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Fran Blinebury

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Despite their advancing ages, Steve Nash and Grant Hill are still quite capable of contributing to a winning team.
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Aging gracefully: These free-agent vets can still bring it


Posted Jun 25 2012 9:08AM

In Hollywood, War Horse is the true story of a four-legged plow animal who comes off the farm to become a real-life hero in World War I. It was turned into a movie directed by Steven Spielberg, and it was nominated for an Oscar. It was a success.

In the NBA, war horses are those players who have galloped miles and miles and already had their time in the sun, but still possess the goods and gumption to help a team succeed.

Here are a half-dozen free agent war horses with plenty of giddyap left:

Steve Nash

Height: 6-3
Weight: 178
Position: PG
Age: 38
Status: Unrestricted
Stats: 12.5 ppg, 10.7 apg, 3.0 rpg

Because of the way Nash dedicates himself to conditioning, he might as well be 38 going on 28. There's no reason to think he couldn't jump-start the offense of a would-be contender and take them to the next level. He is coming off another outstanding season as both a playmaker and scorer and is almost automatic to shoot 59 percent from the field, 40 percent from behind the arc and 90 percent from the free throw line.

Miami is an obvious destination for Nash to finally chase a ring. He hasn't ruled out reuniting with Amar'e Stoudemire in New York. There's no doubt he'll be in great demand and get to choose from among a handful of good landing spots. That is, if he doesn't decide to stay in Phoenix.

Jason Kidd

Height: 6-4
Weight: 210
Position: PG
Age: 39
Status: Unrestricted
Stats: 6.2 ppg, 5.5 apg, 4.1 rpg

After 18 seasons, he's no longer able to get up and down the floor like he once did, but Kidd can still be very effective in small doses. Even at the tail end of his career, Kidd can still contribute in a reserve role because he's simply smarter than just about everybody else. His foot speed has diminished, but he's still effective enough in spurts to get in front of the younger, quicker point guards going to the hole.

Over the past few seasons he became almost a designated 3-point shooter in the Dallas offense and is still able to get more than his share of rebounds from the point. Even if they land Deron Williams, he's still a perfect fit with the Mavs as a back-up, but will attract attention from those who just want to make their teams smarter.

Grant Hill

Height: 6-8
Weight: 225
Position: SF
Age: 39
Status: Restricted
Stats: 10.2 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 2.2 apg

All those seasons on the shelf while recovering from assorted leg and foot injuries have added years to the back end of his career and at this point Hill looks like he'll be racing up and down the floor like a greyhound for another decade.

He can still be an effective slasher on offense, rebounds well and is a very good passer. But his biggest asset over the past several seasons has been as a defender who can guard any position on the court except center and he'd probably be willing to try that if needed. With his smarts and great personality, he makes any locker room better. He's comfortable in Phoenix and as a restricted free agent, that's where he'll most likely stay.

Ray Allen

Height: 6-5
Weight: 205
Position: SG
Age: 37
Status: Unrestricted
Stats: 14.2 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 2.4 apg

Allen was clearly below par throughout the playoffs because of his bone spurs in his ankles that will require surgery. Still he was able to play through the pain and turn in some strong performances late in the Eastern Conference finals against Miami. There were times, especially early in the series, where the future Hall of Famer was clearly well below 100 percent, however.

He'll turn 38 in July and is clearly more of a spot player now. But with good passing skills and a very smart head on his shoulders, he'd be a valuable addition to any would-be contender. Orlando? Miami? If Kevin Garnett decides to keep playing, one more go-round with the Green Machine in Boston would seem to be his first choice.

Marcus Camby

Height: 6-11
Weight: 235
Position: Center
Age: 38
Status: Unrestricted
Stats: 4.9 ppg, 9.0 rpg, 1.4 bpg

The years go by, the uniforms change and he just keeps right on doing what he does -- rebound, play defense and block shots from the weak side with the best of them. After all these years, he still hasn't developed any low post moves, but Camby runs the floor to score in transition and can get his share of put-back buckets.

Since he doesn't care at all about the number of times he touches the ball on offense, he fits in on any team. With a home in the Houston area, he'd like to re-sign with the Rockets and finish his career there.

Andre Miller

Height: 6-2
Weight: 200
Position: PG
Age: 36
Status: Unrestricted
Stats: 9.7 ppg, 6.7 apg, 5.5 rpg

After all these years of running teams and putting up numbers, he still seems to be the guy left out of the conversation when the subject is elite point guard. Miller is as smart as they come and is a bit high-strung. He doesn't want you to suggest that he come off the bench, even at his age.

He still has decent quickness, loves to drive and can find his way to the hoop. Miller is an excellent passer, exceptional ballhandler with an outside shot that comes and goes. Basically if you want high I.Q. and stability, he's your guy. Could he be the perfect bridge in Chicago while Derrick Rose is on the mend? Miami should also take a look.

Fran Blinebury has covered the NBA since 1977. You can e-mail him here and follow him on twitter.

The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting.

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