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ESPN Article on Hakeem

Discussion in 'Houston Rockets: Game Action & Roster Moves' started by tariq, Aug 26, 2002.

  1. tariq

    tariq Member

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    http://espn.go.com/nba/columns/lawrence_mitch/1422872.html

    Ewing, Olajuwon should bow out together

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    By Mitch Lawrence
    Special to ESPN.com


    While Antonio McDyess was visiting the New York area to find a house a few weeks back, he worked out with Patrick Ewing in the Knicks' facilities.

    "We lifted weights. We ran hills. We did one-on-one drills together," McDyess said. "But Patrick didn't offer me any advice on playing in New York."

    If anyone needs to be taking advice these days, it's Ewing, and it's fairly simple.


    In April, Patrick Ewing appeared to say goodbye to Knicks fans at Madison Square Garden ...
    Quit, Pat.

    Put aside your pride and your sneakers and call it a career.

    The same goes for Hakeem Olajuwon. The Dream should hang 'em up, too.

    There's nothing sadder than seeing a great athlete try to play well past his prime. But that's where we are with Olajuwon and Ewing, two sure-fire Hall of Fame centers. How bad has it gotten for the pair, who went head-to-head in the 1994 Finals? Last season, both were benched for teams that didn't exactly have Shaquille O'Neal starting in the middle.

    It was a delicate situation in Orlando for Doc Rivers, a former teammate of Ewing from their days with the Knicks. The Magic coach loved Ewing's contributions -- off the court.

    "Just being around Patrick, the young guys can learn so much," Rivers said late last season.

    But not when it came to playing. Ewing got only four starts in 65 games and wound up doing nothing in the playoffs. Rivers wanted to delicately move Ewing out of the picture, and even went so far as to offer him a chance to stay on to coach the Magic's big men. But Ewing apparently still feels he can play. He's in the minority, since the Magic, who are still looking for a competent center, bought out his contract this offseason.

    Although Ewing has talked to Knicks brass about a future position in the organization, he wasn't running the hills of Westchester County with McDyess for his health. He wouldn't be going through workouts if he didn't think he could still play.

    But Ewing should face some hard facts and stop. He's never going to win a ring, but he wouldn't be the first great who walked away without taking home championship jewelry. The list starts with Elgin Baylor and includes George Gervin, Bob Lanier, Charles Barkley, Karl Malone and John Stockton.

    Not bad company, right?

    But Ewing's best chance at winning a title has come and gone. The Lakers aren't interested, even if Shaq has to miss the opening two months after surgery on his arthritic toe.

    In fact, it's hard to see what team would want Ewing at this stage. He has always been linked with Michael Jordan and Pat Riley. But Jordan had no interest in Ewing joining the Wizards two years ago. And coming off his first lottery season, Riley can't take a gamble on Ewing.

    On Aug. 5, Ewing celebrated his 40th birthday. Although there have been some legendary centers to play past the big 4-oh -- Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Robert Parish come to mind -- Ewing hasn't been a factor since he left the Knicks in 2000. He was a washout with Seattle two years ago and was an even bigger bust with Orlando last season.

    The worst thing to happen to Ewing? The 1999 lottery. One of the Players Association key members in the negotiating sessions, he never got himself back into top-notch playing shape once the lockout ended.


    ...and in March, Hakeem Olajuwon acted like he was saying farewell to Rockets fans in Houston.
    The latest on Olajuwon is that he's still unsure what he wants to do. Would he walk away from $5.7 million this season and another guaranteed $6.5 million next? That's highly doubtful. But having turned 39 last January, and with injuries taking their toll, he should retire.

    "I have spoken to him and it's unclear what's happening right now," Toronto executive Glen Grunwald said last week. "We're waiting for Hakeem to work things out for himself."

    What's there to work out, except for a buyout? Because of a variety of ailments, Olajuwon hasn't played a full season in five years. Sadly, it's been that long. Last season, his first in Toronto, he put up some pretty unsightly numbers in 61 games: 7.1 points, 6.0 rebounds and 22.6 minutes per game -- all career lows.

    The lowest moment had to come when Lenny Wilkens benched the ineffective Olajuwon for Eric Montross. That should have been the Dream's cue to announce he was leaving.

    All things being equal, the Raptors would do better if Olajuwon were out of the picture entirely. Once he goes, Antonio Davis could return to the middle. Some scouts think Davis' drop-off last season was because he moved to power forward.

    Now look what Toronto has in the middle. Keon Clark left as a free agent for Sacramento. Montross finished the season with a stress fracture in his foot. Michael Stewart can never get healthy. The only other option is someone named Nate Huffman.

    Clearly, the Raptors could use the old Hakeem Olajuwon. But not this old one.

    Around the league
    With ex-Magic point guard Troy Hudson agreeing to sign Monday for three years with Minnesota (Year 3 is at Hudson's option), it looks like Cleveland will go with either Travis Best or Rod Strickland. The Cavs want to sign a veteran play-maker, since they've already concluded Dajuan Wagner can play only the "two." ... No surprise that the Nets exercised their option on Kenyon Martin, locking up the starting power forward for two more years minimum. "We've got two members of the all-defense team in Dikembe (Mutombo) and Jason (Kidd)," Nets coach Byron Scott said. "And I really think that Kenyon, one day, will be on that team, too." ... The timetable on Shaquille O'Neal's return calls for him to miss a week or two of the season after surgery to repair his right big toe. But sources close to Shaq say privately they wouldn't be surprised if O'Neal has to miss a month or two. Either they know he's a slow healer or know how much stock he puts in the regular season. Very little, if you want to know the truth.
     
  2. Sofine81

    Sofine81 Member

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    The Dream is gone the Dream is gone awayyyy.

    So long buddy, thanks for the memories!
     
  3. codell

    codell Contributing Member

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    Whether Dream retires now or retires when his contract is up doesnt really matter to me. Hes earned the right to go out on his own terms. That being said, I think once he does retire, he should retire as a Rocket! Last week, Randall Cunningham signed a contract with the Eagles and then retired. As an Eagle! Whatever it takes, when Hakeem decides its time, the Rockets should do whatever it takes to get him back on our roster and let him retire as a Rocket!
     
  4. aznlincolnpark

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    I suggest that nba player reaches their early 40's should retire....Let the young players play :D
     
  5. mateo

    mateo Contributing Member

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    Codell, nice thought, but we have cap issues and dont need to throw half a million in there just to give Hakeem a Rocket farewell. We did that in the T-Wolves game....
     
  6. codell

    codell Contributing Member

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    Who said half a mill? Besides, it doesnt matter how much his contract is. If he decides he wants to retire as a Rocket and we get him back in our uniform, he retires. Once he retires, we dont owe him anything! So money is not an issue.
     
  7. Wakko67

    Wakko67 Contributing Member

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    That was a great night. :)

    I hope Dream doesn't wait until there's absolutely nothing left for him to bring. He's not horrible now, he's just old. Maybe one more year, but even that's stretching it.

    I wish him the best of luck. The Greatest Rocket Ever Known.
     
  8. costashater2

    costashater2 Member

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    I think Hakeem should play as long he is wants to. It is up to him and despite final stats Hakeem was a decent back up player last year. He was better than any Rockets center last year. He has 2 more years on his contract but I just him playing this year and that is it.
     
  9. smoothie

    smoothie Jabari Jungle

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    its fairly obviouse that dream should call it quits. ewing should havve been gone 2 years ago.

    pat should take the front office job for the wiz, and dream should have his farewell season.
     

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