When watching the game of basketball after a long offseason, you sometimes find yourself seeing a player that was big a few years ago and find yourself saying “is that Kelly Olynyk on the Pistons?” Players in the end of their career go to odd teams all the time, you see it every year. You could put five pictures with Vince Carter on weird teams here, but I’ll show you ones that you never wanted to see again, but now you are.
Dwyane Wade, Isaiah Thomas and Derrick Rose, Cleveland Cavaliers (2017-2018)
A big three if it had happened two years earlier, this looked like a certifiable team on paper at the time in 2018. When pairing old teammates and long time friends in LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, you expect greatness. When you add a player who was an MVP caliber player the year before, giving up your franchise point guard Kyrie Irving for him, you expect greatness. When you get an ex-MVP in Derrick Rose who is poised for a comeback, you expect greatness. So what did the Cavaliers get? seventy-seven games if you add up all three, which out of an eighty-two game season should be around one hundred and fifty. You also get an average of 35.7 PPG from all three combined, with Isaiah Thomas leading them in scoring. In one of LeBron James’ best seasons ever, playing eighty-two games and averaging 27.5 PPG, he traded the entire team. LeBron traded his best friend Dwyane Wade, an injured Isaiah Thomas and an at the time washed up Derrick Rose before the deadline. Dwyane retired on the Miami Heat, Isaiah Thomas is currently playing with LeBron James and the Lakers on a ten day contract, and Derrick Rose is back in a new role with the New York Knicks, for a second time.
Isaiah Thomas, Los Angeles Lakers (2018-2019)
Staying on the topic of Isaiah, after playing fifteen games for the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2018, he was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers. IT only played seventeen games, and averaged 15.6 PPG, his highest in the last three years. The ‘King in the Fourth’ left the team in the offseason, not wanting to play with LeBron after the first stint, a decision that began to derail his career. Since this moment, Isaiah Thomas has played for the Denver Nuggets, Washington Wizards, New Orleans Pelicans, Grand Rapids Gold and now back to the Lakers. After his first game with Los Angeles it may look like IT is back on track, this is a moment that could’ve ended it all.
Tony Parker, Charlotte Hornets (2018-2019)
A four-time NBA champion, six-time all-star, seventeen seasons on the San Antonio Spurs, all to end it on the Charlotte Hornets in 2019. Tony played 1,198 games for San Antonio, but his last fifty-eight will be remembered for wearing the teal and purple, as well as playing alongside Willy Hernangómez: tragic. Tony had his third lowest scoring season, which was expected at age thirty-six. In his fifty-six games he averaged 9.5 PPG and 3.7 APG, his second lowest of his career. From playing with Tim Duncan and Manu Ginóbili and one of the greatest coaches ever in Gregg Popovich to playing with Dwayne Bacon and Frank Kaminsky is not the best way to end a career, especially a career as great as Tony’s.
Tracy McGrady, Atlanta Hawks (2011-2012)
I was a difficult three-way tie between the Hawks, Knicks and the Pistons, but Atlanta got the win on this one. While I feel like his Knicks run is looked at as his worst season, it is remembered because it is in every list of ‘Players you Forgot Played for This Team’ lists, so I switched it up. In Tracy McGrady’s final season in the NBA before playing in China, he decided to play for the Atlanta Hawks. The year is 2012, and since it has been nine years, I will paint a picture for you. The Hawks finished 40-26 in a lockout season, finishing fifth in the Eastern Conference. In those sixty-six possible games, T-Mac played in fifty-two of them. For the first time in his career besides his six games with Houston in 2009, Tracy did not start a single game. Again, besides the six game ending with the Rockets, this was McGrady’s lowest season for minutes per game, PPG, APG, and almost every statistical category. In the playoffs Atlanta faced off against the Boston Celtics, losing the series 2-4. In those six games, T-Mac played ninety minutes total, averaging 4.2 PPG, and 15 MPG. A tough ending there for Tracy McGrady, one many will forget, even the most die hard Atlanta Hawks fans.
Dennis Rodman, Los Angeles Lakers (1998-1999)
Dennis Rodman played for the Chicago Bulls until Michael Jordan “retired,” and then he decided to leave as well. Rodman was on a Laker team with a second-year Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal in his prime and a rookie Tyronn Lue, the year before the dynasty. Dennis Rodman oddly enough went from playing with the greatest player in NBA history in Michael Jordan, winning three championships in a row, to joining the Lakers moments before the greatest duo of all-time started playing at their peaks. After this Rodman ended his career with the Dallas Mavericks and Dirk Nowitzki, Steve Nash and Michael Finley, another incredible team. If we look at the teammates Rodman played with, the list includes John Salley, Isiah Thomas, Rick Mahorn, Bill Laimbeer, Moses Malone, Doc Rivers, Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Shaq and Kobe. He also wrestled Karl Malone in WCW, dated Carmen Electra, is best friends with Kim Jon Un and Tweets. Like. This. Insane career, maybe an even more Insane. Guy.
Gilbert Arenas, Golden State Warriors (2001-2003)
Gilbert Arenas is heavily forgotten in the Warriors colors, mostly because out of the draft he wasn’t anything special. In two seasons Gilbert played in 129 games for Golden State, starting in 112 of the contests. In this time, Gilbert Arenas averaged 15.6 PPG. Gilbert Arenas was expected to be a first round draft pick, and if drafted in the first round, you make a lot more money in comparison to the second round. Gilbert Arenas spent $100,000 before he was even drafted, expecting to go in the first round. Gilbert Arenas missed this extra money by one selection, being taken with the first pick of the second round by Golden State. He was making $330,000 annually with the Warriors, but was put on a monthly spending budget of $400 after blowing through his pile of money before draft night. It all ended in Golden State after Gilbert Arenas’ second season, where he blossomed and was poised for a huge pay day. After the Warriors lost him to the Wizards, who payed him $8.5 million, issues arose for Gilbert Arenas, usually in the locker room with guns, faking injuries, or many other things. As most say, “moe money, moe problems.”