6 NBA Veterans Who Could Be Out of the League Next Year
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The 2012-13 NBA season has nearly come to a close, which means so have the careers of a number of veteran players. Jason Kidd and Grant Hill have already retired, and the question has become: Who will be next?
The offseason is a time to focus on players entering the league and changing teams, but each year, we’re forced to say our farewells to those who will exit stage left. There’s no telling who will bow out of the league for sure, but it’s not difficult to pinpoint the top candidates.
The league’s oldest active players are Juwan Howard, Steve Nash and Marcus Camby. Here’s a spoiler alert: Two of those players make this list.
But while a handful of prominent careers will be coming to an end, we can’t forget about what each player contributed during his best days. Not every career ends with a player on top, but it’s safe to say that the players on this list will exit the league satisfied with what they’ve accomplished.
Juwan Howard was selected fifth overall in the 1994 draft. He began his career with the Washington Bullets, and he has played for eight teams throughout his 19-year career.
At 40 years old, Howard is the NBA’s oldest active player. His role has diminished down to an end-of-the-bench leader, but he’s a veteran who fans and players can rally around.
The big man hasn’t had a big impact on the stat sheet in quite some time, but the truth is that he was once a solid presence down on the block. Today’s younger fans won’t remember him for that, but that doesn’t change the fact that he averaged 22.1 points and 8.1 rebounds—both career highs—in just his second season.
Now Howard is trying to win a second championship with the Miami Heat. He’s played in just 35 games over the past two seasons, but a couple of finals appearances will make retirement much easier to accept when the day finally comes.
Like Juwan Howard, Jerry Stackhouse is likely to be overlooked by today’s younger fans. He’s a 38-year-old veteran who played in just 37 contests for the Brooklyn Nets, but his playing days were at their best between the mid-90s and early-2000s.
In his rookie season, Stackhouse averaged 19.2 points for the Philadelphia 76ers. He was traded to the Detroit Pistons during the 1997-98 season, where he established himself as an eventual No. 1 option.
He averaged 29.8 points, 5.1 assists and 3.9 rebounds during the 2000-01 campaign.
Stackhouse is the fifth-oldest player in the Association, and according to Chris Tommason of Fox Sports Florida, he’s likely to retire and pursue a larger role within the NBA Players Association.
The New York Knicks have already seen Jason Kidd and Rasheed Wallace retire. During 2012-13, they were the oldest team in NBA history (according to Chris Herring of The Wall Street Journal), and their theme of players bowing out of the league could continue with Marcus Camby.
Camby spent his 16th season with the Knicks, playing in just 24 games. He started four contests along the way, averaging 1.8 points, 3.3 rebounds and .6 blocks—all career lows.
The center still has the timing and basketball IQ to be a shot-blocking presence, but his game has quickly declined over the past few years.
Although Camby was drafted by the Toronto Raptors, he spent four of his first six years with the Knicks. Playing in the Big Apple is like going home for the big man, and there’s no better place to end your career than where it essentially started.
This one appears to be a long shot, but it’s worth noting nonetheless.
Manu Ginobili, an integral part of a championship-caliber rotation, admitted to NBATV’s Rachel Nichols (via Sports Illustrated’s Marc Weinreich) that he will at least think about retirement in the offseason. The guard is set to be an unrestricted free agent.
Ginobili is coming off one of the worst seasons of his career from a numbers standpoint. He averaged 11.8 points on 42.5 percent shooting, and he played in just 60 games throughout the course of the year.
Injuries have been a problem as Ginobili’s career has progressed, and his role has taken a hit as a result.
If Ginobili is back with the San Antonio Spurs in 2014, nobody should be surprised. He can still make plays, and he still knows the system that has found so much success throughout the years.
That said, his time in the league is coming to an end, and a trip to the finals just might be the going-away party he’s been waiting for.
Antawn Jamison’s 2012-13 campaign was full of injuries and disappointing play. His role was never truly defined for the Los Angeles Lakers, but then again, that was a fitting theme for the entire organization.
Going out on a sour note is never ideal, but it’s possible that Jamison does just that during the offseason.
It’s certainly possible that Jamison continues his efforts as a ring-chaser in 2014. When healthy, he can still help spread the floor, which has become a crucial element of most of today’s offenses.
But if recovering from injury becomes too much, or if he takes too much pride in wanting a lucrative deal, he could find himself on the outside looking in for the 2013-14 season.
The career of Tracy McGrady has been a perplexing one. He’s one of the most gifted individual talents of his time, yet he found little team success to back up that notion.
Now, in his 16th season, the 34-year-old has finally reached the finals in what could be the final display of his NBA career.
According to Marc Spears of Yahoo! Sports, retirement is a very real possibility once the year comes to a close. McGrady has been hit by injuries throughout much of his career, and while he appears to be healthy now, his prime has been in the rear-view mirror for quite some time.
McGrady’s current run in the finals isn’t how he imagined it would be. He's a role player at best, who is riding the pine as his teammates do the heavy lifting.
That said, McGrady had never seen the second round before 2012-13, so if there's a positive note to go out on, this might just be it.