Breaking News:

Keep up with So Much Sports on Twitter @SoMuchSports

The Forgotten Free Agents

In a year where free agency headline’s have been dominated by names like LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh, Amar’e Stoudemire, and Carlos Boozer, the two guys with the most established careers are still on the market.

At one point in their respective careers, both Shaquille O’Neal and Allen Iverson were considered to be the face of the NBA. While both are seen a guys who are “over the hill” or at the end of their playing days, one must wonder how neither one is drawing much, if any, attention from NBA teams looking to add a player that could put them over the top.

While money may be one issue preventing these two guys from finding a team, both have accepted that at this point in their careers they are going to be reserve players and are willing to be support players, which is especially surprising from a guy like Iverson.

Iverson used to be known as the answer. But now he’s just known as the problem. At 35-years-old he’s far from the two-time MVP he once was. He is no longer a guy that can average 30+ points a game, and he is no longer a guy that can lead his team to sic playoff berths, but Iverson has come a long way in just a short amount of time. We either loved or loved to hate the man known as “The Answer”. He was a guy who would always say what was on his mind, never back down from a problem, but back it up ever time he stepped out on the court for a game. But last year when Iverson’s attitude almost pushed him into early retirement, he can back, and you did not hear a peep out of him while he was simply a role player with the Philadelphia 76ers last season.

But even in his role where he was no longer the focus of the team, Iverson averaged 13.5 points and 4 assists over 28 games, but still showed that he has ability from long range, hitting 36% of his shots.

For a team looking for an outside shooter, or a team just looking for a star studded name to try and attract fans to go to a game, Iverson would be a perfect pickup, especially since he was a cheap starter last year, only being paid $650,686.

O’Neal is a different story. Shaq might be one of the most lovable players in NBA history. While some may not like him because he played for a rival, it was hard to hate the 7’1″ 325 lbs center who never quite grew up. Whether it was because of his attempts at a rap career, roles a genies, or obsession with Superman, Shaq was always seen as one of the most fun athletes in all of sports. But his endeavors off the court never effected his play on the court. He averaged 20+ points his first 14 seasons, and a double-double his first 13. After Michael Jordan finally called it quits in 1998 (No I’m not counting his brief stint in Washington), the league belonged to Shaq, and four NBA championships and his fun look at life had a lot to do with it.

It’s no question that at this point in his career O’Neal is just a guy who is bordering between role player and reserve. But the “Big Mercenary” can sure do some damage. He may not have delivered a ring to LeBron James, but he was one of the team’s top players in the playoffs.

Now, Shaq’s role has definitely changed. He’s gone from a guy who can dominate in the paint and be the team’s leading scorer, to the guy who is needed to stop Dwight Howard. That is the key at this point in his career. The Cavaliers brought him on the team for one reason and one reason only- stop Dwight Howard, and last season the team went 2-2 against the Orlando Magic during the regular season, which is an improvement from the 1-2 record with a -34 point differential they posted in the regular season two years ago.

Signs do point to Shaq signing with the Atlanta Hawks, who were dominated by Dwight Howard in the playoffs last season, but for any team looking to get a guy who fans will love, players will respect, and opposing teams will still have to worry about inside, Shaq would be an excellent pick-up.

The following two tabs change content below.

Corey Johns

Editor in Chief
You could say Corey was born to become a sports journalist. His father won a national championship coaching college soccer. His mother is a baseball fanatic who hasn't missed seeing an Orioles game since 1983 (literally, sometimes it's annoying). His great uncle was a big-time boxing promoter and his maternal grandfather was once a department head at the Baltimore Sun. Basically, sports and journalism run through his blood. He played just about every little league sports there was when he was a kid and was a multi-sport athlete in high school; even playing in the first-ever high school sanction Rugby game in the country. Eventually he retired from sports as an undefeated Maryland state Rugby champion as a high school senior. Perhaps lack of athletic talent has more to do with the retirement, but he will tell you that it more had to do with a great desire to jump right into media. Upon his graduation from University of Maryland, Baltimore County as a triple communications major, Corey started the So Much Sports network and has continued to grow his websites and continues to work to make them premier sports media outlets.

Comments are closed.