Grant Hill, Eddy Curry and 8 Other NBA Players Whose Release Is Long Overdue
Like a tattered mat at the foot of a doorstep, all welcomes are eventually worn out.
The same concept applies to NBA players. Once fresh, sparkling, and ready to make a difference to the franchise that has graciously called upon their duties, these same individuals eventually become old, frayed, and virtually useless.
In most franchises--well, franchises with competent front offices at least (you can rule out anything involving Donald Sterling or James Dolan)--these players and their declined productivities are often released, free to seek out yet another welcome mat to provide another franchise their expert services.
There are certain cases however, where these players are held onto, and thus assume the role of dead weight.
This list will chronicle 10 NBA players whose releases are long overdue. Most of these guys have been with their respective squads for quite sometime. Although its nice to preserve old faces, prohibiting a team's progress for the sake of immutability is about as smart as Mark Cuban's mouth following a bad call.
10. Chris Wilcox, Detroit Pistons
The eighth pick in the 2002 NBA draft, Wilcox has failed to meet the expectations of scouts and analysts throughout most of his eight year stint in the pros. Excluding a few productive seasons in Seattle, the ex-Terp has hardly been a difference maker.
Wilcox found himself in Detroit last season, where he hoped to rejuvenate his floundering career. Unfortunately for all involved, Wilcox only averaged 13.0 minutes in 34 games played, posting 4.5 points per contest and 3.4 rpg.
The addition of Greg Monroe will only serve to hinder the court presence of Wilcox, and he'll also have to compete for time with Piston fan favorite, Ben Wallace.
9. Desagna Diop, Charlotte Bobcats
He may have one of coolest names in all of the NBA, but the compliments end just about there.
Diop, highly touted out of high school, is a classic case study pertaining to the implementation of the NBA age limit. The Senegalese prospect could have used a bit more seasoning before making the leap to the big boys, as his measly career averages of 2.1 ppg and 3.8 rpg loudly scream "what could have been."
In terms of his current situation, Diop is of little use to the Charlotte Bobcats. Yes, he provides a veteran presence on a comparatively younger squad. But without logging solid minutes, the importance of this role is incredibly diminished. Stephen Jackson and Gerald Wallace are much better candidates for this role, as their experience and leadership on the court will have a much more significant impact on younger teammates such as Sherron Collins and DJ Augustin.
8. Sebastian Telfair, Minnesota Timberwolves
Granted, this release is not really long overdue, as the Lincoln High School phenom has just recently re-joined the Minnesota franchise. However, the folks up in Minneapolis should have learned their lesson the first time around.
Telfair is a slightly more successful backcourt incarnation of Diop. Hyped up to be one of the best point guards in this generation, Telfair has never lived up to his billing.
He served as the Timberwolves lead point guard for the better part of 2007-2008 and 2008-2009, but he never made a big enough impact to remain on board for the teams future plans, as he was traded to the Clippers. His minutes dropped significantly in Los Angeles, and soon enough he was traded to Cleveland, followed by another trade back to Minnesota.
With David Kahn's small army of point guards, its going to be extremely tough for Telfair to log significant minutes. For one, there's no question that he's going to sit behind rising star Johnny Flynn and the consistently solid Luke Ridnour. With Ricky Rubio potentially in sight, Telfair has virtually nowhere to set up shop.
He can still offer a team some solid minutes, but Minnesota is definitely not an ideal situation for Telfair.
7. Joel Pryzbilla, Portland Trail Blazers
It seems like Joel Pryzbilla has been with the Portland Trail Blazers before the state of Oregon even had a trail. Unfortunately for Pryzbilla, it seems like his days out in the city of roses may be stumbling to a close.
Pryzbilla has never been the best player in terms of impact, but he has consistently provided dependability on the bench. Lately however, a combination of age and injuries have made the Vanilla Gorilla rather useless.
In December of 2009, Pryzbilla landed rather awkwardly on his right knee, his patella tendon and dislocating his patella in the process. He was forced to miss the rest of the season.
To add insult to (more) injury, Pryzbilla reportedly re-injured his knee in March after slipping in the shower, requiring even more surgery. He has made his return in the preseason, but there have got to be questions surrounding his durability, especially considering his pedestrian career numbers (4.2 ppg, 6.5 rpg).
With Aldridge, Camby, and a recovering Greg Oden crowding the frontcourt, Pryzbilla may prove to be more trouble than he's worth.
6. Sasha Vujacic, Los Angeles Lakers
It really pains me to even write this one, but Sasha's continued presence on the Los Angles Lakers roster is hardly beneficial.
Yes, he is a big fan favorite. Yes, he secured the Lakers dramatic championship clinching victory with two clutch free throws in the closing seconds of game seven. Yes, his twitter account is pretty awesome.
Judging by the recent plight of superstars such as Allen Iverson and Tracy McGrady however, one can conclude that the NBA is a "what can do you for me now" kind of league. From a practical standpoint, Vujacic's usefulness will only continue to decrease.
A career bench player whose statistics have dwindled over the past few years, the bearded wonder may be running out of steam. Last season, Vujacic averaged only 8.4 minutes per game, totaling 2.8 points per contest. With the addition of rookie Devin Ebanks, it may be even tougher for Sasha to get time off the bench this year.
In his seventh season with the team, Vujacic may be more productive elsewhere.
5. Eddy Curry, New York Knicks
The biggest dead weight in the history of the concept, Curry has singlehandedly prevented the Knicks from being good for quite awhile now. Even if they have to still pay his mammothic contract, the franchise would probably be better off with someone else.
Curry has many ounces, but almost none of them are of the "I make my team better" variety.
4. Chuck Hayes, Houston Rockets
If you don't follow the NBA too religiously, you may have never heard of Chuck Hayes. A Houston Rockets mainstay for the past five years, Hayes has been an able contributor to the team. However, the current circumstances of the Houston Rockets may prove to be rather deleterious to both his growth as a player and Houston's growth as a franchise.
Listed as a 6'6" F-C, Hayes is extremely undersized. Facing competition from Louis Scola, Shane Battier, Jared Jefferies, and Yao Ming doesn't really help Hayes' cause. Not to mention a "there's a chance I may actually be really good" player in Jordan Hill is also lurking in the shadows.
Due to the vast amount of injuries suffered by the Rockets last season, Hayes was pushed into the starting lineup. He proved to be extremely durable, but averaged only 4.4 ppg and 5.7 rpg as the starting center. His toughness is unprecedented, but a fully healthy squad may reduce Hayes to that of an extremely limited role player, especially if Rick Adelman wants to develop Hill.
Hayes definitely has a lot left in the tank, but his services may be better used elsewhere.
3. Grant Hill, Phoenix Suns
Yes, he has served as a solid role player the past three years. Yes, with countless charity work, he is one of the most good hearted individuals in all of professional sport. Yes, he is a solid veteran leader. Yes, he's a seven time all star.
Given the Suns current circumstances however, the release of Hill is may be the best move for Phoenix. The acquisition of Josh Childress will likely bump hill out of the starting lineup, and into the second team. Normally, this would not be a problem. Phoenix however, is a tricky circumstance.
The loss of Stoudemire demands some sort of rebuilding process for the Suns, even if they remain just as competitive in the win category. Truth is, this franchise is going to need a complete makeover in the next few seasons. As a result, the Suns need to develop as many young players as possible.
Nash is too talented to replace, so he must stay if the Suns want any shot at success.. But Hill? His minutes could definitely be better used by a player with a bigger upside.
This one is probably the most undeserved of them all.
2. Anthony Carter, Denver Nuggets
After starting the majority of games during Denver's 07-08 campaign, Carter was reduced to a bench role for the 08-09 season. This past year, the 35 year old Carter saw a significant drop in time, averaging only 15.9 minutes per contest.
With Chauncey Billups, Ty Lawson, Aaron Afflalo, and J.R Smith ruling the backcourt, Parker may even receive less time. Plenty of veterans are already on the roster (Billups, Nene, Al Harrington, Kenyon Martin), so it may be best to allocate that time to someone who could better the Nuggets in the long run.
1. Jason Williams, Orlando Magic
The craze surrounding this kid when he first entered the league was insatiable. Since that time however, "White Chocolate" has lost his flashy appeal.
Williams actually came out of retirement in 2009 to join the Orlando Magic, as he served the role of backup point guard quite admirably. This season however, roster changes combined William's aging only really spell one thing. I'll you a hint; it starts with an R, and ends with an "e-lease"
Jameer Nelson has solidified himself as the teams starting point guard. As for the backup role, the Magic acquired Chris Duhon this offseason. Younger, more stable, and a player with unquestionably better character, I wouldn't be too surprised if William's fling with Orlando ended sooner rather than later.