traded him to the heat for a second round pick which got shipped to the Grizzlies.
It is time to settle in that mansion in Miami, keep making your new renovation show with your wife Gabrielle Union, and spend some much needed time with your sons who have sacrificed so much in order for you to chase that dream. You have given basketball everything we could have ever wanted and so much more. One of the greatest lockdown shooting guards of all-time.
14 Derrick Rose
The one-time MVP is what of the NBA's greatest, "What if" questions. He was on track to enter to the conversation of greatest ever. The youngest MVP in NBA history. During that season he was able to average 25.0 points, 4.1 rebounds, 7.7 assists and 1.0 steals. All this while playing 81 games and playing 37.4 minutes a game. Really just awesome numbers and stealing the MVP from LeBron when he had just won two and won two more following D-Rose. All that to this season where in Cleveland and Minnesota where he played 25 games during the regular season he was only able to average 8.4 points, 1.4 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 0.3 steals. Just 7 years after he won the MVP he should be done playing.
All that comes with multiple times where he just walked away from a team while on contract with them.
In the '16-'17 season while he was with the Knicks he just did not show up for a game and was AWOL for at least 48 hours without contacting anyone. While in Cleveland this season he walked away from the team for 2 weeks before coming back to play. Then after the Cavs traded him to the Jazz and he got cut, it took him well over a month before signing with the T-Wolves. I believe he is done in the NBA and that is very sad to say.
13 Joe Johnson
You better watch out for iso Joe when the shot clock is running down and he needs to score a bucket. Joe Johnson currently plays for the Houston Rockets where he might have a shot at winning the first title of his career. Win or lose, you should hang it up when all is said and done. This season Joe has averaged 6.8 points, 3.1 rebounds, and 0.7 three-pointers made. All of those numbers are way under his career average. He is more of a veteran in the locker room than a player on the court at this time in his career, which is not to say he did not have a fantastic career. Joe was a 7x All-Star and was selected to one All-NBA team.
Have come into the league in 2001 he has played 17 seasons in the league. The game is just moving too fast for this 36-year-old man to keep up with. Maybe it is time for Big Shot Joe to pack it up and enjoy life after the game. After crossing so many people in his career to get to the big shot to tie or win a game, the miracle shots that always seemed to fall when you put the ball in his hand have come to an end.
12 Anthony Bennett
Yes, he is still in the league. Anthony Bennett will go down in history as one of the worst 1st overall picks in NBA history. Having gone before players who have made a real impact in the league like Victor Oladipo, C.J. McCollum, Steven Adams, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Rudy Gobert. Along with countless other players who made a significant impact on their team. In his years in the league, he has averaged 4.4 points, 31. rebounds, 0.2 blocks while shooting 39.2% from the field. This first overall draft has played in 151 games while only managing to start in 4 of them.
Bennett became the second player to be picked 1st overall and be sent to the developmental league, known today as the G-League. He did not really flourish well while he played with the Raptors 905, which is what ultimately lead him to be cut by the Toronto Raptors. He spent most of this season with the Main Red Claws where he did average 14.3 points, but he still will not make it back to the NBA next season. Maybe Bennett should look to play in China were fellow NBA flame-outs in Jimmer Fredette and Stephon Marbury was able to flourish.
11 Jason Terry
Jason Terry is the backup point guard for the Bucks and got serious play time this post-season which just shows how little depth the Milwaukee Bucks actually played with. During his career, Jason Terry was able to average 13.4 points, 3.8 assists, and 1.6 three-pointers made. Just really consistent numbers throughout his career. He won his one and only championship with the Dallas Mavericks in 2011 and played a pretty big role in beating the newly formed Big 3 of Miami. This 40-year-old has played just about everything he could in the game.
Being one of only a few players left who were drafted in the '90s, it is time for Jason Terry to just head into retirement.
Terry has averaged 3.7 points over the last 2 seasons and just is not the player he once was. He has fallen off a lot since '09 where he won his Sixth Man of the Year award. It is time for him to put his love of the game aside and just accept that he can not hang in the current state of the league at all. It is said that Father Time is undefeated and it is about time he took his latest victim in Jason Terry.
10 Nick Collison
Nick Collison is the most loyal and under the radar, player to play in the NBA. He has been with the same franchise since 2003 when he was drafted 12th overall to the then Seattle SuperSonics, which is now the Oklahoma City Thunder. Having never won an individual award or an NBA Championship it is a curious thing why he is still in the league. Having never been a consistent starter but always being available to play. This past year he played in only 15 games, which is only a 5 game drop off from the year before. On his career, he has averaged 5.9 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 0.5 blocks. In no way are these Hall of Fame numbers or anything even close to that but, he has been a constant in the locker room for the Thunder.
It will be a tough loss for the teammates of the thunder to lose Nick but he has done enough for the city and team. He played when absolutely needed and it really showed how much he meant to Russell Westbrook and the rest of them when the crowd gave him a standing ovation as Westbrook addressed the crowd during the final game and gave a special shoutout to Collison.
9 Udonis Haslem
Yes, he is still in the league. Can you guess what team he is on? It is the Miami Heat. Where he has been since 2003. This undrafted rookie has done more than enough over the years. Haslem is a 3x champion with the Heat. He played a much bigger role in the first one that he did the second two but still played quite the role for them. Just like Nick Collison, his numbers have never been anything to marvel at, averaging 7.7 points and 6.8 rebounds. It shows that he is there more for a locker room presence than anything else. Even still this year was a terrible one for him where in 14 games he was only able to amass 0.6 points and 0.7 rebounds.
Haslem has played along some of the greatest to ever do it and supported them along the way. He played with Gary Payton, Shaq, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Lebron James and so many more NBA and Miami greats. It is time for him to stop putting the uniform on and switch to being an assistant coach which is what he has basically been for the last 3 years. There is no shame in ending the game and changing to being a coach.
8 James Michael McAdoo
Someone actually signed him this year, surprisingly. This 2x NBA champ has spent more time in the G-League than he has in the NBA during his career. He actually has earned some individual awards in the G-League and was part of the '15 championship team as well. Coming in undrafted in 2014 the Santa Cruz Warriors signed him and the next year the Golden State Warriors gave him the call-up. While in the NBA he has averaged 3.0 points, 1.7 rebounds, and 0.4 blocks. He has been on two NBA teams and three G-League teams. His time in the NBA should be done and over with.
He is not the son of the Hall of Famer Bob McAdoo as so often get confused with, but they are related in some way and he refers to him as an uncle. Regardless the talent has not trickled all the way over to him. He should just accept his fate and move on with life. Maybe try and continue playing in the G-League or pull a Big Baller Brand move and go to Lithuania. There are other options he could pick up and play but the NBA will not be calling his number again this offseason.
7 Michael Carter-Williams
He won Rookie of the Year in 2014. This ends the list of accomplishments he has earned as an NBA player. But he also came into the NBA in one of the worst draft classes ever. Sure some of those players are great in the league now, but they were not their rookie years. I remember that year he won it was similar to this season where you can make an argument for 5-7 different people winning the award. The major difference is this year the players are actually good! During his Rookie of the Year campaign, he was able to average 16.7 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 6.3 assists. Those numbers are not bad at all. Unfortunately, while most players get better as their time in the NBA continues, he got worse. His numbers this year in Charlotte were 4.6 points, 2.7 rebounds, and 2.2 assists.
There are two different things you need to be able to succeed in the NBA. You need to have a ton of skill or a ton of will. Rarely do players have both of them. MCW doesn't have either one of them. He should just hang it up while he still can on his terms because the last thing you want is to have to retire from the league just rejecting you.
6 Dirk Nowitzki
This old man has done it all. He is an NBA Champion, Finals MVP, regular season MVP, 13x All-Star, 12x All-NBA, and a member of the elusive 50-40-90 club. After getting drafted 9th overall in 1998, he is one of the greatest foreign players of all time and will be a first-ballot ballot Hall of Famer without a doubt. But it is about time he hung it up. The 39-year-old cannot do anything more in the league. In his career, he was able to average 21.2 points, 7.7 rebounds, and 2.5 assists. All while averaging 47.2% from the field, 38.3% from three-point range, and 87.9% from the free-point line. He has always been a shooter and always will be a shooter.
Unfortunately, his numbers have slouched a lot from his career average, only being able to get 12.0 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 1.6 assists.
His shooting numbers are about the same, the only thing has gone down the most are his shot attempts. This future Hall of Famer used to be a stable in the post-season. But he has not been able to get past the first round since 2011 when he won his very first title. Dirk should definitely retire.
5 Richard Jefferson
Richard Jefferson is currently on the Denver Nuggets. That makes his eighth team in his career. He has been on 5 different teams since 2012 as well. That isn't to say that in his 17-year career he has not brought it every chance he could. At his best, he was averaging 22.2 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 4.0 assists all while shooting 42.2% from the field, 33.7% from three-point range, and 84.4% from the free-throw line. All of those are quite a drop off considering this year he was only able to average 1.5 points, 0.9 rebounds, and 0.8 assists and shot 44.4% from the field, 28.6% from three-point range, and 57.1% from the line. He also only appeared in 20 games this season, most of them being DNP-CD (did not play - coach's decision).
He is now mostly known for his podcast, "Road Tripping." That is where Kyrie Irving revealed that he believes the world is flat. Besides that, it definitely has some good content on it and shows just what kind of tv personality Richard could be. Maybe at this point in his life, it would be best if Jefferson joined a commentary team, or went to ESPN. But his playing days are well behind him.
4 Vince Carter
Vinsanity. Air Canada. Half-Man, Half-Amazing. He is the ultimate highlight reel. Since being drafted 5th overall in 1998, he has wowed everyone with his athleticism and his vertical ability. He is an 8x All-Star and 2x All-NBA. While never winning a ring he is the consensus best player in Raptors history. At the height of Vinsanity, he was able to average 27.6 points, 5.5 rebound, 3.9 assists, and 1.5 steals. He also shot the ball very well with averages of 46.0% from the field and 40.8% from three. That is a long way from what he was able to add in Sacramento this year. After playing in 58 games he was only able to get 5.4 points, 2.6 rebounds, 1.2 assists, and 0.7 steals. Quite the large fallout.
Vince Carter will go down in history as one of the best to do it without ever winning a ring. He never even had a Finals appearance. He did impress with his dunking ability and still has somewhat of a shot. He can be a veteran in any locker room and change their culture to being a better one. Air Canda is 41 years old and should look to end his career on his terms. Maybe sign a one day deal with the Raptors and retire as a Raptor.
3 Joakim Noah
Joakim Noah has the ugliest free-throw shot in the game today. This has nothing to do with why he should retire but I feel as though it has to be said. He has not always been bad, he is a 2x All-Star, has one All-NBA selection, and won the Defensive Player of the Year award. In 2014 he finished 4th in the MVP voting. During that season he averaged with 12.6 points, 11.3 rebounds, 5.4 assists, 1.2 steals, and 1.5 blocks. Pretty good numbers but he has fallen off big time since that. This season he averaged 1.7 points, 2.0 rebounds, 0.6 assists, 0.3 steals, and 0.3 blocks. He did that in 7 games and playing 5.7 minutes. Even by his standards, he has fallen way off.
The highlight of his season this year came about a month before the trade deadline. He got in a heated exchange with the staff and management of the New York Knicks and was asked to step away from the team while they looked for a trade destination for him. No one wanted to trade for him because he has a terrible contract and he doesn't even come close to matching the value that he is being paid.
2 Zaza Pachulia
This is more of a plea to the league. Stop signing this player to your teams. He has been involved in so many questionable acts that it is unquestionable or just plain out dirty. Flaring his limbs so he "accidentally" hits a player in the head or mouth, under-stepping Kawhi which put him out for the series and effectively the next season, using his body to land on star players ankles, and the list goes on. Not to mention his numbers do not reflect a player who has been in the league since 2003. His numbers are 6.9 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 0.4 blocks on his career. He does not have a post-game or an outside game. His skill does not in anyway match the years that he has played.
Zaza is not worth the headaches that he will bring to any franchise.
He is an NBA champion but that is completely attributed to Kevin Durant and Steph Curry. Zaza is just a body on the floor in those games. Last year in the playoffs he was only able to capture 5.2 points a game and 4.7 rebounds. A 6'11" center who weight 270 pounds should be able to accidentally get more than rebounds than 4 a game.
1 Carmelo Anthony
The biggest debate of Carmelo is if he will make it to the Hall of Fame and he might be trying to stay in the league long enough to silence the doubters. I think he has done more than enough. He is a 10x All-Star and a 6x All-NBA selection. He also won the scoring title in 2013. He was the 3rd pick in the 2003 Draft, which is considered to be one of the greatest drafts in NBA history. During his career, he was able to average totals of 24.1 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 3.0 assists. He also shot 44.9% from the field, 34.7% from three, and 81.2% from the line while hitting 1.3 three's a game. This year, the man known for his scoring, was not at his usual clip. This year he averaged 16.2 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 1.3 assists. His shooting percentages were down across the board as well. His first season playing for the Thunder ended in a 6-game series loss to the Jazz.
He does have a player option for next season but just like D-Wade, I think it is time for Melo to hang it up and enjoy retirement. He has done enough for the game of basketball and might be the best player to ever play on the Olympic team as he will go down as the all-time leading scorer for the USA team.