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Shooting guards not aging well
Published July 10, 2005
When considering Seattle's agreement last week with Ray Allen on a five-year, $80 million contract, consider more than how the Sonics retained a team leader.
Also consider Allan Houston, Michael Finley and Jalen Rose, among others.
Why? Because about the only thing as consistent as an Allen jumpshot in recent seasons has been the rapid decline of middle-aged (in NBA years) shooting guards under long-term contracts.
When Houston signed his six-year, $100 million contract with the Knicks in the 2001 offseason, he was a 30-year-old offensive leader. Now, four years later, with $40 million still remaining on his deal, he is a 34-year-old, injury-plagued, luxury-tax liability who is about to be waived under the amnesty program in the league's new collective bargaining agreement.
Then there is Finley, who signed a seven-year, $102 million contract that same '01 offseason with the Mavericks, as a seemingly bulletproof 28-year-old two-way contributor. Now, at 32, with three years and $52 million left on that deal, he, too, likely will be kicked to the curb under the amnesty rule, in favor of the youthful possibilities of Marquis Daniels and Josh Howard.
And finally comes the cautionary tale of Rose, who landed a seven-year, $93 million deal in 2000 as a 27-year-old Pacers mainstay. Since then, he has been dealt twice, now viewed as nothing more than $32 million of ballast on Toronto's cap for the next two seasons, dare we say, a 32-year-old has-been.
And that's not even mentioning the salary discomfort the Heat created for itself with its seven-year, $93 million pledge in the 2000 offseason to a 29-year-old Eddie Jones -- a leading scorer then, a third option, at best, now at 34.
The point being, that while the SuperSonics are congratulating themselves about fending off the advances of the Cavaliers, Clippers and Bucks, the bottom line is that Allen will be turning 35 at the end of his new contract.
Beyond Reggie Miller, few shooting guards have aged gracefully at that stage. And the demands on Allen will be far greater than the expectations the Pacers placed on Miller during his thirtysomething concluding seasons.
While fellow free-agent shooting guards Michael Redd and Joe Johnson will wind up with even longer deals than Allen's, the difference is they are 25 and 24, respectively. Both will be relatively young in the most lucrative of their contract years.
The NBA is replete with cautionary tales, from the seven years at $87 million a 28-year-old Penny Hardaway was given in 1999 to the five years at $62 million a 30-year-old Latrell Sprewell received in 2000.
For Seattle, the hope is Allen won't grow cold as he grows old.
The reality is once they hit 30 (Miller and Michael Jordan as the exceptions), recent-vintage NBA shooting guards have tended to age in dog years.
Among the familiar faces recently added to summer-league rosters is former University of Miami forward Darius Rice, who, after spending last season with the Fort Myers entry in the National Basketball Development League, is working with the Mavericks. A gifted shooter, Rice's problem is Dallas is loaded with those. He has been told that a defensive upgrade would provide his best opportunity to advance to training camp. ...
Forward Matt Freije, who spent time with the Hornets and in the American Basketball Association after being cut by the Heat last fall following his second-round selection, is working with the Cavaliers' summer team. ...
Former Heat forward Tang Hamilton, who in recent years has been a mainstay in the NBDL, is in the Clippers' summer program. ... Former Heat guard Kirk Penney and former Heat forward Harold Jamison will work with the Bucks' summer team, as will former Florida forward Donnell Harvey. ... Former Heat training-camp prospect Kimani Ffriend is working with the Grizzlies. ... Former Heat summer project forward David Bluthenthal is working with the Rockets. ... Journeyman center Jelani McCoy is attempting a comeback through the Nets' summer program. ...
Chinese center Mengke Bateer is making his latest comeback bid in the Bulls' summer program. ... Mateen Cleaves, who in five seasons in the league has appeared in less than two seasons' worth of games, is in camp with the Sonics. ...
Former Heat center Ken Johnson was cut from the Nets' summer program within two days of his arrival. ... Undrafted Florida guard Anthony Roberson bypassed New Jersey's camp invitation to work with the Grizzlies. ... The Lakers have added former Florida State forward Trevor Harvey to their summer roster.
With Nate McMillan's defection from Seattle to Portland, Heat coach Stan Van Gundy is now tied for the NBA's fourth-longest coaching tenure, behind only Jerry Sloan in Utah (161/2 seasons), Gregg Popovich in San Antonio (81/2) and Rick Adelman in Sacramento (7). ...
With Daniels heading into the second year of a six-year, $37 million contract, Mavericks coach Avery Johnson made the rare decision to coach the second-year guard during summer-league games, hopeful of getting more out of a player who stands as the heir apparent to likely amnesty-rule casualty Finley. Former Mavericks forward Popeye Jones is working as an assistant coach in Dallas' summer program, hopeful of catching on in a full-time role.
Although the Raptors might have made the politically correct move by allowing center Rafael Araujo to skip summer league to train with the Brazilian national team as it prepares for an August world-championship qualification tournament, it would be difficult to find a 2004 first-round pick more in need of a summer tutorial with his NBA team. The Raptors were forgiving enough in drafting the BYU bruiser at No. 8 last year; they didn't need to be as gracious after such a woeful rookie season. ...
Few have perfected year-round losing as well as the Clippers. This time the wishful thinking for Allen went poof within a week of the start of the free-agency period. Last year, the heartbreak was delivered by Kobe Bryant. Two years ago, Lamar Odom was allowed to revive his career in Miami. Now they're talking about a run at Cuttino Mobley, a Clipper if ever we saw one.
Ira Winderman can be reached at email@example.com. Material from Sun-Sentinel interviews, wire services, other beat writers and league and team sources was used in this report.
I don't know if that was fair about Eddie Jones, I mean he has to defer to Shaq and D.Wade.
I'm glad that they did recognize Reggie's Leadership and work ethic.
Do you remember how awful he was in the playoffs agianst the Pacers 2 years
back. Eddie Jones sucks. Maybe he didn't way back but he does now.
He chokes harder than the Knicks.
This article really proves the point that you don't get involved in the hype.
Long term contracts for anyone a little bit above average is near sighted.
It's really incredible that MJ and Reggie managed to stay healthy and good for so long. MJ took it to the hole so many times..I remember watching a Bulls game towards the end of his career wondering if he would ever get injured taking it to the hole and dunking it. I also remember wondering if Reggie could continue to run of screens without getting any leg problems for so long and he did. I think Allen will be productive up til about the age of 37..Because even when he loses his quickness..The guy is still an extremely good shooter.
I think Allen will be productive up til about the age of 37..Because even when he loses his quickness..The guy is still an extremely good shooter.
I know why players like Reggie, MJ, Larry Bird can still be deadly no matter what age.. its pretty simple, they can SHOOT! Think about it, if you are example Dwyane Wade, Lebron James where your skills are depending on your athleticism.. when you are 37-40, you will loose that, the only thing you have is your shooting accuracy, which will also decrease at that age..
with other words, players like Wade/Lebron/Kobe will look like they really really really are old and that they cant play no more.. (well, they wont be starters tho!). Players will look even worse even at an age of 36 if they are Centers, Forwards!(no matter what your work ethic is). Yes.. Abdul Jabbar was over 36 and was Center and could still score 30 ppg.. but he could shoot! Thats how important shooting & work ethic is...
why i quoted your post Moses is because i see that on Ray Allen, he will be exactly like Reggie at 37-40...
The bottom line is, your body starts to change in your 30's. This article is acting like it's a big deal that these guards are aging, as if no one has ever aged. These teams were stupid to sign these guys long term. I don't see why this guy is calling Jalen Rose a "has been." I certainly don't see much difference in Rose's game now than I did 5 years ago. He still scores about 18 or 19 a game. I think he's calling Rose a "has been", just because he's been on garbage teams since he left the Pacers.
EVERY PLAYER AGES. Allan Houston is freaking 34 years old. By the time you're 34, you're going to start to wear down a little. So what if Jordan dominated at 34, he was Jordan.
Hakeem Olajuwon dominate the playoffs in 1994 and 1995 at ages 31 and 32, but Hakeems game took a sharp decline. At 34, Hakeem wasn't the dominate force he was say 2 years earlier. Same with David Robinson and Ewing.
Reggie Miller was a consistantly deadly player till about 36. When he got hurt in the World Basketball Championships, his game took a sharp decline, but his game was going to take a decline no matter what. Reggie, like every player that's ever played became a victim of age. I believe he played so great down the stretch this season because of all the emotion.
Look at Shaquille O'Neal. Shaq is still the best center in the NBA by far, but Shaq certainly does not dominate entire games consistantly any more. Shaq didn't even have one 30 point game in the playoffs. Shaq dominated games early, but then faded. If Shaq can go out there and totally dominate game 6 or 7 like he used to, Miami wins that series, plain and simple. All Miami needed was a dominating performance from Shaq, and they're in the finals. It was just 3 years ago that Shaq dominated the Nets, averaging 36 against them in the finals.