With the impact of the ongoing surge of covid-19 in sports, different organizations and leagues have handled the virus in their own ways. The NBA implemented health and safety protocols for the 2020-21 NBA season, with overall success. This season, the league has been decimated by health and safety protocols, even though many of the players are vaccinated. As many know, teams like Chicago and Brooklyn were missing half of their teams at one point, resulting in games being postponed. Because of this, the league has made several changes to its health and safety protocols, as well as rosters. The league made a statement saying if a team has two players out because of health and safety protocols. The league has seen a record number of players play games this season, with some players signed via hardship exception such as Chicago’s Alonzo Mckinnie being signed to a full deal while veteran Isaiah Thomas was not resigned after his 10-day contract with the Lakers (although he did sign with the Dallas Mavericks Wednesday afternoon). With the opportunity for G-League and former players to suit up, here are five players who should be signed to a team this season. While obvious names like Jamal Crawford, J.R. Smith, Mario Chalmers, and Jimmer Fredette have been brought up already, these five names have not.
After playing 17 seasons across six different teams, Kyle Korver retired following the 2019-20 NBA season. He played 58 games for the Milwaukee Bucks during the 19-20 season, finishing with splits of 6.7 PPG, 2.1 RPG, and 1.2 APG. He had shooting splits of 41% overall, 41% from three, and 85% from the free-throw line. While those numbers may not seem impressive to some, Korver has been a reliable role player on several teams, being a one-time All-Star when he played for the Atlanta Hawks. If a team were to bring Korver back, he would not be playing 20-30 minutes per game but would be able to provide a few three-pointers a game and have a standout game here and there. In an era of three-point shooting, any team would be wise to bring back one of the more reliable three-point shooters of the last decade.
The story of Joakim Noah’s career is quite strange. The heart and soul of the Chicago Bulls for almost a decade, the season he finished top five in MVP voting, the four-year, $72 million contract with the Knicks. A lot changed for Noah following his Chicago departure. Playing less than 50 games each of the last four seasons (not even playing 10 in two of them), Noah retired after the 19-20 season. In the five games, he played that season, Noah averaged splits of 2.8 PPG, 3.2 RPG, and 1.2 APG. Like Korver, Noah would not play tremendous minutes, but would a lot of energy to any team he joined. With a specific Eastern Conference team having several front-court players out, a reunion in the windy city would be great for Noah and the city of Chicago. Think of the role like Udonis Haslem with the Miami Heat.
The fact that Nate Robinson is not on an NBA currently is shocking. What’s more shocking is that Robinson has not been in the league since the 2015-16 season. In the two games he played for the New Orleans Pelicans during the 2015-16 season, Robinson did not score any points. He spent time with the Knicks (where he had his highest scoring average), Chicago, Boston, Oklahoma City, Golden State, Denver, and the Clippers. After his four and a half seasons with the Knicks, it’s crazy to think about the fact that he did not spend more than two full seasons with any team he signed with. A guard like Robinson could thrive in the league right now. Shooting over 40% from the field for his career, Robinson could be a reliable role player on a championship contender right now. In his time outside of the league, Robinson has been keeping busy, but a return to the court could never be out of the question.
Many were shocked when Evan Turner retired from the NBA after only 10 seasons. The guard spent time with Philadelphia, Indiana, Boston, and Portland before retiring in Atlanta following the 19-20 season. While in Atlanta, Turner overplayed 19 games, averaging 3.3 PPG, 2.0 RPG, and 2.0 APG. Turner is only 33 years old. Turner could still play a few full seasons if he truly wanted. Turner could be a reliable player for a championship team like Robinson. With guards missing plenty of games due to injuries and health and safety protocols, Turner could provide off the bench, but fill in for a starting guard if needed.
This isn’t going to happen, but wouldn’t it be so nice to see? 22 seasons across eight teams, Half-Man / Half-Amazing was one of the flashiest players in his prime. Even in his later seasons, VC was still able to produce on the court. His scoring decreased with age (like it does for many) but he still had a presence as a veteran and locker room leader. While he did end his career on a positive note (hitting a three in front of an Atlanta crowd right before the league shut down in 2020), some wish they could see Air Canada reunite with the Toronto Raptors over 15 years after that relationship fell apart. At 44 years old, Carter would be the oldest active player in the league this season without a doubt. With a lot of players at his position being fast and aggressive, it’s possible he could play a role like Haslem with the Heat. Again, it’s unlikely, but it sure would be nice to see Carter throw down one more dunk.