With the 2022 NBA free agency starting at the end of June, there are only a handful of free agents remaining. Players like Colin Sexton are still young in their career and could be an important piece on a contending team. While there were rumors of him being in talks to re-sign with the Cavaliers, nothing has happened yet. There are also players like Dwight Howard and Rajon Rondo who nearing the end of their careers but can still contribute to a contender for a low cost. There are some other free agents remaining whose futures are unknown as they do not have much left in the tank or could be at the very end of their NBA careers. Do these four players have any more to give? Or could they be finishing up their careers?
Possibly heading into his 20th season, Carmelo Anthony has been one of the best scoring forwards in the NBA for the last two decades. Melo has played for six different teams over the course of his 19-year career, including the Denver Nuggets and New York Knicks (where he had his best years). This past season, Melo played for the Los Angeles Lakers, where he averaged 13.3 PPG, 4.2 RPG, and 1.0 APG in 69 games. Now an unrestricted free agent, Carmelo could contribute to numerous contenders. With the Lakers’ salary cap being limited and the team bringing in several free agents already, Melo may not return to the team. There have been rumors of the Knicks wanting to bring him back for one last run, but there have been no other reports on Carmelo’s future in the league. At this point, it’s up to Melo if he wants to play his 20th season or call it a career.
Blake Griffin is only 32 years old, but he is on the wrong side of 30. While he was one of the most popular superstars in the NBA as a member of the Lob City Clippers, Griffin’s production dropped off after his first full season with the Detroit Pistons. Due to several injuries over the last handful of years, Blake Griffin did not play more than 50 games a season during the 2019-20 or 2020-21 seasons. This past season, Griffin played 56 games, averaging 6.4 PPG, 4.1 RPG, and 1.9 APG. Losing the bounce he was known for pre-injury, Griffin’s game has changed and he’s been outplayed by other forwards in the league since. He looked promising the little bit he played in the first round of the 2022 playoffs, but does not look the same as he did just a few seasons ago. Another unrestricted free agent, Griffin could sign with a team as a backup forward for a contender, but there have been no reports on Griffin’s future. Blake Griffin has participated in other ventures outside of the league, something that he could focus more on if he were to end his career.
DeMarcus Cousins was one of the best big men in the league, going back to his days with the Sacramento Kings. He was still a dominant big man with the New Orleans Pelicans and even during his one season with the Golden State Warriors. Cousins would, unfortunately, suffer an ACL tear, and he has not been the same since. In the last two seasons, Boogie has played 82 games across four teams. Averaging 9.0 PPG, 5.6 RPG, and 1.5 APG last season spending time with the Bucks and Nuggets, Cousins has shown he still has some left in the tank. There is no telling if he will be signed to a deal this summer or picked up on a 10-day contract first next season. Cousins joined the Nuggets via a 10-day contract before signing a deal for the rest of the season. While he could be a valuable backup center behind Nikola Jokic, Boogie remains a free agent at the time of this writing.
Ever since being traded from the Boston Celtics to the Cleveland Cavaliers prior to the 2017-18 season, Isaiah Thomas has been nowhere near the level he once played at. A hip injury IT suffered during the 2016-17 season has followed him to this day. Since being traded to the Cavaliers, IT has played for seven different NBA teams. He has played no more than 40 games in a season since that 2016-17 season. This past season, Thomas played 22 games, signing 10-day contracts with the Mavericks, Lakers, and Hornets, before signing for the rest of the season with Charlotte. Only averaging 8.3 PPG, 1.2 RPG, and 1.4 APG, Thomas has not been able to reach the level he was at only a handful of years ago. While he’s only 32, the lingering hip injury has limited his playing ability. He has shown he still has some in the tank and could be a valuable backup guard for numerous contenders, but IT has not garnered much attention from teams.
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