Will Work For Food: 5 Players Likely to Be Waived Before The NBA Season
The state of the economy being what it is, the last thing anyone wants to see is a pink slip.
Sadly, for many erstwhile and burgeoning millionaire ballers attempting to eke out a living like the rest of us, it's very much a reality.
Thanks for playing. Your services are no longer required. Buh bye.
Cuttino Mobley's been there. So has Jerome James, Coby Karl and Rasheed Wallace. Though in Wallace's case, as he strolls off into retirement, I hardly think he minds.
Every year around this time dozens of players play their tails off hoping for a guaranteed contract. This year Antoine (shimmy) Walker is vying for a spot alongside many others hoping to prove their “wares” are just what the doctor ordered.
Last week, Eric Dampier and his $13 million salary, were waived. When Dampier failed to meet the playing requirements in the final year of his 7 year, $73 million deal, the money was not guaranteed, and the Bobcats acquired the ultimate loophole.
Try as they might to move him, no trade scenarios that would improve the team materialized. So, rather than face the dreaded luxury tax, they did what any team's owner looking to save a buck or two would do, they dumped him.
Not that we need feel sorry for him. He's moving on to greener pastures and will surely be paid something if not $13 million. No less than the Houston Rockets, Miami Heat and the Minnesota Timberwolves have come calling. He's one of the lucky ones.
For others however, being waived could mean the last time they play in the NBA. But in the NBA, waiving players is business as usual. This is a chess move in the grand scheme of things that can mean the difference between saving or spending millions of dollars.
Pink Slips will be issued; and when that happens, none of these ballers should be surprised to find themselves on the outside looking in.
Darius Miles – Bobcats
Sure they saved a ton of money by waiving Dampier, but that hasn't stopped the Bobcat's from speculating on reclamation projects.
Truth is Miles will never be what he was or what his ability promised. Lack of discipline, microfracture surgery and time away from the game has rendered Miles inert.
He along with the other hopefuls potentially trying out at the benevolence of Michael Jordan (i.e. Antoine Walker and Larry Hughes) are sure to be dismissed.
Chances are that Hughes will pop up elsewhere, but as for the others... don't hold your breath.
DA'Sean Butler – Heat
Ask former Net Sean May what injuries will do for your career.
Like May, Buttler is injured having suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in April during the Final Four. This alone ensures that he will not be ready in time for training camp.
But Pat Riley likes him.
According to Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Riley suggested that Butler’s injury would keep him out until after the All-Star Break.
However, Riley really likes this kid and has compared the No. 42 pick in the draft favorably to the Mavericks' Caron Butler.
Can he really expect to be part of team that is sure to be rolling from day one? Maybe, but doubtful.
His competitors Patrick Beverley and Kenny Hasbrouck may not make the team anyway as they would be coming off the bench behind guards Carlos Arroyo, Mario Chalmers and Eddie House.
Center Shavlik Randolph will have to miss the mark entirely for Butler to have a shot at the 15th spot on the roster.
Did I mention that Riley really likes him?
Von Wafer – Celtics
Teammate Oliver Lafayette is undersized and the Celtics are overmanned so, he’ll be immediately eliminated from contention.
Von Wafer however, has talent and a bit of mean streak which if their recent track record is any indication, Doc Rivers and the Celtics have shown a liking to.
Never mind that he’s been waived nearly everywhere he’s played. Many suspect character issues and/or hint of mental illness.
You've got to wonder when Greek team Olympiakos most recently waived Wafer after only one month into the season.
And while the Celtics like castoffs and former headcases, they will no doubt have their hands full with Delonte West.
Making matters worse, Tony Gaffney, his direct competition, is longer stronger and defensive minded.
Though Wafer is a streaky hot shooter, losing Tony Allen to the Grizzles makes Gaffney a stronger candidate for the Celts.
Javaris Crittenton – Bobcats
Yes, again. The Bobcats are doling out all types of second chances these days.
First Darius Miles, now this? No Risk, no reward must be the Bobcats mantra heading into training camp.
Having lost Raymond Felton to the Knicks, the Bobcats are in need of backcourt help in a major way.
However given Javaris Crittenton’s recent history with Gilbert Arenas and Messieurs Smith & Wesson, this can hardly be viewed as a wise move.
Desperate times nevertheless breed desperate measures.
Crittenton is talented and able, but his non-guaranteed contract is surely a sign that unless he plays out of his mind in training camp, he will not be with the Bobcats when the season starts.
Luther Head/JR Giddens/Joe Crawford – Kings
The Kings have 18 players on their roster so someone’s got to go. Neither Head nor Giddens have guaranteed contracts.
The Kings already have two shooting guards on the roster in Francisco Garcia and Beno Udrih. So who will it be?
Although Head is an undersized shooting guard, he excels from long range having connected on 177 3-pointers for the Rockets in 07 good enough for 6th in the NBA that year.
Giddens, meanwhile, is primarily a slasher and lacks a perimeter game. While Crawford, invited up from the development league (NDBL), is a long shot as well, despite averaging 18 points while shooting 43 percent from the field in the Orlando summer league.
By all indications he's a class act, knows how to play and deserves a shot with a team.
If he sticks, he'll join fellow former Wildcat DeMarcus Cousins. Head trumps him in NBA experience, but maybe Crawford has the bigger heart.
This isn't Monopoly money however, (not ours anyway) it’s a numbers game. When everything is all said and done its probable that Crawford and Giddens are on the outside looking in.
Who knows, perhaps one or several of the players listed, will get lucky and land on a team. If so, each better be prepared to make the most of an opportunity that truly is never guaranteed.