The honorable mention candidates include a handful of savvy vets. They’ll likely put winning as the No. 1 priority when speaking with their agents. However, their vastly diminished skill sets won’t have executives around the league clamoring for their services.
Some of them have still proven themselves as productive rotational players. Others are running on fumes at best.
He didn’t get along with Mike D’Antoni (putting it lightly), but Kaman managed to contribute when given an opportunity.
In fact, on March 30 against the upstart Phoenix Suns, the 7-footer became the first Laker since Shaquille O’Neal to post a game with at least 28 points, 17 rebounds and six assists.
That outburst was an obvious anomaly, but the 32-year-old can still bring interior scoring and rebounding to the table.
While the injury-prone 35-year-old could certainly opt for retirement, he may not want his playing career to end on the heels of “a dirty play.”
The big man was one of former head coach Mark Jackson’s staunchest backers, so he may gauge his decision to return on the possible addition of All-Star power forward Kevin Love.
If he does come back for another campaign, it’s hard to see him leaving the Golden State Warriors.
The 32-year-old Kansas product was surprisingly productive for the Washington Wizards after getting picked up in late February.
He scored in double digits 10 times in March, but inconsistent postseason play didn’t help improve his stock.
Thanks in large part to Tyrone Corbin’s baffling rotations, the University of Arizona product somehow managed to start 78 games for the hapless Utah Jazz in 2013-14.
He appeared in all 82 regular-season contests and had his most productive campaign in years due to his endurance and starting role.
One could argue that the soon-to-be 34-year-old poured in empty stats for a bad Jazz squad, but he shot 45 percent from the field and 40.9 percent from beyond the arc. Those percentages are rock-solid by any measure.
He may still be able to help a contender as part of a second unit.
The big man out of Connecticut missed the entire 2013-14 campaign due to a herniated disk in his neck. Once thought to be trade bait for the Phoenix Suns to utilize during the season, he’ll simply become a cap-clearing expiring contract.
Everything is dependent upon his health, but Okafor could still bring a contender interior defense if he’s able to compete.
From one former Husky to another, Gordon’s career circled the toilet as a member of the Charlotte Bobcats last season.
He played just 19 games under first-year head coach Steve Clifford, averaging 5.2 points per game. Nonetheless, he averaged 11.2 points off the bench during the 2012-13 campaign. There’s reason to believe he can continue to score at the professional level.
The 31-year-old may still have value as a three-point shooter off the bench, but don’t expect him to contribute in any other categories. For his career, the 2-guard has recorded just one double-double.
The former No. 1 overall pick played 32 games (15 starts) for the New York Knicks in 2013-14. He averaged 4.3 points, 4.2 rebounds, 1.6 assists and shot 51.2 percent from the field.
The numbers suggest he can still be productive in limited time, but health and overall interest from league execs will determine whether he suits up in 2014-15.
Yet another No. 1 overall pick, Brand’s skills have diminished rapidly in recent years.
He averaged 11.0 points and 7.2 rebounds with the Philadelphia 76ers in 2011-12. During 2012-13, the veteran notched 7.2 points and 6.0 rebounds as a member of the Dallas Mavericks. Most recently, he posted 5.7 points and 4.9 rebounds for Mike Budenholzer’s Atlanta Hawks.
The swift decline is pretty typical of aging big men, but Brand’s numbers were still respectable. He actually shot 53.9 percent from the field with Atlanta—the highest mark of his illustrious career.
He knows how to pick his spots when looking to score, but he fits only certain schemes due to his slow, methodical pace.