Pippen's talking about a return; and, can 'retired' vets help the younger players who may be too fragile for a full NBA season?
Sorry about combining topics, but I don't expect much response here, mostly want to do some pondering 'aloud.'
1)There are some excellent players out there who no longer want to, or can, play a full season + playoffs, but might be able to join a team after the trade deadline for veteran's minimum and contribute. Do you think Reggie Miller might help a team?
It doesn't take a lot of players to skew the league; look what Alonzo Mourning did for Miami last year after he forced Toronto to waive him; and look at the way aging vets have been willing to sign on to winning franchises in hopes of getting a ring, even if they come off the bench. Obviously, this will not help the Clippers; in fact, it will only help winners to keep winning. Integrating the players will be a challenge, but then again, they're vets, and seem to have no ego issues at this point.
2) Players can no longer enter the NBA straight from high-school (by and large). Does that lack of the intermediate period between HS and NBA, aka 'college ball,' help to make the players 'grow into their bodies,' and thus actually make their careers longer and more productive, despite foregoing three years of income? I would say, for some yes, for some no; but how does one develop a rule, or guidelines, to help the prospect make the right choice?
For example -- if Livingston's career is over now, he made ~ $14 million he wouldn't have made if his injury occured at Duke.
On the other hand, he would have been playing fewer games, and fewer minutes/game, at Duke, and against smaller opponents. While his latest injury was not caused by contact, who knows what part the brutal NBA season played in his collapse?
On a side note, if you're 17 and want to play, but don't want to waste a year in college, why not go to Europe?
3) Coincidentally, the trade deadline happens just about the time when rookies and sophomores are hitting the wall. Maybe the vets can be brought in to help the new guys get through the tough end-of-the-season days, and leave all available for post-season.
This reminds me of a question -- what purpose is served by having only 12 guys suit up? If you're paying for 15, why not have 15 available?
And why are D League guys still counted against the 15? If the NBA wants a real farm system, let a team sign 30 guys, if they want. If they're worried about a few rich franchises grabbing all the prospects, put another luxury tax in place -- that will stop everybody but the Knicks.