NBA / Nov 22, 2011 / 1:00 pm

Evaluating The Future Of The NBA’s 10 Oldest Players

Kurt Thomas

Kurt Thomas

With no return date in sight for the 2011-12 NBA season, there are at least 10 current players that wake up every morning during this lockout and check their watch, clock or calendar to see what day it is. Because unless they can channel Bill Murray in Groundhog Day, each 24 hours means their internal NBA clock is ticking closer to the zero. Not everyone can be John Stockton or Karl Malone and play into their 40s. As we saw at the end of last season with Shaquille O’Neal‘s retirement, all good things must come to an end. With that, we evaluate the future of the NBA’s 10 oldest players:

10. Ben Wallace
DOB: 9/10/74
Years: 15
Evaluation: There’s really not much left for Wallace to achieve. He was an NBA Champion in 2004, the NBA Defensive Player of the Year on four occasions and made the All-Star Game four times as well. At 37, Wallace would gladly play out the last year of his deal for about $2.25 million if a resolution can be reached. At the same time, it would be a lot for Wallace to return if the whole season is lost.

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  • srb

    This headline for this article is misleading. There isn’t much evaluation. It should be called “The status of the league’s 10 oldest players.”

    But anyway it all depends on whether these guys have anything to offer that a younger (and sometimes cheaper) player doesn’t. Nash, Kidd and Hill certainly do, and probably so do Fisher and Thomas. But Big Ben, Ratliff, McNice and Howard may not have much to offer besides some shot blocking and an injury risk. An athletic young big might not know how to score or play smart D like those guys, but they make up for it other ways.

  • First & Foremost

    Please elaborate. Outside of scoring & smart D, what would a cheap athletic big have to offer? Young grass-hopper wisdom?

  • Detroit Dave

    Theo Ratliff made $100 Million in contracts? This is why the owners have locked out the players. They need protection from themselves. Theo was a very good rebounder and shot blocker. Dude was always hurt.

  • srb


    Scoring (maybe not as consistent?) and rebounding, but potentially at a lower cost with the ability to plan for more than one season at a time.

    I’m thinking the type of players like Maxiell or Bass who can have an impact with hustle and defense. Of course, those guys are recognized now as valuable players but 2-3 years ago they were emerging, unknown players.

    Really I think the “veteran big man” idea is a little bit overrated. The Celtics pulled it off big time with PJ Brown in 07-08 but look how they fared with Snaq attack.

  • First & Foremost

    I think you have to find the right big man. Shaq was brought in as insurance to Perkins in case he missed time. The surefire way to miss time is to be traded. Had Shaq/Perkins/Jermain/KG/Davis stayed healthy, their sesaon would have ended differently.

    But yeah, hustle points and keeping plays alive are something the big guys on this list can’t do. However as a free agent they are just as cheap, understand their role, can fill-in if a starter goes down, and most importantly they are consistent. You know what you’ll get from Camby. Tyrus Thomas… not so much.

    Teams looking to make the playoffs are better having the young stud. Teams looking to make the conference finals are better off having a dinosaur.

  • http://deleted dagwaller

    @ srb and F/F – I’m kinda with srb on this one. It seems that for the last few years, teams have been stockpiling old big guys. But there’s gotta be a limit on that, right? Like…the SAME old big guys. Shaq was one of those last year, and we saw how that panned out.

  • Knicksfan84

    How the hell Theo Ratliff make $100 million over his career. CRAZY…. Who was better though Ratliff or B. Wallace?

    Oh and lastly… of all the money a lot of these guys have made… I wish we could find out how much they got left and expenses for the year so we could calculate how quickly they blow through it…