We're still a few months away from the upcoming season but there are already numerous of marquee players who no longer will be playing for the franchise they've been associated with in the past.
3-time NBA champion Dwyane Wade leaves Miami Heat after 13 seasons to to play for the Chicago Bulls.
Former MVP Kevin Durant leaves Oklahoma City Thunder after nine seasons with the team (including the one in Seattle) to play for the Golden State Warriors enemy!
4-time All-Star Al Horford leaves Atlanta Hawks after nine seasons to play for Boston Celtics.
Former DPOY Joakim Noah leaves Chicago Bulls after nine seasons to go back home and play for the New York Knicks.
Hometown kid and former MVP Derrick Rose does the same as he leaves Chicago Bulls after eight seasons (questionable... on behalf of all Chicago Bulls fans, fuck you, basketball gods) to play for New York Knicks.
Those are all players whom have stayed with their former franchise for the full length of their careers.
It might take a while before your brain does its thing and the image of those guys in new jerseys sink in.
Just like Wade 2-time NBA champion Chris Bosh might leave Miami Heat after six seasons as the Heat organization seems unwilling to clear him for action for the upcoming season.
Bosh has three years left on his contract and looks to be as motivated as ever, openly talking about how he's ramping up his training schedule and expects to get cleared before the season begins.
If Miami denies him to play on blood thinners we will probably see some type of deal go through to get him out of Miami and try to get cleared by another team. If that doesn't work... Fuck.
We can expect a decision within the nearest weeks, before training camp starts.
What perhaps is even more noteworthy are the number star players retiring from the NBA this year.
Aaany second now... While it's not for certain yet I think most of us expects Kevin Garnett to announce that he will be leaving Minnesota Timberwolves - at least as a player - within the following weeks.
If he does so he will have played 21 seasons in the NBA, spending almost 14 seasons in Minnesota, six in Boston and a bit over one season in Brooklyn.
When Garnett got selected with the 5th overall pick in the 1995 draft he became the first player since 1975 to get drafted straight out of high school.
1x NBA Champion (2008)
1x NBA Most Valuable Player (2004)
1x NBA Defensive Player of the Year (2008)
15x NBA All-Star (1997, 1998, 2000 – 2011, 2013)
4x All-NBA First Team (2000, 2003, 2004, 2008)
3x All-NBA Second Team (2001, 2002, 2005)
2x All-NBA Third Team (1999, 2007)
9x NBA All-Defensive First Team (2000–2005, 2008, 2009, 2011)
3x NBA All-Defensive Second Team (2006, 2007, 2012)
4x NBA Rebounding Champion (2004-2007)
In his full career Garnett has played 1,462 games, averaging 17.8 points, 10.0 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 1.3 steals and 1.4 blocks per game while shooting .497 from the field, .275 from three and .789 from the line.
For 9 consecutive seasons seasons he averaged at least 20 points, 10 rebounds and 4 assists per game, making him the only player in NBA history to do so. He's also the only player in NBA history to reach at least 25,000 points, 10,000 rebounds, 5,000 assists, 1,500 steals and 1,500 blocks in his career.
The only power forward who could contain prime KG was Tim Duncan. This guy will go down as a top 5 power forward to ever have played in the NBA.
Kevin Garnett's Top 10 Plays on the Minnesota Timberwolves
His farewell tour kept going for so long that it feels like it was three seasons ago he announced his retirement. Kobe Bryant has left Los Angeles Lakers to retire after 20 seasons in the league, spending them all in LA.
Bryant got selected with the 13th overall pick in the 1996 draft and just like Kevin Garnett he entered the league straight out of high school, thus becoming the first guard ever to do so.
5x NBA Champion (2000–2002, 2009, 2010)
1x NBA Most Valuable Player (2008)
18x NBA All-Star (1998, 2000–2016)
11x All-NBA First Team (2002–2004, 2006–2013)
2x All-NBA Second Team (2000, 2001)
2x All-NBA Third Team (1999, 2005)
9x NBA All-Defensive First Team (2000, 2003, 2004, 2006–2011)
9x NBA All-Defensive Second Team (2001, 2002, 2012)
2x NBA Scoring Champion (2006, 2007)
In his full career Bryant played 1,346 games, averaging 25.0 points, 5.2 rebounds, 4.7 assists, 1.4 steals and .5 blocks per game while shooting .447 from the field, .329 from three and .837 from the line.
He is the only player in NBA history with more than 30,000 points, 6,000 assists and 6,000 rebounds and second only to the player he tried to copy as the best shooting guard of all time.
Kobe Bryant's Career Milestones
In contrast to Kobe, Tim Duncan leaves San Antonio Spurs in stealth mode to retire after 19 seasons in the league, spending them all in San Antonio.
Duncan played four years of college ball at Wake Forest before he got selected with the 1st overall pick in the 1997 NBA draft.
5x NBA champion (1999, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2014)
2x NBA Most Valuable Player (2002, 2003)
15x NBA All-Star (1998, 2000–2011, 2013, 2015)
10x All-NBA First Team (1998–2005, 2007, 2013)
3x All-NBA Second Team (2006, 2008, 2009)
2x All-NBA Third Team (2010, 2015)
8x NBA All-Defensive First Team (1999–2003, 2005, 2007, 2008)
7x NBA All-Defensive Second Team (1998, 2004, 2006, 2009–2010, 2013, 2015)
NBA Rookie of the Year (1998)
In his full career Duncan played 1,392 games, averaging 19.0 points, 10.8 rebounds, 3.0 assists, .7 steals and 2.2 blocks per game while shooting .506 from the field, .179 from three and .696 from the line.
Timmy didn't have a lot of flash, but he is the only player in NBA history who have been selected the NBA All-Defensive team 15 times. As a side note he's also the best power forward to ever play the game.
Tim Duncan's career top 10 plays
On July 26, 2016 Amar'e Stoudemire signed with the New York Knicks just to retire the very same day. He did this in order to end his NBA career as a true Knickerbocker! Yeah, Phoenix wasn't up for it..
Stoudemire played 14 seasons in the league, spending eight seasons in Phoenix, almost five in New York, half a season in Dallas and one in Miami.
Stoudemire was another high school phenom who skipped college and got selected with the 9th overall pick in 2002, straight out of high school.
6x NBA All-Star (2005, 2007–2011)
1x All-NBA First Team (2007)
4x All-NBA Second Team (2005, 2008, 2010, 2011)
3x League Leader in 2-Pt Field Goals (2005, 2010, 2011)
NBA Rookie of the Year (2003)
In his full NBA career Stoudemire played 846 games, averaging 18.9 points, 7.8 rebounds, 1.2 assists, .8 steals and 1.2 blocks per game while shooting .537 from the field, .236 from three and .761 from the line.
Before his microfracture surgery he was one of the best scorers in the league. It's a shame that we never got to see Stoudemire live up to his true potential, still he's possibly a top 25 power forward to ever have played in the NBA.
Stoudemire doesn't seem to be completely done with his basketball career however, as he just a few days after his NBA retirement signed with Hapoel Jerusalem in the Israeli Premier League.
Amar'e Stoudemire's career top 10 plays
"I’m 40 years old. Nothing’s guaranteed in life, so basketball - I’m pretty much, probably 80, 90 percent sure I won’t play, but you never know. I might wake up saying “I wanna go play” because I enjoy and love the game."
He might not be a superstar, but he is the oldest player in the NBA, Andre Miller!
Miller also seems to be leaving San Antonio to retire after 17 seasons, spending three seasons in Cleveland, one in Los Angeles with the Clippers, ~six in Denver, three in Philadelphia, two in Portland, ~one season in Washington and at last less than a full season in Sacramento, Minnesota and San Antonio.
After playing four seasons in college for the Utah Utes Miller was selected with the 8th overall pick in the 1999 draft and became a really solid starting point guard. He never quite reached the level to gain a whole lot of achievements and awards, but with 10.9 assists per game he did lead the league in assists in 2001 - 2002.
In his full career Miller played 1,304 games, averaging 12.5 points, 3.7 rebounds, 6.5 assists, 1.2 steals and .2 blocks per game while shooting .461 from the field, .217 from three and .807 from the line.
Andre Miller's career highlights
Those are all special players, we should consider ourselves lucky to have been able to watch them play.
Between 1999 and 2014, Kobe and Duncan alone have gathered 10 out of 16 possible rings. KG stole one of the remaining six. But the domination is over and an era has ended.
If we're unlucky these upcoming seasons might be the last we see of other big names like Dirk Nowitzki, Paul Pierce, Manu Ginobili, Pau Gasol, Vince Carter, Mike Miller and David West, who are all nearing the end of their careers. Both Vince and Dirk have said that they expect to play at least two more years, but with pro athletes, you never know.
So... I don't really know why I made this post in the first place, but I've spent too much time checking up those career achievements not to post it. I guess we should really appreciate the stars we have in this league, they're incredible and not here forever.
Even if we all thought that Tim Duncan would be playing for our grandchildren.