It seems that the NBA is at a crossroads right now. With the NBA Draft wrapping up, yet another crop of potential superstars is entering the league, which means that there are only so many spots that will be open for veterans this offseason. Basketball is certainly a young man’s game as the league continues to push their young stars to help the league expand in popularity around the globe.
With all of the new talent that has not only entered the league, but will be coming in via draft, who does that put on the chopping block for NBA rosters? There are a lot of aging players that were either once superstars or at least solid contributors, but also players that haven’t lived up to expectations that probably won’t be on an NBA roster for the 2018-19 season.
Today, we focus on the latter category and which players you can expect to either retire or head across the pond in hopes of continuing their basketball careers. Some might even be at your local arena playing in the G-League. Wherever they land, it’s probably not going to be in the NBA. Here are 20 players who won’t be coming back to the league for the 2018-19 season.
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20 Nick Collison
We’ll start off with an obvious player who announced that he’d be retiring before NBA free agency started. The first is Nick Collison, the former Kansas Jayhawk who announced in March that he would be hanging up his sneakers after spending his entire career with the SuperSonics/Thunder franchise.
Collison would struggle and have limited time over the past two seasons, but at his best he was a solid role player. Collison had his best season in 2007-08 when he put up 9.8 points, 9.4 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game, and he’ll remain a fan favorite who will likely have his jersey retired.
19 Anthony Bennett
From one player that had a lengthy career with one team to a player that spent just one season with the team that drafted him first overall, Anthony Bennett is one of the greatest busts in NBA history. Bennett played his first four seasons with four different teams, averaging just 4.4 points and 3.8 rebounds per game, but spent most of last season overseas.
Bennett was signed by the Phoenix Suns prior to the season, but was waived before getting any playing time.
He’s still lingering around in the G-League, and it doesn’t appear that he’ll be back on an NBA roster in 2018-19. In fact, it’s more likely that he’ll head back overseas to try and revive his young career.
18 David West
David West is one of the few aging NBA players that's actually been willing to admit that he's contemplating retirement. After winning titles with the Warriors, West doesn't have much to play for and it looks the team will be parting ways with him and his contract.
When he was asked after winning the title and becoming a free agent what his future was, he said he was thinking about it. He also used the words "if I keep playing" which seemed to be an indicator that he's heading for retirement. That is unless, he wants another championship in Golden State.
17 Udonis Haslem
It’s hard to play your entire career in the NBA with one team, especially when you’ve been playing for 15 seasons. That’s what Udonis Haslem has done with the Miami Heat, but after the past few seasons, fans can see the writing on the wall. In 2017-18, Haslem played in just 14 games, putting up 0.6 points per game.
Haslem hasn’t been given an official statement on whether or not he wants to retire, but it feels he’s leaning that way. Interestingly enough, when asked if he would be retiring this offseason, Haslem jokingly said that he wants to play with the Miami Dolphins and retire in the NFL instead.
16 Brandon Rush
Brandon Rush isn’t one of the older players on our list, but it appears that there isn’t going to be a market for him in the offseason. Rush last played in an NBA game for the Timberwolves in the 2016-17 season, where he averaged just 4.2 points per game. Before that, Rush had spent time with the Warriors, Pacers and Jazz.
Rush was technically on an NBA roster during the middle portion of the 2017-18 season when he signed with the Trail Blazers, although it was only on a 10-day contract. He didn’t see the court while he was on the team, and wasn’t signed by anyone afterwards. It’s unlikely he’ll even get a 10-day deal next season.
15 Pau Gasol
Back in April, not only did Pau Gasol say that he wouldn’t be retiring, but exclaimed that he wanted to play three or four more seasons in the league. For $32 million over the next two seasons, though, the Spurs might not want to keep a 38 year old around that averages 10 points and eight rebounds per game. For that price, you can get the same production elsewhere.
Since saying that he wants to continue playing, there have been more and more rumors that Gasol is more likely to be headed toward retirement.
Though he’s still somewhat valuable as a player, his age and contract make him less than desirable for the Spurs as they look to overhaul.
14 Richard Jefferson
Richard Jefferson has been eight different NBA teams since coming into the league in 2001, including a two-year run where he was looking to bring veteran leadership to the Cavaliers as they pursued a title. In 2017-18, Jefferson would join the Nuggets where he played in 20 games, and averaged just 1.5 points and 0.9 rebounds.
Jefferson flirted with retirement before signing with the Nuggets, and it seems much more likely that he’s heading that way after an abysmal season. Jefferson also retired once for just three days the offseason prior, but this one is probably going to stick.
13 Vince Carter
Vince Carter has already said that he’s going to be returning to the NBA for yet another season after making his debut back in 1998 with the Toronto Raptors. Last season, Carter played with the Kings on a one-year deal with $8 million, which is something he’s likely not going to be getting for next season.
Carter did play in 58 games for the Kings last season, but on a team that struggled, he put up just 5.4 points and 2.6 rebounds per game while seeing significant time. While there could be a team that’s looking for veteran leadership, signing someone that will be 42 years old and not give you much production at all probably isn’t worth millions. If he wants to continue his career, it will likely be overseas.
12 Jameer Nelson
Jameer Nelson was already one of those unlikely NBA stories coming out of St. Joe’s, and has continued to surprise throughout his career. Unfortunately, it looks like that career is going to come to an end. Nelson, who finished the season with the Pistons, is now 36 years old and averaging fewer than five points and four assists per game in his most recent season.
During 2017-18, Nelson was one of the many players who said he doesn’t have plans to retire, but the league might make the decision for him.
Rumors already popped up last offseason that he might call it quits, and those rumors are only going to be stronger now that he’s coming off of his worst season as a pro.
11 Chris Bosh
This entry's slightly different from the others in the sense that Chris Bosh has already somewhat left the NBA, as he was forced to step away due to blood clot issues. Bosh has recently expressed some interest in returning to the game, perhaps to join his buddy LeBron James in Los Angeles.
Bosh recently sold his Miami mansion which will further fuel rumors of an NBA return, but the fact is, Bosh has to be medically cleared to return to the NBA, and at this rate, it's unlikely Bosh could get into game shape for this season. Perhaps Bosh can take the next year to ensure he's healthy enough to play, but fans shouldn't count on a Bosh return this year.
10 Jose Calderon
Since ending his time with the Toronto Raptors during the 2012-13 season, Calderon has been a journeyman that’s played for six different non-Toronto teams. In 2017-18, he attempted to win a championship with Cleveland, but contributed just 4.5 points, 1.5 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game as the Cavaliers came up short in the Finals.
Calderon has already retired from the Spanish National Team, and it looks like the NBA might be next. Calderon is a free agent right now, and has not yet said that he has plans to retire, but nearing 37 years old and declining in ability, it certainly looks he’s heading that way.
9 Dwyane Wade
Some people were excited to see LeBron James and Dwyane Wade reunite once again, with the 2017-18 season coming in Cleveland. Before the season could come to an end, though, Wade had joined the Miami Heat where he spent his first 13 seasons. It seemed like it was more of a send-off than anything else as he had his worst season by far as a pro.
Wade got to play in his hometown, reunited with his best friend and had a swan song in Miami, so it only makes sense if he calls it a career.
He denied rumors in April that he’s made a decision, but has already admitted that he’s mulling it over. And he remains unsigned into the summer.
8 Kyle Korver
Kyle Korver is one of those players that’s stuck around the league for a very long time as a specialist that can hit three-pointers. However, Korver had his second worst season in three-point percentage since 2011-12 this past season with the Cavaliers, and completely fell apart during the 2018 NBA Finals.
Korver could still contribute as a shooter at 37 years old, but his playoff run showed that his legs are getting a bit tired from spotting up for three after all of these years. While he’s one of the least likely on the list to actually announce a retirement, don’t be surprised if he goes out with a conference championship.
7 Manu Ginobili
Manu Ginobili has been a mainstay of the San Antonio Spurs since back in 2002, reaching a pair of All Star Games and winning four NBA titles with the team. However, his role has been reduced significantly over the years, playing in 20 minutes or fewer per game over the past three years.
Ginobili will be 41 years old entering the 2018-19 season, and his agent isn’t quite sure if Ginobili even wants to come back. Remember, last summer he waited until deep into free agency before deciding to come back, so it seems like he was already leaning toward retirement before.
6 Joakim Noah
There was once a time when Joakim Noah was an All Star with the Chicago Bulls, where he spent nine season, but those days are long gone. Since coming to the Knicks in 2016, Noah has struggled mightily and injuries caused him to play just seven games with 1.7 points and 2.0 rebounds per game.
Noah is signed through the 2019-20 season currently, in what’s probably the worst current contract in the NBA.
There have been hints that Noah will be gone from the team, and that kind of production and headache just isn’t worth the money. Look for Noah to float around the free agency list for a long, long time.
5 Luol Deng
Another player that used to be effective for the Chicago Bulls many years ago is now an embattled star that’s making bank like Noah. Luol Deng has spent his past two seasons with the Lakers, but in the most recent season he would play just one game with two points, a rebound and an assist.
A change in management was a big reason that Deng became used less and less to the point where the team no longer wants anything to do with him. No team wants to trade for him despite the Lakers being desperate to get rid of him, so it looks like they’ll have to swallow a massive buyout.
4 Jason Terry
Jason Terry has played for six teams over his career that started last millennium, and has played his two most recent seasons with the Milwaukee Bucks in a vastly reduced role since his Dallas days. Terry didn’t contribute much, either, with just 3.3 points per game. Now entering his age 41 season, It’s likely the end of the line.
Terry has stated that he wants to play because it would be his 20th season in the league and that was his goal, but he has to have an NBA team willing to sign him. Expect to see him on an offseason roster, but not be playing when the new season rolls around, coming up just short of the 20 season goal.
3 James Michael McAdoo
It was surprising enough that James Michael McAdoo got a job in the NBA this past season, but after failing to make an impact, it's likely he's heading back to the G-League. McAdoo has averaged 3.0 points, 1.7 rebounds and 0.4 blocks in the NBA so far. This past season in Philly, McAdoo averaged 2.7 points a game, 0.7 rebounds and 0.3 blocks. McAdoo actually managed to snag two NBA championships by virtue of being drafted by the Warriors back in 2014. It's pretty clear he doesn't have a future in the NBA, so he should probably just cut his losses and try to become a bigger star in Europe.
2 Zaza Pachulia
It’s been a good run for Zaza Pachulia, who spent his two most recent seasons winning an NBA title with the Golden State Warriors. However, the team has all but said that Pachulia won’t be coming back as the team looks to slash salary, especially as Pachulia averaged just 14 minutes per game with a $3.4 million salary and only played in seven playoff games.
Early indication is that Pachulia is likely heading to retirement rather than looking for a new team at 34 years old. He’s already retired from the Georgian National Team, and finding a new team just to sit on the bench at his age doesn’t seem all too appealing, even if it is good money.
1 Damien Wilkins
Damien Wilkins was one of the feel-good stories of the NBA during the 2017-18 season when he played for Indiana, his first team in the league since 2013 when he played for the 76ers. Wilkins had been playing overseas and in the G-League, but played just 19 games for the Pacers before being sent back down.
Wilkins is now approaching 39 years old and didn’t make a big impact in Indiana, and it looks like he’ll be sticking around in the G-League for the new season. If he wants more exposure, a return to overseas basketball wouldn’t be out of the question.
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