Through the 2011-12 NBA season, only 17 players in NBA history have played past the age of 40. Recent NBA free-agent signings have ensured that this number will see a big spike.
Jason Kidd (Knicks), Steve Nash (Lakers) and Marcus Camby (Knicks) will be over 40 when their new multi-year contracts expire.
Tim Duncan (Spurs) and Kevin Garnett (Celtics) will be near 39 years old when their recently agreed upon deals come to a close.
These players' productivity will probably decline to some extent. However, as past NBA stars have proven, they can still make extremely high-quality contributions to their teams even at very late stages in their careers.
Future NBA Hall of Famer Karl Malone had one of the best NBA physiques ever. At 39 years old, Malone only had 2.6% body fat to his 6'9", 260lb frame.
As a result of Malone's physical fitness regimen, he performed at an extremely high level late in his NBA career. Even after 18 seasons, Malone was still averaging 20 points and close to 10 rebounds per game.
Both Kevin Garnett and Marcus Camby have been known for their supreme physical fitness and work ethic. Both players should remain highly productive late in their careers.
In the 2002-03 season, John Stockton was just the 10th player in NBA history to play at the age of 40.
Known for his extremely high basketball IQ and tenacious defense, Stockton didn't disappoint the Utah Jazz. In 27.7 minutes of play per game, Stockton averaged 10.8 points, 7.7 assists, and 1.7 steals.
Like Stockton, Jason Kidd is one of the most intelligent players of his generation. Flanked by high-scoring Knicks forwards Amar'e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony, the 39-year-old Kidd's production should also be solid next year.
In limited minutes, aging NBA centers can provide extremely high levels of defensive play. In his final season with the Toronto Raptors, the then 39-year-old Olajuwon played 22 minutes a game. He averaged six rebounds and 1.5 blocked shots.
These numbers may look small, but they are actually highly productive given limited minutes. Expect the same from 38-year-old center Marcus Camby next season.
Reggie Miller was one of the best players in NBA history at moving without the ball and picking his spots. Those skills—based more in intelligence than in athleticism—were put to great use by Miller, even in the last year of his career.
At 39 years old, Miller averaged 15 points per game on a respectable 43 percent shooting.
Steve Nash's ability to create shooting space has developed throughout his mid-thirties. Last year, the then 37-year-old Nash shot an outstanding 53 percent from the floor.
Expect yet another terrific shooting percentage next season from the wily Los Angeles Lakers point guard.
At 38 years old, Chicago Bulls legend Michael Jordan decided to come out of retirement in 2001 to play for the Washington Wizards. At the time, Jordan was a part-owner and president of basketball operations of the Wizards.
Having gained weight since he last played for the Bulls in 1998, Jordan moved from shooting guard to small forward during the 2001-02 season.
Playing a new position at an advanced age, Jordan averaged 23 points, five assists, and six rebounds per game. What Jordan had lost in athleticism he made up for with outstanding footwork, timing and court vision.
While Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett may not reach Jordan's gaudy numbers in the last year of their contracts in 2014-15, both are among the most versatile players of their generation.
Like Jordan did, they will excel during the twilight of their careers.