As we all know, Father Time is undefeated, and it looks like he’ll have a few more wins under his belt next year when it comes to the NBA.
Retiring is hard for any athlete, especially ones making upwards of $2 million a year doing what they love, but eventually, the human body can only withstand a certain amount of jumpshots.
Heading into the 2017-18 season, there are 10 active players on NBA rosters who are 37 years of age or above, which means their time in the league will be coming to end very shortly. Whether they decide to tough it out for a few more years in chase of that elusive championship ring or rare farewell tour, here are five players that are almost certain to hang ’em up at the end of the regular season next year.
5. Richard Jefferson
The Cleveland Cavaliers’ Richard Jefferson has been hinting at retirement for the past two years after each of the Cavs’ Finals appearances but hasn’t gone through with it yet.
There have been rumors floating around the R.J. may not even make Cleveland’s opening night roster, with the Cavs needing to cut a roster spot to make room for the recent signing of Dwyane Wade.
Regardless if this is true or not, Jefferson is getting up there in age — currently 37 — and whether the Cavaliers fall to the Warriors again in the Finals or do happen to win another title, I cannot see Jefferson signing on for another season for 2018-19.
4. Jason Terry
The Jet will be an unrestricted free agent come the end of next season, and having achieved everything Terry has, it may be a good time to hang them up before his body breaks down.
Terry has already won an NBA title with the Mavericks back in 2011, and has a Sixth Man of the Year award under his belt from 2009. Jason is also third on the list of all-time career three-pointers made, so what more does Terry need to do until he is satisfied with his career?
Playing for the Milwaukee Bucks, Terry played in 74 games last season, averaging 4.1 points and 1.3 assists in 18 minutes per contest at the age of 39. Terry is now the big 4-0, the third oldest active player in the league, and there’s nothing left for The Jet to prove after the career he’s had.
3. Manu Ginobili
The Argentian superstar was another player who contemplated retirement during this offseason, deciding against it and returning to the Spurs for two more years with a contract worth $5 million.
However, just because Manu signed on for two more years, doesn’t mean he plans to play the entirety of the contract length. Hitting the ripe old age of 40 back in July, Ginobili is the second-oldest player in the league, and has taken a major backseat on the Spurs as the years have rolled on.
At the moment, Ginobili is still providing a small spark off the bench for San Antonio — averaging 7.6 points in only 18 minutes of game time last season — but the prospect of another long regular season and postseason run may prove too much for Manu, who could leave Tony Parker as the sole survivor of the Spurs’ former big 3.
2. Dirk Nowitzki
Dirk Nowtizki‘s longevity and loyalty in the NBA is virtually unrivaled as he comes into his 20th season with the Dallas Mavericks, with Kobe Bryant the only other player to spend 20 seasons with one franchise in the league’s history.
Despite this, Dirk’s production has falled off considerably over the years, averaging his lowest scoring numbers since his rookie season back in 1998.
With the Mavericks obviously in rebuild mode heading into next season, and the hopes of playoff basketball nowhere on the horizon anytime soon, it may be best for the German to offer everything he can in terms of advice and experience to the next young batch of Dallas kids before he heads off into the Texas sunset.
1. Vince Carter
How long has Air Canada actually been playing for?
It seems as though Vince Carter has been in the NBA for as long as fans can remember, and that’s partially true, with Carter making his debut the same time as Dirk did back in 1998.
VC is easily the oldest player in the NBA today, beating out second-placed Manu Ginobili by 183 days, and Carter will be turning 41 by the time the regular season finishes up.
Most thought Carter would head over to the Golden State during the free agency period last season, and while he did sign with a Californian team, the Sacramento Kings are in a vastly different position than the Warriors are.
With Vince easily having a first-ballot Hall of Fame career when all is said and done, time running out, and virtually no chance at a championship in Sac-Town next season, Carter will most likely call it quits in 2018.