Respect Your Elders: 10 NBA Veterans Who Will Suffer From The Impending Lockout

Pat DeCola@Pat_DeColaCorrespondent IDecember 13, 2010

Respect Your Elders: 10 NBA Veterans Who Will Suffer From The Impending Lockout

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    BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 26: Shaquille O'Neal #36 of the Boston Celtics prepares to shoot a free-throw shot against the Miami Heat to the basket at the TD Banknorth Garden on October 26, 2010 in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges
    Jim Rogash/Getty Images

    I know it’s going to happen.

    You know it’s going to happen.

    And David Stern knows it’s going to happen.

    There will be a lockout in the 2010-2011 NBA season.

    While it certainly affects all of us, a potential whole year of basketball gone could signal the end of a few careers of some prominent names around the league.

    It could also mean that we won’t get to see Theo Ratliff play for his tenth team; a real shame since I’m sure Phil Jackson would let Ratliff borrow that nifty Roman numeral ‘X’ hat that he wore after winning his tenth championship.

    While some players might be thinking that they have one more year left in their legs, the choice may not be left up to them, forcing them to retire a year earlier and enter the real estate business well before they wanted to.

    Let’s take a look at the ten oldest players in the NBA and the likelihood that we’ll see them a year and a half from now if no basketball is played next season.

Shaquille O'Neal

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    BOSTON - NOVEMBER 24:  Shaquille O'Neal #36 of the Boston Celtics celebrates his basket in the fourth quarter against the New Jersey Nets on November 24, 2010 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. The Celtics defeated the nets 89-83. NOTE TO USER: Us
    Elsa/Getty Images

    Age: 38

    Career Averages: 24 PTS, 11 REB, 2.3 BLK

    Shaq signed on with the Celtics for two years, shocking many at first. But despite some injury time, he has played well enough to make a significant impact for Boston this season—well enough to make us think that if the Celtics are unable to win it all this year, Shaq would likely come back for one last shot.

    However, with the labor turmoil leading us to believe that we need to be enjoying every second of NBA play this season because we won’t be getting any next fall, the chances that this is it for the Big Fella have increased tremendously.

    At age 40, Shaq will be out of the NBA.

    Likelihood: 0%

Kurt Thomas

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    ATLANTA - MAY 2:  Forward Kurt Thomas #40 of the Milwaukee Bucks takes a deep breath while stretching before Game Seven of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals between the Milwaukee Bucks and the Atlanta Hawks during the 2010 NBA Playoffs at Philips Arena
    Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images

    Age: 38

    Career Averages: 8.8 PTS, 7 REB, 0.8 BLK

    Not one of the more prolific players on the list, but old nonetheless.

    Thomas has made his rounds throughout the league, bringing mediocre but acceptable power forward play to eight different teams.

    It’s honestly hard to picture a summer where I see “Kurt Thomas traded to (borderline playoff team X) for (failed European player Y) and (over-the-hill buyout player z)” scroll across the bottom ticker on TV and I think to myself, “Oh.”

    Strangely, I will miss this moment.

    Likelihood: 15%

Grant Hill

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    PHOENIX - DECEMBER 03:  Grant Hill #33 of the Phoenix Suns puts up a shot during the NBA game against the Indiana Pacers at US Airways Center on December 3, 2010 in Phoenix, Arizona. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloadin
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Age: 38

    Career Averages: 17.8 PTS, 6.4 REB, 4.5 AST

    This is going to sound ludicrous, but Grant Hill’s Orlando ankle issues may have saved his career.

    Granted, they probably also ruined what could have been a great stretch of Hall of Fame-level of play, but there is no doubting that it forced Hill to adapt to his limitations and transform himself from an explosive drive-it-home-and-park-it-in-the-six-car-garage scorer to a slightly less-MTV Cribs jump shot style of play. Otherwise, he’d probably be retired already.

    Regardless, his contract expires after this year and the “40 is the new 20” rule doesn’t apply in the NBA as it does for bored housewives and Brett Favre.

    Likelihood: 2%

Juwan Howard

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    MIAMI - OCTOBER 18:  Forward Juwan Howard #5 of the Miami Heat prepares to face the Charlotte Bobcats on October 18, 2010 at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using
    Marc Serota/Getty Images

    Age: 37

    Career Averages: 14.1 PTS, 6.4 REB, 2.3 AST

    Frankly, I’m not sure why Juwan Howard is even still in this league. He hasn’t had anything resembling a productive year since ‘06-‘07 with Houston when he scored 9.7 points and grabbed 5.9 rebounds.

    But hey, who’s to judge? He’s here, he’s gotten into 16 games this season for less than 11 minutes per contest, and he has a shot at a title.

    Sounds like a breeze. I’d hang onto that as long as possible, too.

    Which is why Howard will continue to bounce around until the NBA pays him to leave around 2014, citing, “It’s not you, Juwan. It’s your goatee. This isn’t 1995 and you don’t play for the Bullets anymore. That kind of facial hair just isn’t acceptable. Besides, studies have shown that the neckbeard is the most lucrative of all the facial hair stylings. Give it a shot.”

    Likelihood: 75%

Jason Kidd

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    DALLAS - NOVEMBER 27: Jason Kidd #2 of the Dallas Mavericks drives the ball against the Miami Heat  on November 27, 2010 at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or usi
    Layne Murdoch/Getty Images

    Age: 37

    Career Averages: 13.5 PTS, 9.2 AST, 6.6 REB

    Jason Kidd is an interesting case.

    Statistically, he’s having the worst season of his career (while also single-handedly sabotaging my fantasy team) but is an integral piece of Western Conference powerhouse Dallas in the midst of a 12-game win streak.

    Next season, his contract expires, but I half expect Kidd to stick around for a few more years to give himself another shot to put some jewelry on his finger.

    If he doesn’t turn it around, the other half of me thinks he hangs it up following this year regardless of the lockout.

    The number of talented point guards in the league seems to grow with each draft and the need for a point guard that shoots 34.7% from the field is rapidly shrinking.

    Likelihood: 50%

Theo Ratliff

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    BARCELONA, SPAIN - OCTOBER 07:  Theo Ratliff #50 of the Los Angeles Lakers looks on during the NBA Europe Live match between Los Angeles Lakers and Regal FC Barcelona at the at Palau Blaugrana on October 7, 2010 in Barcelona, Spain.  (Photo by David Ramos
    David Ramos/Getty Images

    Age: 37

    Career Averages: 10.2 PTS, 8.1 AST, 3.5 BLK

    I already made the Phil Jackson joke in the introduction.

    There isn’t much left to say about Theo Ratliff, who has scored two points in eight games this year.

    He’s done, lockout or not.

    Likelihood: 0%

Steve Nash

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    PHOENIX - DECEMBER 08:  Steve Nash #13 of the Phoenix Suns hanldes the ball during the NBA game against the Memphis Grizzlies at US Airways Center on December 8, 2010 in Phoenix, Arizona. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downl
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Age: 36

    Career Averages: 18.4 PTS, 10.2 AST, 3.7 REB

    The stress of playing for an owner who treats the franchise like a “Buy, Trade, or Sell” Craig’s List ad rather than a basketball team may turn his hair gray, but Steve Nash won’t be going anywhere anytime soon.

    The gritty two-time MVP plays harder than most in the league, opening him up to a variety of injuries throughout his career. I’m very sure that I’d be bed-ridden for weeks after some of the hits he takes and plays through.

    But I don’t expect him to stop until he wins a title.

    Do you?

    Likelihood: 100%

Marcus Camby

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    BOSTON - DECEMBER 01:  Marquis Daniels #8 of the Boston Celtics tries to take a shot as Marcus Camby #23 and Patrick Mills #8 of the Portland Trailblazers defend on December 1, 2010 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly
    Elsa/Getty Images

    Age: 36

    Career Averages: 10.3 PTS, 10 REB, 2.5 BLK

    Marcus Camby’s scoring numbers are down this year, but he still cleans the glass better than most.

    After getting banged up over the past few years, Camby is one player who could actually benefit from the year off. It’s a bit of a stretch, I’ll admit that, but a year off to focus on rehabilitating his creaky knees might not be the worst thing for him.

    Teams still see a lot of value in Camby, evidenced by the lucrative two-year extension that Portland sent his way last spring.

    Likelihood: 85%

Derek Fisher

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 8:  Derek Fisher #2 of the Los Angeles Lakers brings the ball upcourt against the Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center on December 8, 2010 in Los Angeles, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that,
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    Age: 36

    Career Averages: 8.9 PTS, 3.1 AST, 2.2 REB

    I would love to say that championship teams don’t employ point guards who average 7.6 points and 2.7 assists per game, but Derek Fisher’s 2010 stats are eerily similar to his stats last season, in which the Lakers won it all.

    Two more years left on his deal with a player option for a third.

    He’ll be back.

    Likelihood: 99%

Antonio McDyess

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    NEW ORLEANS - NOVEMBER 28: Antonio McDyess #34 of the San Antonio Spurs shoots the ball over Emeka Okafor #50 of the New Orleans Hornets at the New Orleans Arena on November 28, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  The Spurs defeated the Hornets 109-95.  NOTE
    Chris Graythen/Getty Images

    Age: 36

    Career Averages: 12.4 PTS, 7.6 REB, 1.4 BLK

    McDyess is still productive in the limited minutes he gets, with per-36 minute averages of 9.9 PTS and 10.5 REB per game.

    But despite him having another year left on his contract, it’s tough to picture him coming back for another year.

    At some point, the Spurs will be making that transition step that has been in the making for years now and he probably won’t make the cut.

    Likelihood: 20%

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