Community Shootaround: Comebacks

Fans who want to watch Ray Allen, Ben Gordon, Stephen Jackson and Baron Davis play again may not have to wait for the NBA to bring back its Legends Game.

They are among several former stars who have stated that they want to return to the league, and they’re not even the most surprising names on the list. Derek Fisher, who already has a season and a half of coaching experience, is talking about playing again, as is Kwame Brown, who was the NBA’s top draft pick way back in 2001.

Maybe it’s the money or the lifestyle or the atmosphere in the locker room that they miss. Maybe they’re convinced they can still contribute something to a contending team or maybe they just want one last chance to build on their legacies. Or maybe they’re inspired by what Metta World Peace did a year ago.

The former Ron Artest seemed as much of a longshot to make an NBA roster as any of these other guys when he showed up in the Lakers’ training camp last September. He sat out all of 2014/15 and didn’t play much with the Knicks the season before that. But at age 35, he won a spot on L.A.’s roster with a partially guaranteed contract, then lasted the entire season to earn every penny of his $1,499,187 contract. Like the players mentioned above, World Peace hopes to be back in the league next season.

Are any of these other comebacks realistic? Let’s examine them case by case.

  • Allen never announced his retirement; he just stopped playing after the 2014 NBA Finals. There have been rumors before that he was returning, but recent talks with the Celtics and Bucks show there is interest in the 41-year-old shooting guard, who holds the regular season and playoff records for most 3-pointers made.
  • Gordon last played in 2014/15, when he appeared in 56 games as a reserve for the Magic. At age 33, he is considering overseas offers as he tries to work his was back into the NBA.
  • Jackson, 38, has been out of the league for two seasons and only played nine games for the Clippers in 2013/14. Nevertheless, he said earlier this summer that he was talking to the Warriors about joining their training camp and recently claimed that Jimmy Butler and Rajon Rondo want him to come out of retirement and play for the Bulls.
  • Davis has been away from the league since 2012 and has been on a highly publicized comeback trail for a couple of years. The 37-year-old spent time with the Delaware 87ers at the end of last season, but recently said he doesn’t want to pursue the D-League route again.
  • After turning 42 earlier this month, Fisher is the oldest of the comeback candidates. The former Knicks head coach, who compiled a 40-96 record, will consider playing in China if he can’t find an interested NBA team.
  • Brown’s last significant NBA job was 66 games with Charlotte in 2010/11, although he had brief stints with the Warriors and Sixers after that. At 34, Brown recently signed with a new agency and is also considering opportunities overseas.

That brings us to tonight’s question: Do you expect to see any of these players be in the NBA next season, and can any of them be productive at their current ages? Take to the comments section below to share your thoughts and opinions on the topic. We look forward to what you have to say.

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2 thoughts on “Community Shootaround: Comebacks

  1. Steve in Chicago

    Yeh there is now plenty of TV contract money to go around, lets make everyone happy, create a new Seattle Supersonics expansion team and fill the roster with these guys, and add hometown multi sport wannabe hero Nate Robinson. It will be a blast, like the Harlem Globetrotters, er, the Washington Generals rather.

    Sort of a tribute to the late era anyone-can-have-a-team ABA.

  2. Richard

    Nice, Steve. LIKE the idea of Seattle getting their team back; won’t happen until Bennett starts losing money and decides to sell the team back, or expansion.

    Ray Allen, sure. He can still score. Kwame and Ben G are still young enough that they could come off the bench for some team. Metta…player-coach? Baron Davis. Well, he impressed in the D-League late last season, so maybe a bench role, or player-coach? Steph Jax? Iffy. But I guess Jimmy Butler and Rondo reached out to him? IF he has some gas left in the tank…Ray, Jax, Metta…are all former NBA champs. However…

    D-Fish is DONE. Try for a asst coach gig, Fish. Sorry….know alot of these guys are still in shape, but NBA shape? Big ?………

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