Antawn Jamison

Antawn Jamison considering retirement after next season

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Antawn Jamison is 34 years old. He isn’t exceptionally athletic (and never has been, really), exceptionally strong, or exceptionally tall. His game could age fairly well as long as his employer is willing to put up with his defensive limitations, and Jamison could certainly find NBA work as a scorer, rebounder, and calming locker room presence for another contract or two. Of course, Jamison’s future is still conditional, even if his production and skills are ever reliable; after Jamison’s current contract expires in the summer of 2012, the then 36-year-old could choose to end his career then and there.

Jamison is apparently considering the possibility. From Chris Tomasson of NBA FanHouse:

The Cleveland forward already has started to think about retirement. He said before Saturday night’s 127-99 loss to Denver at the Pepsi Center that next season, the last on his contract, could be the final one of his NBA career. “Definitely,” Jamison, 34, said in an interview with FanHouse about that being a possibility. “I’ve done a lot, man. This is my 13th year and next year will be my 14th year. A lot of people don’t get the opportunity to say that they’ve played for that many years. And to know that I’ve left everything I throw on the court has been a blessing for me.”

…”I know the window of opportunity is closing in … for my career,” said Jamison, averaging 16.5 points this season for the woeful Cavaliers. “Physically, I can play the game for another five or six years. Mentally, I got another one or two years in me. I can live with that. I’ve enjoyed my career and done a lot of things. The only thing I got to do is to win a championship. But I got one more year left on my contract. If nothing happens by then, I can be happy with it being a career unless an opportunity comes up to play for one year after that.

It’s a shame to think that Jamison’s career could be coming to a close. As a player, he found great success both as a featured scorer and a virtual afterthought, using offensive rebounds to generate additional possessions and scoring opportunities. As a person, Jamison has been a consummate professional and endured more team dismay than any player ever should. This year’s Cavaliers are only the latest example; Jamison also played for the early-decade Warriors and the post-fallout Wizards, two teams with their own unique brands of misery. If you happen to believe in the championship as a method of career validation, Jamison certainly deserves a ring of his own, if only for spending so many of his years toiling away on bad teams. Still, Jamison’s career is commendable on its own merits. The man has performed at a high level throughout, regardless of circumstance.

Another year and a half (or less, if the NBA is locked out for part or all of next season) of Jamison may not be enough, but it’s all we’re likely to get. The call of the game could always entice him to stay a little while longer, but Jamison seems convinced that his career is nearing its natural end.

Kevin Love unsure about opening-night return

Kevin Love
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He’s back in practice with the Cavaliers, but there’s still no clarity on whether Kevin Love will be available for the season opener. Love had shoulder surgery in April after suffering a torn labrum in Game 4 of the Cavs’ first-round series against the Celtics, and doctors initially gave him a timetable of four to six months for a return. The six-month end of that is right around opening night (October 27), but Love still doesn’t know whether he’ll be able to play against the Bulls—although he is hopeful.

Via the Sporting News‘ Sean Deveney:

“I feel pretty good,” Love told Sporting News. “As far as the opener goes, I am not completely sure. I’ll probably get with the doctors and see what they have to say. I know that my six-month post-op is coming up here pretty fast. As far as getting the strength back, getting the range of motion, I feel pretty good, so I am looking forward to getting into some more contact, getting into a rhythm and getting out there as quickly as I can.”

Love has been cleared for 3-on-3 practices, but not yet for 5-on-5. If it were up to him, he’d be back on the court, but he understands he needs to follow the rehab protocol for his injury.

“(Six months is) just a ballpark figure that has generally been thrown out there by anybody who has talked about the rehab process for this kind of an injury,” Love said. “I like to think that I am ahead of the game, but there’s different tests and the due diligence that the doctor will go through and the training staff will go through. So all I can do is go out there every day and attack my rehab and hopefully I will be able to go out there and help these guys as soon as possible.”

At the very least, the Cavs will be without Kyrie Irving (still recovering from knee surgery) and Iman Shumpert (out up to three months with a wrist injury), and probably Tristan Thompson too, unless his contract situation changes unexpectedly. So having Love available would be some much-needed good news. But it’s more important that Love (and everyone else) is healthy for the playoffs. If he’s not ready to play, there’s no need to rush back for an October game.

Greg Smith fails physical, will not join Pelicans

Greg Smith
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With both starter Omer Asik and backup Alexis Ajinca out injured for the rest of the preseason (and maybe a little longer), the Pelicans are looking for a center to put next to Anthony Davis for a stretch. That could include a handful of regular season games.

Greg Smith was going to be that man, but the 24-year-old failed his physical, reports the Times-Picayune.

The New Orleans Pelicans were set to sign power forward Greg Smith, but sources said Friday night that he failed his physical examination and will not be joining the team.

And so the search goes on.

The problem is, there are not quality big men still out there on the market, there is a limited supply and just about anyone worth having is spoken for. A few with non-guaranteed contracts may be waived as we get closer to the end of training camps, but that is likely a couple of weeks away.

With both Asik and Ajinca expected back in a few weeks, it’s not worth making a trade or some big move to bring in a center, the Pelicans are just going to have to live with what is out there.