With the NBA season a month away from tipping off, teams are putting the finishing touches on their rosters. And these two experienced players are fighting fervently to become a part of those plans.
Josh Howard and Jason Collins—both of whom have more than a decade of NBA service under their belts—are still searching for a team, with the hopes of snatching a title during the twilight of their careers.
They both appear washed up at this juncture, but they could fill out a roster for a team looking to add some tenacity and veteran savvy to the bench. Will that merit either of them a contract?
Here are the latest updates on each player's quest to stay relevant in the pros for one more season.
Josh Howard Looks for a Landing Spot After Texas Tryout
Howard played with the Dallas Mavericks for seven seasons during the prime of his career, but he didn't stick around long enough to see them finally win a championship.
The 33-year-old is now looking to return to Texas with one of the state's other squads. Yahoo! Sports' Marc J. Spears reported that Howard worked out with the San Antonio Spurs and Houston Rockets.
Free agent Josh Howard had good work outs for SA & HOU after return from knee surgery, but still seeking training camp invite, source says.— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) September 28, 2013
Howard, who scored 19.9 points per game in the 2007-08 season, is a shell of himself after age and injuries took a toll on his body. He averaged 6.7 points per game in 11 games last season for the Minnesota Timberwolves—his third new team in as many years.
Before that Howard accrued field-goal percentages below .400 in two-straight campaigns.
Howard hasn't had a healthy season in five years. And undergoing ACL surgery in the offseason won't help buck that trend; He'll really need to dazzle teams to earn a contract.
For all the warning flags, Howard brings tough defense and scoring to the table when he's healthy. If he can prove he is, he could land a minimum contract somewhere.
Jason Collins Waits for Call
After playing for four different teams in seven seasons, Collins is looking for his next landing spot. According to ESPN's Marc Stein, the center doesn't expect to ink a new deal before the season begins.
List headliner, of course, is Jason Collins. I'm told he's working out a ton to stay sharp for call most likely to come AFTER season starts— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) September 30, 2013
The 7'0", 255-pound big man played 38 games last season for the Boston Celtics and Washington Wizards, averaging a robust 1.1 points and 1.6 rebounds per contest. Over his 12-year career, he has posted 6.3 points, 6.5 rebounds and 0.9 blocks per 36 minutes.
Before he was toiling around from bench to bench as a spare bruiser, Collins started the first seven years of his career with the former New Jersey Nets. He played alongside Jason Kidd for an organization that made two straight NBA Finals, but never won it all.
No team may see much need for him now, but that could change when rosters get decimated by injuries and centers grow fatigued. Collins won't post much stats wise, but he can fill in off the bench and provide serviceable defense up the middle.
A team looking to toughen up inside the paint might give Collins that call later in the season. Teams like the New York Knicks can often ride small ball to a playoff bid, only to run into a bigger, fiercer opponent that forces them to adapt.