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Basketball

The Over 30 Free Agency Club

Rudy Gay

Free agency for players in their 30’s is always interesting. Some have past their physical prime and could potentially have to be relegated to the bench. Some are still having great seasons, but want a max contract. No one WANTS to give a 32-33 year-old a max contract because team’s are going to regret it when the players are 37 with nothing left in the tank and say “Hey I’m still worth the $25 million you owe me I swear.” There are some examples who magically continue to beat father time (See Vince Carter) but are forced to take less money to make room for the budding stars of this generation. We’re going to examine some of the notable NBA players who will enter free agency and see where (and if) they will find new homes.

Rudy Gay, 30

2016-17 Season Stats

PPG     APG     RPG     PER

18.7     2.8       6.3       17.95

Yes, Rudy Gay is only 30 years old, and he will have no trouble finding a new contract, however a torn Achilles 30 games into the season may put a damper on how much he will get paid this summer. Gay is in a similar situation as Wesley Matthews was, who tore his Achilles in 2015 at age 29. He signed a 4 year/$70 million contract with the Mavericks that offseason, however, he saw his production dip in nearly every category across the board. Gay is a more talented scorer than Matthews, but an injury this serious is nothing to mess around with. This will likely cost him quite a few bucks and force him to sign a “prove it” deal to showcase if he still has the skills to score. After a surprising move to opt-out of his contract with the Kings, he could be looking at teams such as the Clippers, who are in desperate need of forwards and just traded Paul to their rival Houston. A signing of Rudy Gay’s caliber will help the organization stay afloat in the packed Western conference and keep team owner Steve Ballmer jumping in his seat.

Prediction: Signs a 2-year team option deal with the Clippers

Kyle Korver, 36

2016-17 Season

PPG     APG     RPG     PER

10.1     1.6       2.8       12.17

For most athletes, their skills typically diminish after logging a ton of minutes year after year. Korver defies that logic as his style of play as a perimeter assassin should easily find suitors for the veteran’s minimum. He has consistently knocked down over 40% of his triples since 2010 and his role as a bench player should continue that streak. After being picked up by the Cavaliers midway through the season, he shot 48% from downtown in 35 games. He also cleared 90% from the charity stripe so there’s no indication that he will slow down as he enters his 15th season in the NBA. There’s no reason to believe that he won’t sign with a contender to chase that elusive ring he has yet to capture.

Prediction: Signs a 1-year deal with the Cavaliers

Andre Iguodala, 33

2016-17 Season

PPG     APG     RPG     PER

7.6       3.4       4.0       14.37

I have so much respect for Andre Iguodala. A former all-star as a sixer, Iguodala locked down his opponents and averaged 15 a game for eight years. His ability to put aside his pride and come off the bench for Steve Kerr’s Warriors after being a long-time starter paid dividends as he nabbed two rings and a finals MVP. He knew the starting lineup wasn’t working with him and he could have easily just said screw it and ask for a trade. As for this offseason, the question looms if he will stay in the Bay area or make more money elsewhere. Golden State will have a tough time keeping their championship winning squad together with Curry due for a HUUUUGE payday and role players Shaun Livingston, David West, JaVale McGee, and Zaza Pachulia all headed for free agency. There’s no way Iguodala will make $11 million again if he stays so as The Clash would say, should he stay or should he go? My money is on he bounces. There are a few teams with plenty of cap space that are hungry for his services.

Prediction: Signs a 3-year deal with the Rockets

Rajon Rondo, 31

2016-17 Season

PPG     APG     RPG     PER

7.8       6.7       5.1       13.59

Ah, the tale of Rajon Rondo. There was a time where Rondo was averaging a double-double with his jaw-dropping passing and his aggressive drives to the basket that led him to shooting over 45% from the field. His off-court personality, and his declining ability to score has caused each team too much frustration and now Rondo is going for his fourth different team in as many years. He did lead the league in assists for the third time in his career during his tenure with Sacramento in 2013 and the end of the season run with Chicago was looking great until a thumb injury sidelined him. This one is tough to predict because of who he is as a person, and as a player. He will find a home and get paid of course. So, let’s roll the dice on a team who’s stumbling and has a lot of cap space. Perhaps the Lakers? He would be a fantastic mentor to Lonzo for one year while the Lakers wait for the homecoming of Paul George.

Prediction: Signs a 1-year deal with the Lakers

Vince Carter, 40

2016-17 Season

PPG     APG     RPG     PER

8.0       1.8       3.1       11.69

Father time – 0. Vince Carter – 1. Carter turned 40 years old this year and produced a more than adequate stat line off the bench for the Grizzlies while most guys drafted in 1998 are sitting on the couch eating nacho cheese Doritos enjoying the retirement life. Carter’s transition from earth shattering slams to a downtown sniper bodes well for NBA teams in need of shooting because, well you know, you can never have too many shooters. From beyond the arc, he’s hit 38% of his triples and played great defense against second line squads. His experience and his uncanny athleticism should be enough to land him a one year deal for a team that’s contending for a championship. Now what team in the league could use a player like him that’s probably going to the NBA Finals in 2018?

Prediction: Signs a 1-year deal with the Cavaliers

Nick Young, 32

2016-17 Season

PPG     APG     RPG     PER

13.2     1.0       2.3       14.12

Talk about coming back from the dead! Swaggy P is alive! Coming into this season Young was known by the Lakers organization as an afterthought and was coming to the end of his career prematurely like other Lakers such as Smush Parker. This season, Young drained just over 40% of his shots from three, good for a solid 13 points per night. The Lakers are moving toward a new direction with their young core of Ball, Randle, Ingram, Nance Jr. and company along with Paul George in their sights when free agency hits next summer. I think the Warriors are going to use their Mid-Level Exception on Young here because apparently, they need more guys who can shoot threes. I mean why not, just obliterate the benches while they’re at it with the addition of Young.

Prediction: Signs with the Warriors

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