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Time To Hang It Up: Five NBA Forwards That Should Retire During The Offseason

A successful basketball career can be grueling for even the finest NBA athletes. That's especially true of the forward position, which can inflict lots of damage on a player's body.

The following NBA forwards have done a remarkable job to stick around for this long, but it might be time to hang it up.

With that in mind, this article will look at the five players who would be better off retiring and moving on to the next chapter of their lives. In order to be eligible, a player must have played at least one game in the 2022-23 NBA season.


#5. Marcus Morris Sr. (Los Angeles Clippers)

If there is one player right now who knows what it feels like to be hated by his own fanbase, it's Marcus Morris. For many years, Morris played like a star in a role player's body, and that mentality reached a new level in 2019-20 with the New York Knicks. After Morris infamously backed out of his verbal agreement with San Antonio, Morris played 43 games on a 21-45 Knicks team, where he put up awesome numbers as a "tank commander". Morris averaged 19.6 points and shot 44% from deep, which was enough to convince the Clippers to trade for him. Morris put up solid numbers in the 2020 playoffs (despite getting into multiple fights) and the 2020-21 season, but reverted to his old shot-chucker ways without Paul George and Kawhi Leonard in 2021-22.

This season, Morris has failed to provide his team with any real value. He has never been a good defender and has always been a terrible playmaker and rebounder, and when his shots aren't falling, he's just a black hole on offense. Since Kawhi Leonard's resurgence in January, Morris has averaged 8.1 points per game while shooting 39.7% from the field and 32% from three. Morris is basically like Carmelo Anthony right now, and if Melo can't get back into the league, Morris should be out of the league as well. Oh, and there is no way that Morris should be earning over 15 million a season with his level of production.


#4. Rudy Gay (Atlanta Hawks)

*Update: Gay has been traded to the Atlanta Hawks as part of a deal that sent John Collins to Utah

Rudy Gay was the man for a while. Sure, he had a career winning percentage of 41.3% before joining San Antonio in the later stages of his career, and sure, he only ever played in 19 playoff games and never won a series, but he was an entertaining scorer with a very pretty jumper and was a high flying dunker, especially in his earlier days. Gay's days as a high flyer came to an abrupt end on January 18, 2017, when he sustained a full rupture of his left Achilles tendon while playing the Indiana Pacers. Gay actually improvised and became a good role player and extended his career length, and is easily one of the best players to ever come back from an Achilles tear, but his age has caught up to him.

His numbers are terrible now, and he is only really hanging around as a mentor. Rudy was really unlucky throughout his 16-year career. He had all the tools to be one of the best, but injuries and playing for terrible teams got in the way. Who knows how great he could have been had things gone his way, but hey, scoring 17,642 regular season points (good enough for 86th all-time) is not bad at all. He's one of the most respected players in the league, so he'll make a great transition to the coaching side of the game if he wants to take that route.


#3. Thaddeus Young (Toronto Raptors)

A man who was right there to see the play that changed Rudy Gay's career forever on January 18, 2017, is Thad Young, who was a Pacer at the time. Young has always been a very productive player, averaging 15.6 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 1.8 steals per 36 minutes while shooting 50.3% from the field. He has also added a layer of playmaking in recent years, averaging 5.1 assists per 36 over the past three seasons. Unlike Gay, Young was never flashy, but much like Gay, he has played in a lot of bad teams, only winning one playoff series throughout his career.

Young is probably most remembered for being one of the first players involved in an infamous trade cycle that is seemingly never-ending, which started with the Andrew Wiggins-Kevin Love trade in 2014, which has caused many trades such as Thaddeus Young for Kevin Garnett and later, Caris LeVert, LeVert, and Victor Oladipo get traded in James Harden's trade to Brooklyn, Oladipo for Kelly Olynyk, and Olynyk for Bojan Bogdanovic. This crazy cycle will continue if Bogdanovic gets traded soon, which is pretty likely.

Crazy trade cycles aside, Young had easily the worst season of his career last year, highlighted by an altercation with 2022 Rookie of the Year Scottie Barnes. Young's quiet but steady production has netted him almost 140 million in his NBA career, and he can walk away from the game with his head held high. And he won't have to argue with players who were first-graders when he was drafted into the league.


#2. Kevin Love (Miami Heat)

Speaking of the Cavs' trade for Kevin Love, this season marked the official finale of the Love era in Cleveland. Love is by far the most decorated player on this list, as he's a former NBA champion, a five-time All-Star, and has earned two All-NBA selections. Love will have a pretty solid argument for making the Hall of Fame someday, but this season was one to forget. One year after finishing second in Sixth Man of the Year voting after a great season off the bench, Love's efficiency took a nosedive. Love will always be a tremendous rebounder, but was never a good defender, specifically out of the pick-and-roll, and has only gotten worse with his age and injuries.

To be effective as a big in today's NBA, you need to be a good switch defender out of the pick-and-roll or hit a high percentage of your deep shots, and Love isn't doing either of these things this season. He hasn't been much better since he "took his talents to South Beach" just like his friend LeBron James. With thumb, knee, calf, back, and Achilles injuries in recent seasons, it's no wonder why Love's play has suffered, especially with the thumb injury that has hindered his shot. Love can try his luck in Miami this year, but it's doubtful if he wants to play again after all these injuries.


#1. Justise Winslow (Portland Trail Blazers)

All of these guys are in their 30s while Justise Winslow has just turned 27. So why is he on this list? Well, it's because Justise has the body of a 40-year-old NBA vet, and that's not a good thing. Back in 2018-19, the future was bright for Justise, he was putting up solid numbers for the Heat as a 22-year-old, and he started to bring the ball up the court due to injuries to PG Goran Dragic.

Then a back injury changed everything for him. He only played in 37 out of 145 possible regular season games in 2019-20 and 2020-21, got traded, and barely played for his new team, the Grizzlies. Winslow then struggled with an ankle issue that ended his 2022-23 season prematurely.

Winslow has just played 2,409 minutes of basketball over the last four seasons. For reference, Mikal Bridges played 2,963 minutes this season, with Mikal being born in the same year as Justise (1996). To make things look even worse for Winslow, a 33-year-old LeBron James logged over 3000 minutes in the 2017-18 season.

When Winslow has been available, he's been a solid effort guy with solid defense but has been flat-out terrible as a shooter, shooting 39.7% from the floor and a putrid 23.4% from deep in this four-season stretch. Justise is a clear example of injuries ruining a career, and he's pretty much finished as a meaningful NBA contributor.

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