Sep 10, 2012, 10:05 AM EST
The fadeaway long has been an NBA fact of life.
While the stars hold press conferences to announce enough is enough, their fame to keep them in the spotlight (and possibly part of broadcast teams) long after their playing days — something we soon might get from Ben Wallace — for the majority of those with flickering tenures, it just ends.
Over the weekend, a pair of minute moves might have signaled such fadeaways.
Which is the way it tends to happen for those who attempt to squeeze out every last ounce.
For some, it means waiting around for injuries to pile up, with big men more likely to get another last chance, something Erick Dampier, once again on the outside, has cashed in on during each of the past two seasons.
For others, the choice is to step aside instead of waiting, which is why you’ll now find Brian Scalabrine wearing a headset with the Celtics, instead of waving a towel for the Bulls.
So who are most likely to simply fade away, known NBA quantities no longer with a seat at the table?
Among the prime candidates who a month from now we might be saying, “Hey, whatever happened to?” are Brian Cardinal, Mike Bibby, Mike James, Damien Wilkins, Tony Battie, Dan Gadzuric, Brian Cook and several other who not all that long again held regular rotation roles.
With the luxury tax proving more onerous, a 15-man roster no longer is as likely to remain the universal truth. Players who previously might never have considered non-guaranteed contracts now have a decision to make based on pride.
“There’s a lot of guys still out here and not a lot of spots left,” one agent representing a respect former rotation player said last week. “Team know that, which is why we’re starting to see these make-good minimums.”
Sometimes pride says enough is enough, NBA legacies valued as worth more than a game-to-game paycheck.
It happens every year. The reality is about to hit home for some known quantities.
September can be the cruelest month.
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