Whenever a player decides to finally call it a career and retire, most fans lose their minds considering that they just can’t picture how their respective teams will fare now that they don’t have their franchise player and start worrying about the future.
Nevertheless, they also offer their best wishes and regards to their idols, thanking them for all they gave on and off the court and remembering them as the superstars they were during their primes, even if they’re never able to lead the team to a championship.
Retiring after over a decade of success in the Association has to be one of the most difficult and life changing decisions one of these athletes may ever face, especially considering how emotional those farewell tours may get.
Today, we’ll name the best 15 players in the NBA, and where we believe they’re going to play for the last time before retiring.
LeBron James - Cleveland Cavaliers
This one’s a no brainer, isn’t it? He’s just not going to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers after all they’ve been through, so the Los Angeles Lakers (or pretty much every other franchise in the NBA) should just drop their plans of pursuing him this upcoming offseason, as he’s set to go down as the best player in Cleveland history and without a question, the best small forward in the history of the league.
Dwyane Wade - Miami Heat
The Flash is the only player to be a part of all three rings in Miami Heat history, although he did leave town to play for his native city in Chicago just because he had an altercation with Pat Riley and how little money the latter offered him the past season. Still, he’s definitely the best player in Heat history, and he’s expected to return for his final season after he’s done chasing the money with the Bulls or another franchise.
Stephen Curry - Charlotte Hornets
This guy’s finally getting the money he deserves after signing a monster extension with the Golden State Warriors to remain as their starting point guard for the foreseeable future. Nevertheless, the North Carolina native is definitely retiring with the Hornets, as he grew up watching his old man dressed in blue, and he’s been known for loving his hometown, even though he may not win another championship on that team.
Chris Paul - New Orleans Pelicans
The Point God left the Los Angeles Clippers to pursue yet another championship alongside James Harden and the Houston Rockets, completely sick and tired of losing and wanting that O’Brien trophy he deserves perhaps more than anybody in the league. Nevertheless, when his legs don’t work the same way and he’s done trying to chase the gold, he’s very likely to retire with the team where he had his best years, the New Orleans Pelicans, definitely having his jersey retired and even immortalized in bronze.
Paul George - Los Angeles Lakers
PG-13 Has never been shy to let everybody know that he’s a diehard Lakers fan. Growing up with Kobe as one of his idols, the former Pacer is reportedly more than keen to be dressed in purple and gold next season, so expect him to be in the Staples Center for the long run, carrying along Kobe’s torch as the go-to-guy on the team until he decides to quit.
Damian Lillard - Los Angeles Lakers
The snubbed and underrated scorer has always talked about loyalty and his desire to stay put with the Portland Trail Blazers. Nevertheless, the Californian native also stated that he would like to play for the Jazz or Lakers if he ever leaves Portland, so with the Lakers always looking to acquire All-Star caliber talent, expect Lillard to hang the shoes up in the Staples Center locker room alongside Paul George.
Russell Westbrook - Oklahoma City Thunder
There was a lot of speculation a couple of seasons ago regarding Russ’ status for the future in OKC, as he was also a Californian native on the Lakers radar. Nevertheless, after Durant’s departure, he showed his commitment to the organization and immediately signed an offer sheet. Besides, considering how much he has given to the Oklahoma community as a philanthropist, it’s pretty obvious that he’s already decided to settle there for the long run.
Kawhi Leonard - San Antonio Spurs
Who the hell wants to leave the San Antonio Spurs? Exactly, nobody. Considering Kawhi’s temper, his age, his ceiling and how much everybody loves him in Texas, it would be just crazy to even imagine him wearing a different jersey through his career, as the Spurs are pretty much automatic contenders and he’s their franchise player. Period.
James Harden - Houston Rockets
The Beard has found his niche with the Rockets, and now that he’s committed to staying in Houston with that monstrous $228 million deal, we wouldn’t expect him to leave the Rockets until he decides to retire, and he has a real chance to become a historic leading scorer, and it’s just a matter of time before he hands Houston another ring.
Kyrie Irving - New York Knicks
At his tender age, this guy has already won pretty much every single thing he’s played only because he played with LeBron James. At this moment, he wants to become a leader and even though he will play for the next 10 years, this is the best time to start with a new franchise, and the New York Knicks waiting for a championship for more than 44 years. You have to make a choice, Uncle Drew.
Kevin Durant - Washington Wizards
After being called a traitor, a snake and who knows what else, Durant managed to put his detractors at ease with a monster season and an incredible performance in this past NBA Finals, earning the MVP honors. Still, he’s always been linked with a move to the nation’s capital, and he's a lock to finish his career with the Wizards, being a very proud Washington Redskins fan as well.
John Wall - Los Angeles Clippers
After struggling to win a championship for his entire career with the Wizards, Wall seems poised to force a move out of the team and it’s just a matter of time before that happens. So, with Blake Griffin in his prime and DeAndre Jordan also having the best years of his career, the North Carolina native will look at the Clippers with great eyes, although he’s not going to have much luck there either.
DeMarcus Cousins - Boston Celtics
Boogie wants to win more than anything in the world and he’s pretty much determined to do whatever it takes to achieve stardom, and considering how freakily talented he is, no team will hesitate to make a run at him despite his temper. And that’s why he’s set to have his final days with the most winning franchise in the NBA, the Boston Celtics, finally winning a couple of rings alongside the best scorer in the league at that time: Jason Tatum.
Anthony Davis - Golden State Warriors
The Brow is another guy that’s just ready to force a move out of his team if (when) that Holiday-Cousins-Davis big three falls short during the playoffs, and being sick and tired of losing he’s set to join a super team like the Golden State Warriors, where he’ll win at least two rings alongside Stephen Curry, and eventually retire as one of the league’s best big man in history on both ends of the court.
Carmelo Anthony - Houston Rockets
Even though he always wanted to end his career in New York as a member of the New York Knicks, we all know that’s just not going to happen anymore, and it’s just a matter of time before he’s dealt away from Madison Square Garden. So, with Melo nearing the sunset of his career and the Houston Rockets apparently ready to sign him, expect him to have his final years trying to win a ring alongside his longtime buddy Chris Paul and James Harden before finally deciding to say goodbye.