If you’re a player who had success in the past, this is the offseason to seek a return to the NBA.
As team’s look to fill out their rosters and finalize their squads heading into training camp, several veterans remain in the hunt for a contract. Just in the last two weeks Stephen Jackson and Baron Davis have thrown their names out as potential veteran pieces for teams. In addition to them, guys like Metta World Peace, Ray Allen, and now Caron Butler believe they can contribute next season.
Butler, 36, recently appeared on Anthony Donahue of SNY’s 33rd and 7th Podcast. He said he likes the moves the New York Knicks made this offseason, including their acquisitions of Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah, and Courtney Lee. Butler believes he could be a solid bench piece for the Knicks.
With teams like the Knicks, Golden State Warriors, and Boston Celtics stacking their rosters with talent, veterans who have tasted championship gold and those who never got close believe they have one last run left.
Davis, 37, appeared in six games for the Delaware 87ers of the NBA Developmental League last season. After failing to latch on with an NBA team the last few years, Davis was asked by a fan if another D-League run was in his future.
“Nah, I’m trying to get back to the NBA,” Davis said, according to Jesse Dougherty of The Los Angeles Times.“The real thing.”
Davis’ last run in the NBA came with the Knicks during a 29-game stint during the 2011-12 season. But a guy like World Peace, who averaged 5.0 points and 2.5 rebounds with the Los Angeles Lakers in 35 games last season believes he can still be an elite contributor – he just needs the playing time.
“I’m waiting for teams. I can still play. I can play, it’s not even a question man,” World Peace said to ESPN’s Ian Begley. “But, you know, sometimes you don’t get in the game, man. What are you going to do? I’m not going to be upset, I’m going to support. So if I don’t play, like this year on the Lakers I could have averaged 15 or 20 on the Lakers if I played, easily. But you know, I’ll be supportive [if I don’t play].”
As for Jackson, he’s more in the Davis camp. His last run in the NBA came with the San Antonio Spurs in a nine-game cameo during the 2013-14 season. Also, ESPN.com’s Marc Stein reported in late June that the Golden State Warriors had an interest in adding Jackson to their coaching staff.
But in a recent Instagram post, Jackson sounded more confident than ever about playing one more season.
“I just want to let everybody know that I will be back in the NBA this year, Jackson said. “I can’t say exactly what’s going on right now, because you know, people try to run with stuff and everything’s not locked in yet, but I will be back in the NBA this year. So to everybody that’s been supporting me, praying for me, I appreciate it. The haters, I appreciate ya’ll too, because ya’ll motivated me to prove ya’ll wrong.”
Arguably the biggest veteran name interested in a return is Ray Allen. The sharpshooting, future Hall of Famer last played with the Miami Heat during the 2013-14 season. This offseason, the two-time NBA champion, and 10-time All-Star named the Boston Celtics, Milwaukee Bucks, and Golden State Warriors are possible teams of interest.
No matter the team, Allen – much like the aforementioned veterans – wants to be in a situation where he can help a team with his presence.
“I would love going back to those places if it worked out,” Allen told the Hartford Courant. “I want to be in a situation where I thought I could help, play a little bit and help where they have good young talent.”
It may not be a clear path for Allen and company but if nothing else, their track records have earned them at least one foot in the door.