On Thursday, the Los Angeles Clippers traded veteran forward Antawn Jamison to the Atlanta Hawks for Cenk Akyol, a Turkish professional selected by the Hawks in the second round of the 2005 NBA draft.
But it seems that Jamison won't get a chance to ply his trade down in Atlanta. According to the website RealGM, the Hawks are in the process of waiving the 15-year veteran.
Jamison has appeared in 22 games for Los Angeles, averaging 3.8 points and 2.5 rebounds in 11.3 minutes. The fact he could not find consistent minutes with the Clippers—a team desperately in need of bench help, particularly in the frontcourt—says a great deal about just how far his play has fallen off this season.
Will he get a shot with another team in 2013-14? Unlikely.
Usually veteran players are bought out because they are stuck on go-nowhere teams who would rather play youngsters, such as the case of Glen Davis' buyout from the Orlando Magic. But the Hawks themselves are a playoff-contending team that could really use a boost, having lost their last seven games in a row. And they are even willing to give Jamison a shot. That just might be the death knell to his long career.
If Jamison goes anywhere, he will probably try to latch onto a legitimate title contender, which has been his goal for the past few years. Per Grantland's Jay Caspian Kang:
If I win a championship, I’ll be put in a different category. I know where I am with the totals, the averages, the scoring list or whatever. But I didn’t win in high school. I didn’t win in college. To have such a roller coaster career in the pros and to be a professional night-in and night-out and to know I put in the work and did all those things I needed to do to be successful, man.
Kang believed that Jamison would be better off letting go of that late-career championship dream, since it will have little impact on how he is perceived by posterity:
The athlete never wins when he engages with these abstract achievements. He has no control over his public narrative, and the more we, the jury, watch him try to become memorable, the quicker we cast him off into our mean, little dungeons.
Even if he never wins that ring, Jamison can still look back on a long and distinguished career filled with accomplishments: 1997-98 Naismith College Player of the Year award, 2003-04 NBA Sixth Man of the Year award, two All-Star teams and more than 20,000 career points. He should look at his career as one of fulfillment, not regret.
*All statistics courtesy of Basketball-Reference.