Carmelo Anthony is reportedly back in the NBA. Players across the league are excited, including veteran Jamal Crawford, who is still eyeing a return himself. That led us to look at 11 veterans who are still waiting for a call.
1. Jamal Crawford: In the final game of last season, he scored 51 points, a rather remarkable distinction just by itself. Meanwhile, he waits to see if that last ballistic game was in fact the last he’ll ever play in the NBA.
2. J.R. Smith: He has a laundry list of issues, yet above all, Smith has useable skills, even now. He’s valued for 3-point shooting and defense. Yet, after being told by the Cavs to stay away last season, his past may have finally caught up to him.
3. Kenneth Faried: Surprisingly, Faried isn’t on a roster despite being 29. His last three seasons, however, have seen a dramatic drop-off from his peak with the Nuggets earlier this decade when the Manimal was a double-double player. Faried reportedly signed a deal to play in China earlier this month.
4. Corey Brewer: A fluid and flexible wing who’s just 33. He brings reasonably solid defense although he has never been a prime scorer and his 3-point shooting in particular is spotty — just 28% for his career. Brewer last played for the Sixers and Kings last season, appearing in 31 games. His last job as a rotation regular was with the Rockets in 2015.
5. Joakim Noah: After years of dealing with injuries and a suspension, Noah found life with the Grizzlies last season, scoring 22 points with 11 rebounds in one game. But he’s 34. Hard to believe, but he was a Kia MVP candidate several years ago.
6. Jonathon Simmons: Two summers ago he signed a free agent contract with Orlando. But after being dealt to Philly in the Markelle Fultz trade and then dealt again to Washington and released by the Wizards this summer, Simmons has yet to get the call. Springy and athletic, he’s probably headed back soon.
7. Raymond Felton: A solid setup point guard even during his declining years, Felton had solid backup roles with the Knicks and Thunder as of late. There were questions about his conditioning even during his prime years, however, and more now at age 35.
8. Devin Harris: A smart point guard who has seemingly been around forever, Harris had meaty seasons with the Mavericks but hasn’t been a regular starter since 2012. Good shooters are always in some level of demand, which is why Harris has found work since 2004.
9. Quincy Pondexter: Injuries have interrupted his career numerous times: hamstring, knee and foot. He played for the Spurs last season but saw just five minutes a night.
10. Dante Cunningham: A hustling energy player who has never been a regular starter in his career, yet is valued for his willingness to play a role. He played the last two seasons with three teams: Brooklyn, Spurs, Pelicans.
11. Jodie Meeks: The best 3-point shooter by far in this bunch, Meeks had good timing if nothing else — he signed with the Raptors four months before they won the NBA Finals and therefore earned a ring. He’s a lifetime 37% shooter from deep.
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Shaun Powell has covered the NBA for more than 25 years. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter .
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