When will the greats like LeBron James, Chris Paul or Carmelo Anthony retire? This list will let you know as we look at the NBA’s best players over 30 years old and predict their retiremntSome teams don’t have a starter that’s over 30 and on some rosters there’s only one or two guys who have been on this earth for at least three decades. There are even teams like the Portland Trail Blazers that don’t have one guy over 30 years of age (the Blazers oldest athlete is 28). The league is packed with guys in their twenties and a good chunk of the guys over 30 are sitting on the bench. But some of the guys over 30 are the main faces in the league and post more talent and production than their younger counterparts.
Some guys will be done by the end of this year, while other will hang up their jersey after two or three more seasons. And there is even a group of guys on this list who will be playing for most of the next decade. Some guys will be forced out of the league due to health issues and others will be unable to compete due to injuries. While others will have just played too long and will be seeking time away from the court. Some of these guys will outlast their welcome, while we will be calling for others to stay in the league longer.
This list includes 30 of the best players in the NBA and each one of these guys is over 30 years old. Playing after the 30-year mark is a great accomplishment, and these guys deserve praise for that. Here, we’ll give you insight of why each player is deserving of their ranking, and we’ll let you know when to expect their retirement.
30 TONY ALLEN: 2019
We begin the list with a guy who doesn’t get the credit he deserves. Fans tend to focus on the guys who score, and being a defensive asset has hurt Tony Allen’s visibility in the NBA. Allen is 35 and has been playing in the NBA since 2004 (he began with the Celtics than moved to Memphis in 2010). Allen is one of the best defenders in the game but has gone largely unnoticed.
Allen’s skill will be more noticeable when his defensive presence is gone. And that looks to be just a couple years down the road as he’s nearing retirement. In just a few seasons, Memphis will be without Allen, who has been an All-Defensive Team selection five times in his career. That included three first teams (2012, 2013 and 2015) and two second teams (2011 and 2016).
29 ANDRE IGUODALA: 2020
Andre Iguodala came into the league the same year as Tony Allen, but he’s a couple years younger and will have a bit longer in the NBA than Allen will post. Last year it was reported that Iguodala felt he would be able to sign a three-year contract at the end of this season. According to Iguodala, that would be the last contract he would sign before retirement. This is a good plan, but it’s unclear if the Warriors will be the team giving him opportunities to play for the next three seasons.
Sure, he’ll find a roster spot somewhere, but it may not be with Golden State. For the past three seasons Iguodala has seen decreased production and decreased playing time. He’s no longer a starter and won’t be in the starting rotation for the remainder of his career. But he’s still got value to a team in need of a veteran presence.
28 JAMEER NELSON: 2018
Although this guy says he has no plans to retire, by the end of next season he’ll be nearly forced out of the league. Jameer Nelson joins the list because of his first 10 seasons in the NBA. During that stretch he was playing for the Magic and was one of the better point guards in the league. He had a bit of an educational first season (though he was still named to the All-Rookie Team), but followed up with nine great seasons, which included an All-Star selection. During that time he averaged about 13 points, five assists and three rebounds per game.
But his stat line has dipped in the years since and he just doesn’t seem to be displaying the skill that he used to be. However, Nelson has proved to still be able to get the offense working as his assists per game has never dipped lower than what everyone has grown to expect.
27 LUOL DENG: 2022
At just 31 years old and no major lingering injuries to worry about, Luol Deng will be a force in the NBA for years to come. Deng, a two-time All-Star selection, will be turning 32 in April and is currently playing for the Lakers (he started with the Bulls then had a very brief stint with the Cavs before playing with the Heat for a short period of time).
Although Deng is currently healthy, he will not be playing for the rest of the season for the Lakers. The team decided to sit Deng and Timofey Mozgov for the final 15 games of the season to give more playing time to the younger players on the roster. Deng is in the first season of a four-year deal, and it seems this rest will only help him in the long run. Even after his contract is up, it’s a safe bet that Deng will still be in the NBA.
26 TYSON CHANDLER: 2019
No matter the night, you can expect Tyson Chandler to post numbers close to a double-double as he’s consistently scoring double-digit point totals and is always getting more than 10 rebounds per game. Chandler has been great for most of his career since he was drafted second overall in 2001. Chandler, a 7-1 center, is 34 now and looks to have a good chunk of time left in the NBA.
But for a guy that big playing for so long it’s tough to expect he can play any more than a couple more seasons in the league. People just aren’t made to be so tall and people shouldn’t be playing such a physical position for so long. He’ll be in the league for a couple more seasons, but that will prove to be more of a struggle than it is worth near the end.
25 ROY HIBBERT: 2018
Roy Hibbert is one of the guys on this list who seems much older than he really is. Hibbert just turned 30 in December, but most people would guess he is a few years older at least. Although Hibbert has struggled more this season getting onto the court, his has rarely missed games throughout his career. Hibbert, though, has never had a season where he’s averaged more than 30 minutes a game.
Hibbert has been selected to two All-Star games, but that was earlier in his career and although he’s not that old, it doesn’t look like he has much time left. Next season will prove to be his last as he will continue struggling finding more action each game. He’ll still be active for most of the contests, but he’ll struggle to get more than 10 minutes of playing time per game.
24 JOAKIM NOAH: 2021
Joakim Noah isn’t that old, but he’s been having trouble maintaining a presence on the court over the past couple of seasons. Last year, Noah played in just 29 games and this season he needed surgery on his left knee, which has sidelined him since early February. Plus, Noah has been averaging barely more than 20 minutes per game in the last two seasons, which is a stark difference compared to his nearly 30 minute per game average for his career.
If Noah can fully recover, he’ll have a lot more time to build on a successful career. And given that the knee surgery seems relatively minor when compared to some of the other procedures athletes have gone through, it’s fair to expect Noah will be stay in the league much longer.
23 JAMAL CRAWFORD: 2019
Jamal Crawford has come off the bench most of the time in the past few years, but that has been similar to most of his career. Crawford was only a consistent starter for a handful of seasons through his long career. But he’s been much better off the bench and his stats prove it. He has been named the Sixth Man of the Year three times. That includes last season when he won the award (he also received the award in 2010 and 2014).
Additionally, Crawford has been consistent in terms of playing time the last couple of years. That’s something you don’t expect to see out of a guy his age. Though he might not be playing as well as last season, or as well as he did early in his career, Crawford is still posting numbers deserving of a continuing NBA career. Expect Crawford, who’s 37th birthday is March 20, to be around for a couple more seasons.
22 VINCE CARTER: 2017
Vince Carter has been in the NBA longer than a lot of fans watching have been alive. Carter is the oldest guy in the league. Carter has played for nearly two decades, and surprisingly, has played in most of the games this season. That’s not bad for a guy who entered the league in 1998. But Carter is far from the days when fans were in awe of his talent. Not only did he used to consistently average well over 20 points a game, he used to be a dominant force in the league. And even better, he made the dunk contest must-see event.
Carter was a visionary when it came to the dunk contest and he made the Toronto Raptors fun to watch. Carter even spent some good years with the Nets, before he began to fade away. Now, he’s averaging just over 20 minutes a game (which is much better than his past couple seasons) and scores about eight points each time he’s on the court. He doesn’t turn the ball over much, but he doesn’t contribute much on the offensive end either. But then again, Carter is putting up better numbers than anyone would expect a guy to at age 40.
21 MANU GINOBILI: 2017
It seems likely that Manu Ginobili will retire after this season, even if he hasn’t come out and said just that yet. He may even make it seem like he wants to continue from time to time, but this will prove to be Manu’s last season in the league. Ginobili, who is in his 15th season in the NBA will be turning 40 in July. It’s weird to think that he entered the league a year before LeBron but is nearly a decade older than James. But that’s because he began playing professionally in Argentine and Italian basketball leagues starting in 1995.
Ginobili has been barely hanging on the past couple of seasons. For the past two seasons, he barely has seen time in the game and has been averaging less than 20 minutes per game. He’s only started 10 games in the last six seasons and his production has severely dropped in the last two years. But he can look back on a good career that has included two All-Star game appearances and four NBA championship runs.
20 MATT BARNES: 2019
Matt Barnes had one of his best seasons last year since he joined the league. His numbers weren’t huge (10 points, five rebounds and two assists in 29 minutes a game). But those numbers were some of the best of his career, though just slightly above his career averages. This season, his production has slightly dropped, but not to a point that a lot of guys his age has seen.
Barnes, though mostly a bench player, still averages about 25 points per game. He’s not a guy that you’ve seen or will see in an All-Star game, but he’s a consistent athlete that deserves to be on the court more than some of the guys on this list, and probably has at least a couple years left in the tank.
19 MARC GASOL: 2022
This center isn’t always appreciated by the fans the way he should be. That’s likely because he’s played in Memphis for his entire NBA career and a good chunk of his talent comes on the defensive end of the court. Sure, defense will help win games but offense is going to get the fans attention. The funny thing is that Marc Gasol was named the Defensive Player of the Year in 2013, yet, he didn’t get selected to the All-Star game. C’mon, really? The league’s best defensive player wasn’t deserving of a spot in one of the most publicized games of the year.
But Gasol has managed three selections to the big game. Plus, he’s only 32. There’s going to be a lot of time for him to add to his stat sheet in the coming years. Although Gasol got a late start in the NBA since his first five seasons as a pro were overseas, he has at least that many seasons left in the NBA.
18 JOE JOHNSON: 2018
Joe Johnson has seen a steep drop in production this past year, but the 35-year-old has another year left in the tank. Johnson has been really good throughout his career. So good that he’s been an All-Star selection seven times (2007-20012 and 2014). But he hasn’t looked like that player in his most recent season with Utah. It’s not that he’s been injured, but he has been tossed to the bench, which hasn’t suited him well. Compared to his career average of 35 minutes per game, he’s now playing barely more than 22 minutes a game.
Johnson’s scoring has decreased, along with his assists. Johnson may still have some left in the tank. However, it’s doubtful we’ll see any of that this season with the Jazz, who gave him a two-year $22 million contract. He has the skill to produce, but he might need to move to a new team to do that.
17 RAJON RONDO: 2021
Although Rajon Rondo has lacked in production this season and hasn’t played like a star since the 2012-13 season in Boston, he’s still one of the better veterans in the league. It’s odd calling a 31-year-old guy a veteran, but in the NBA turning 30 can be a cursed number when you’re going up against a bunch of 20 year olds. Rondo turned 31 about a month ago, and although age isn’t the reason he’s becoming mostly a bench player nowadays, it definitely is a factor in his declining production.
After seeing four-straight (2010-2013) All-Star selections, Rondo has slowly faded to the bench. In Rondo’s case, his retirement won’t be caused by a major injury or old age. Instead it will be out of boredom as he just won’t want to be sidelined anymore. A few years from now, Rondo is on pace to barely see action on the court. That will force him out of the league and he will briefly be in the spotlight before fading away in retirement.
16 ZACH RANDOLPH: 2020
With how this guy is playing (even though he is 35), he’ll play for another few years. Zach Randolph’s production hasn’t dropped as much as some of the guys on the list. He has seen a decline in most statistical categories from a couple years ago and about a 10 minute decrease in playing time from where it was two years ago.
Randolph is still on the court for more than 20 minutes a game, but that’s vastly different from where his career average sits – about 32 minutes a game. Randolph has a pretty good list of accolades to look back on. He was the most improved player in 2004 and has been named an All Star twice (2010, 2013). But as Randolph gets older, it’s highly unlikely he’ll be seeing any more awards. But he should still be a solid presence in the league for a few more seasons
15 KYLE LOWRY: 2025
It’s sometimes tough to remember that Kyle Lowry is over 30. That’s partly because it took Lowry so long to break out as a star in the NBA. Although Lowry was drafted with the 24th pick in 2006, he didn’t start seeing more than 30 minutes a game until his seventh season in the league. Since, he’s been a consistent starter but hadn’t been selected to the All-Star game until the 2014-2015 season. Since, he’s been a selection each year, and this season he’s leading the league with an average of about 38 minutes per game.
Lowry turned 30 last year and is at the top of his game. As one of the younger guys on this list, his career could see drastic shifts before his retirement. At this rate, though, it looks like Lowry will keep improving until retirement. And given his age and skill, that’s going to be a long way away.
14 RUDY GAY: 2019
This guy has a couple seasons left in the league, but there’s a tough road ahead for Rudy Gay. In January, Gay suffered worst injury of his career as a full rupture of his left Achilles is going to force him out of the rest of the season. Gay has averaged about 36 minutes per game through his career and has rarely missed time from the court. But that will severely change going forward. This season, Gay played in just 30 games and averaged the least minutes per game since his rookie season.
Although Gay is only 30, his recent injury will prove to be a tough hurdle to overcome in the next couple of seasons. It will force him to the bench and will severely cut back his playing time. The worst part is that because of the nature of Gay’s position in the NBA, it will be likely that he’ll struggle with similar injuries and have to hang up his jersey after a couple more seasons.
13 LAMARCUS ALDRIDGE: 2017
Up until recently it seemed that there was no reason to worry about a LaMarcus Aldridge retirement. The 6-11 star had been averaging about 35 minutes per game for his career and was selected to five-straight All-Star games before this year. This year, something really scary and completely out of Aldridge’s control happened. He had a minor heart arrhythmia and it was announced that he will miss an unknown amount of time.
Aldridge has had issues with his heart in the past as he was dianosed as a rookie with an abnormality that can cause a rapid heartbeat. Tests will need to be done to determine how the recent heart issue will affect the future in the NBA, but from a speculative standpoint, this can’t be good. Even if everything checks out OK, any person in his shoes would worry about the future and is playing a game enough motivation to risk long-term health? Unfortunately, this is seeming like the last year Aldridge will see time on the court.
12 AL HORFORD: 2026
Here we meet another guy who barely made the list because of his age, but can jump ranks quite easily with the amount of time he has left in the league. Al Horford is just 30 years old, and there’s no telling how much more success he will have in the NBA. Horford has already been selected to four All-Star games and has been an absolute force since he was the third overall pick back in 2007. Horford didn’t make the All-Star game this season, but has maintained a stat line consistent of what we’ve grown to expect and he’s even averaging two more assists per game in his first year with Boston.
Horford has missed huge chunks of time because of injury, and that’s a frightening factor when trying to predict his future. But he’s young and even if there’s another bad injury, he will have the time and ability to recover. Expect him to play through his mid-30s, but he won’t make it much further than that. Also, it will be likely that there will be another season or two during that stretch where he misses most of the year.
11 PAUL MILLSAP: 2023
For how late Paul Millsap was drafted (second round, 47th pick), he has had an unexpected and amazing career. For the past seven seasons, Millsap has started just about every game he has been active and has been posting great production. He was a huge value for the Jazz and continues to be an even better player in Atlanta. Although his production wasn’t much less on the Jazz, Millsap’s first All-Star appearance came during his first season with Atlanta. That began a streak of four-straight All-Star game selections.
Millsap turned 32 in February and looks to have a lot left in the tank. He’s one of the guys who’s retirement is tough to predict because he’ll likely play for a long time in the league, especially because he’s used to playing on the bench, which is where he’ll end up for the final couple years of his career. Expect Millsap to be around for at least five more seasons.
10 DIRK NOWITZKI: 2018
Owner of the Mavs Mark Cuban would probably pay Dirk Nowitzki for the rest of his life to sit courtside on the bench. You can’t really blame him. If you bring one of the richest guys in the world, and one of the biggest sports fans in the world, a championship ring, he’ll forever feel as if he’s indebted to you. But at age 38, it looks like this star may be trending downward. And it’s looking like this will be Nowitzki’s last season.
But for his age, he’s still a force in the league. Last season, he played and started in 75 games and averaged 18 points and seven rebounds. He also averaged more than 30 minutes of play time each game. That was impressive for a guy who was 37. But one year later things have shifted. This year, he’s averaging about 27 minutes of action per game. But that’s still not bad compared to what other guys his age are doing. And if he can fully recover from his Achilles injury, he may be able to turn those numbers around.
9 PAU GASOL: 2018
Here we have another guy who is older than a lot of people realize because his professional career began overseas. Pau Gasol has been in the NBA since he was drafted third overall in 2001. Gasol will be turning 37 in July. Gasol is a two-time NBA champion and has been named to the All-Star team six times throughout his career (he was even selected last year and the year before that proving that he has been able to play despite being one of the older guys in the league).
But this year seems to have put expectations in check. This season has truly shown that Gasol can’t beat old age and that his time is limited in the NBA. For his career, Gasol averages about 35 minutes and 18 points per game. This year, however, Gasol is posting just 12 points and is playing less than 30 minutes per game for the first time in his career. Gasol will manage one more season next year, but that will be his last as he won’t be able to keep up with the demands of the NBA.
8 TONY PARKER: 2019
Tony Parker joins the rankings this high up because of the amount of success he’s had in the NBA. Although a lot of the guys that came previously are currently playing better, Parker will likely have a better record of work when we look back at this list 10 years from now. Parker is a four-time NBA Champion and was the Finals MVP in 2007. He’s been to six All-Star games and has been an All-NBA selection four times (though three of those were second team and one was third team).
Parker will be turning 35 in a couple months and doesn’t seem to have much longer left in the league. For the last four seasons he’s played less than 30 minutes per game and each season his average time on the court is decreasing. Last season Parker began talking about retirement, but in terms of how he plans on staying in the league. Soon that conversation will shift, and it will be geared toward when he plans to exit, which will likely be in another year or two.
7 DWIGHT HOWARD: 2020
It was a good thing that Dwight Howard was drafted straight out of high school with the first overall pick. With how much abuse his body has taken and will continue to take, we can only expect him to stay in the league for a couple more seasons. Unlike the guy who was drafted the year before (Mr. LeBron James), Howard will by hanging his jersey up well before his 40th birthday. Howard turned 31 in December, and is still relatively young for how long he’s been playing.
Howard has played in nearly every game in his career (excepted for the 2014-15 season when he was active for just 41 games. But the beatings that are placed on big men like Howard limit the lengthy careers we would hope to see. Howard will begin missing more time over the next couple of seasons before he eventually is done with the NBA in 2020.
6 DWYANE WADE: 2018
It’s kind of crazy that Dwyane Wade was drafted in the same year as LeBron James. Wade seems like he doesn’t have much time left while James seems to be at the top of his game. Wade is barely more than a couple years older than James but they almost seem like athletes from a different generation. Wade, a three-time NBA champion (two of which were won with James), currently plays with the Bulls but will go down as one of Miami’s greatest players in team history. Wade is a 12-time All-Star selection, a Finals MVP and was the scoring champ in 2009.
But all of this will come to an end by the end of next season. Injuries will slow Wade’s play to a point where he’s almost unrecognizable. He’ll rarely see action in the starting lineup and will struggle when he is on the court.
5 PAULE PIERCE: 2017
This is an easy one. Paul Pierce said earlier in the season that this is going to be his last year and he is going to retire at the end of the season. Pierce, who’s best days came while he was playing for Boston, said he’ll retire as a Celtic after the season concludes. That’s the overwhelmingly right choice. Pierce played for the Celtics for 15 seasons and averaged 21.8 points per game with the team. He ranks second on the team’s all-time scoring list and he was the NBA Finals MVP in 2008.
Pierce is 39 and has been playing in the league since Boston drafted him with the 10th overall selection in 1998. He’s been selected to the All-Star game 10 times (2002-2006 and 2008-2012) and has played for the Nets, Wizards and Clippers since moving on from the Celtics.
4 CHRIS BOSH: 2017
Chris Bosh is a known star but he tends to be underrated for how good he is (well, maybe not entirely underrated since he has been selected to 11 All-Star games). Due to a continuing blood clot issue, Bosh missed this entire season. The two seasons before that he played a total of 97 games, but continued his streak of 11-straight All-Star appearances. When Bosh is on the court, he’s an absolute beast.
But when he failed a physical before the beginning of the season, the Heat had to begin planning for a future without Bosh. He’s been off the court for more than a year now, and although he still wants to play, it’s entirely out of his control. If this issue continues, he’s not going to be allowed back on the court. And since it was reported that the Heat didn’t expect Bosh to ever be healthy enough to return to the court, we can’t expect anything else. He’ll announce his retirement this offseason.
3 CARMELO ANTHONY: 2023
Carmelo Anthony is younger than you’d expect. After playing in the NBA since 2003, it’s hard to believe he’s just 32 years old. Sure, he’ll be 33 in a couple of months, but he’s still playing as well as the 20-year-olds who he goes up against on a nightly basis. This stamina won’t last forever, but for now the 10-time All-Star selection shouldn’t be at all worried about ending his career. Retirement is far from Anthony’s mind, and it should be.
But whether it’s injuries or just not wanting to deal with the criticism anymore, Anthony will bow out of the league following the 2022-2023 season. By that time, Anthony will have a very, very accomplished resume in the NBA. Unfortunately, it seems that Anthony is on track to go down as one of the best players who never won an NBA championship.
2 CHRIS PAUL: 2021
With how often we see Chris Paul off the court because of his endorsement deals with Nike and State Farm, it’s unlikely we’ll forget about him even after he retires from the NBA. Paul has been really fun to watch on the court, though, and it will be a sad sight when he hangs up his jersey. Paul, who will be 32 in a couple months, has been named to the All-Star game nine times and has led the league in steals six times and has been the assists leader four times.
Paul is still getting better, and with the way he controls the game it seems like he’ll be able to maintain his high level of play for a while. There hasn’t been any major injuries that Paul has to worry about and it looks like he’ll be able to play for a while. Once he wins a championship, though, the allure of the game will fade. So Paul’s got a few more years left before he calls it quits.
1 LEBRON JAMES: 2025
No matter the night, LeBron James is the King on the court. No one in the league can match the talent and intelligence that LeBron brings each and every game. James is in his 14th season and averages 27 points, seven assists and seven rebounds per game (and also about two steals and a block each game). James, a three-time champion, controls the court and has been rightly rewarded with four MVP awards. He’s been the face of basketball since his junior year of high school when he was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated.
Since then it’d be tough to have a conversation about the NBA without mentioning LeBron James. It’s tough to think of the game without him. But that day is coming. Unfortunately, LeBron’s retirement is inevitable. But it won’t be until after the 2024-2025 season. That will mean LeBron will play until he’s 40 years old, and since he hasn’t suffered any major injuries he has a great chance to do that. If Jordan played until he was 39, it’s not tough to think LeBron will outlast him in that category, too.
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