This season may mark the ending of many NBA players’ storied careers. Steve Nash tops this list, as he formally announced his retirement at age 41 a few weeks ago. There are many great veteran players joining Nash who are finishing out contracts and may be calling it quits after this season, so this may be your last chance to catch them in action. The following is a retirement watch list of some great names that may be giving the fans their last hurrah.
There has been a lot of speculation throughout the past few seasons that any year might be the year that both of these guys are done. They’re both free agents, have played 13 incredible seasons together and won 4 rings in that span. Manu seriously considered retirement in 2013 after a very poor playoff performance, but held it together for one last two-year contract that’s set to expire at the end of the season. Both are still having very productive years, and earlier last week I made a case for Tim Duncan as the Defensive Player of the Year:
3. Kevin Garnett (age 38)
Garnett has played 19 spectacular seasons and this year might be his last. He has mentioned that he’d like to buy an ownership stake in the Timberwolves after he’s done playing. After having been traded to the team and mentoring its young players, this would be a good chance to jump into that role.
People forget how terrific Garnett was in his prime on both sides of the ball – From age 22-30, he averaged 22.4 points, 12.6 rebounds and 5.0 assists and was a game-changer on defense. For his career, he was a top three finisher in MVP voting four times, winning once in 2004. He’s in the NBA’s top 20 rankings of all time in games (6th), total rebounds (10th), steals (17th), blocks (19th), and points (17th). He’ll be a no-brainer Hall of Famer and go down as one of the best power forwards in NBA history:
4. Shawn Marion (age 36)
The Matrix turned down more money to sign a one-year deal for the veteran’s minimum with Cleveland this year where, unfortunately, he has been plagued with hip injuries. In a storied 15-year career, Marion has never played a full 82 games and this year in Cleveland has been especially tough on his body.
We’ve never seen a player quite like Marion. His unorthodox jump shot remains one of the worst forms in the league, yet he has been a decent outside shooter. Marion’s best years were in Phoenix, where he spent the first nine years of his career. From 2002-2007, Marion filled the stat sheet, averaging 19.7 points, 10.3 rebounds, 2.0 steals and 1.6 blocks. Marion only made four All-Star Games, but he was probably under-appreciated in that aspect because he played in a Western Conference stacked with good forwards. He was a huge fan favorite in Phoenix and most recently Dallas, where the team honored him with a video tribute two weeks ago:
5. Elton Brand (age 36)
Brand has very quietly put in 16 solid seasons in the NBA. The former Rookie of the Year and two-time All-Star had a solid NBA career early on with some very bad Bulls and Clippers teams. In his first nine years, Brand put up averages of 20.3 points and 10.2 rebounds. Brand should be remembered as a good low-post scorer, a great rebounder and a pretty good shot blocker.
Brand will probably forever be under-appreciated because of the horrendous teams he played on. In his first 15 years in the league, he was on a team that finished above .500 exactly once. (the 2006 Clippers that won 47 games) Luckily for Brand, he has finally gotten a chance to win. In possibly his last season, he’s on the best team on the East and easily the best team he has played for in his career, the Atlanta Hawks.
His production has been steadily declining and he has only played in 29 of the Hawks’ games this year. When asked if this season is his last, he has stated, “At this point, I’m 36…it’s not on paper yet. We’ll see how the season plays out.” (via Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.) If it is Brand’s last season, at least he gets to go out after finally getting a taste of winning: