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Winderman: Juwan Howard, other name players could fade away from NBA

Sep 10, 2012, 10:05 AM EDT

Charlotte Bobcats v Miami Heat Getty Images

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.

With the Heat adding big men Mickell Gladness and Jarvis Varnado, the odds diminished on Juwan Howard remaining along for the ride in Miami for another championship quest.

And in Toronto, with the Raptors adding Dominic McGuire, the door apparently finally has closed for Jamaal Magloire, with even his hometown team moving on.

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.

Ira Winderman writes regularly for NBCSports.com and covers the Heat and the NBA for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. You can follow him on Twitter at @IraHeatBeat.

  1. allen227 - Sep 10, 2012 at 6:04 PM

    I’m surprised this clown has lasted this long but I guess sitting at the end of the bench you stay healthy. He’s always been a bust in my opinion. Even in college, what did he really do? Other than ride Webber’s coat tails.

    • passerby23 - Sep 11, 2012 at 11:02 PM

      Howard’s never been the flashiest player and I admit he could’ve retired five or six years ago, but the guy did have a pretty solid NBA career for a good decade or so. Look at his earlier career averages. Now he’s old, running on fumes, and ring chasing. He should hang it up with some pride.

  2. louiespoon - Sep 10, 2012 at 6:25 PM

    I always thought Brian Cook was better than Drew Gooden in college, neither one did anything in the show…

  3. beaverdam21 - Sep 10, 2012 at 10:29 PM

    I don’t know about other arenas but here in DC there was a section fairly high up in the stands that shouted out together Scal-a-bri-ni every time he touched the ball. I think it had to do with the shape of his body – just did not look like a pro athlete in anybody’s book. Also, at the risk of being rude, Gooden really was a total complete dud.

  4. Andrés Garcia - Sep 11, 2012 at 4:22 AM

    “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.”

    Look at this sentence, Ira. Just look at it.

    You really need a proofreader.

  5. mazblast - Sep 13, 2012 at 12:36 PM

    Some of the stiffs mentioned in this article are names I’ve never even heard before. Brian Cardinal? Damien Wilkins? Dan Gadzuric?

    Some of the others are merely frequently mentioned names that never amounted to much, or whose best days are long ago. I’m looking at you, Bibby.

    How about some mention of really big names who would be better served by hanging up their shoes–like Jason Kidd?

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