NBA Lockout: Dirk Nowitzki and 10 Players We Might Never See Again
Thanks to the NBA lockout, the 2011-12 season is probably never going to occur. For the fans, that means a year without basketball. Coming off a season that gave the NBA its highest viewer numbers in a decade, that's a huge loss for both the fans and the league.
But it's also a huge blow for some of the league's veterans. They might not get to play in the NBA again.
1. Steve Nash
Steve Nash will be 37 in December.
He's already been in the NBA for 15 seasons; not many players last much longer than that. His contract with the Phoenix Suns runs to the end of next season when many would expect Nash to call it a day.
This would be tough for the 2005 and 2006 MVP to stomach, as he is the heart and soul of the Phoenix franchise. His retirement would send it into full on rebuilding mode.
2. Derek Fisher
If you blame the NBA players for the ongoing lockout, chances are you would be happy if Derek Fisher never played another game.
His leadership has resulted in this lost season.
Fisher would be 38 when the next season might begin in fall 2012. The Lakers might not even ask him to return, as his points per game average has been sliding for a number of years now.
Would he be missed?
3. Dirk Nowitzki
Dirk Nowitizki's retirement would leave the Dallas Mavericks in rebuilding mode. They'll be praying he can return next year.
It really depends on what he does with his year. He could end up playing in Europe and then at the Olympics. If he does, can his frame handle another long, hard season of running the courts?
He's won his title. He could do well at the Olympics with Germany and call it quits, having achieved everything there is to achieve.
4. Jason Kidd
This doesn't get much better for Mavs fans. Jason Kidd will have retired before the NBA returns unless his body proves to be some sort of genetic mutation.
He'll be 39 in March and will turn 40 during the next season. The past season was the 19th of his career. That is a serious amount of mileage for a player in a position that is currently being dominated by fast youngsters like Derrick Rose, Russell Westbrook and John Wall.
Good luck rebuilding, Dallas.
5. Ray Allen
Ray Allen will also be retired before the NBA comes back. If he does return, he won't be starting. He'll be coming off the bench to post a handful of points per game.
Now that that's gone, will Allen return to rain in threes at the Garden?
6. Paul Pierce
Another name generating a fair amount of negativity these days. The main pusher of the decertification of the NBA players' union, Pierce consequently must be partly responsible for the loss of this season.
I guess that is indicative of the man that is Paul Pierce: a true fighter, he never gives up. He never gave up wanting a better deal in this lockout despite the new deal barely affecting his nearly-done career.
He's fighting for the future of the sport, for its future stars and may well have forfeited his last, best chance at NBA glory.
7. Kevin Garnett
Kevin Garnett has given everything to the NBA. He spent years out in the wilderness that is Minnesota, trying in vain to deliver the city a championship.
He eventually quit the Timberwolves as a frustrated holder of an MVP award to head to Boston to create a super team with Ray Allen and Paul Pierce.
Now he's 35 years old and has a lot of miles on the clock from carrying the T-Wolves and taking most of the defensive responsibilities in Boston.
He's a surefire Hall of Famer, but will he come back to add one more title to join the 2008 ring he earned with the Celtics?
8. Kurt Thomas
Kurt Thomas has been playing ball since before time began. He's suited up for eight different teams over his 17-season career, his best year coming in New York in 2002-03, when he averaged 14 points and 8 rebounds.
"Big Sexy" has had his minutes reduced as the years piled up. He has been known for being a safe pair of hands, capable of scoring a handful of points and being a very competent defender.
Hopefully his career ends in a suitable manner with a great send-off in an NBA arena, rather than with a small line in the back of the sports section during a cancelled season.
9. Tim Duncan
It's highly possible that Tim Duncan won't pull on the San Antonio Spurs vest again. The gentle giant would be playing in his 15th season if the 2011-12 season had started. Next year, aged 36, he might return.
After an injury interrupted 2010-11 campaign that ended in disappointment for the Spurs, how motivated will the four-time champion be to give it one last go?
There is rumor that Duncan and Spurs coach Gregg Popovich will retire simultaneously, delivering a vicious double blow to the franchise.
10. Antonio McDyess
It gets worse for San Antonio.
Along with the looming double-retirement of Gregg Popovich and Tim Duncan, Antonio McDyess could ride off into the sunset, too.
He's no superstar, but at 19 minutes per game, he forms a big part of the Spurs' roster. He's been all over the country plying his trade; his experience makes him a valuable asset on San Antonio's roster.
Could he go at the same time as Pop and Duncan? Spurs fans should expect the worst.