Tip-Off Timer: Lindsey Hunter, NBA's Oldest Player, Born in '70
Whether he realizes it or not, Lindsey Hunter became the answer to a trivia question this summer: he's now the oldest player under contract in the NBA. Hunter was born on December 3, 1970, which means there are exactly zero players left in the NBA born in the 1960s. Dikembe Mutombo, who turned 43 in June, was previously the NBA's elder statesman, but he's now a free agent, after suffering a serious knee injury in April, he announced his intentions to retire.
To put into context just how long his Hunter's career has spanned, he shared the court with Isiah Thomas, Joe Dumars and Bill Laimbeer as a rookie. He was the 11th overall pick of the 1993 draft, behind the likes of Chris Webber, Shawn Bradley, Penny Hardaway and Jamal Mashburn, all of whom are long since retired.
Sam Cassell, 39, was technically employed by the Celtics and Kings last season but didn't play a single minute, and he joined Flip Saunders' staff as an assistant coach in Washington before he had a chance to take the torch from Mutombo. He followed in the footsteps of Darrell Armstrong, 41, who last played in 2007-08 before joining Rick Carlisle's staff as a rookie assistant coach in Dallas last season.
It's always possible that Robert Horry, who turns 39 later this month, or P.J. Brown, who turns 40 in October, could latch on with a contender and bump Hunter down a notch, but they've each been out of the game for over a year.
Drafted as the heir to Isiah Thomas' throne, Hunter didn't quite live up to those initial expectations but obviously carved out a successful NBA career. He's won two NBA titles, his first as a part-time starter for the 2002 Lakers followed by another during his second stint with the Pistons in 2004.
Hunter was reportedly contemplating retirement in 2006 -- but that was three years and three contracts ago. After signing with the Bulls last summer, he re-signed a for the veteran's minimum last month. He's averaged 8.6 points per game over his career and is still one of the better on-the-ball defenders in the NBA, although the Bulls likely brought him back to continue his role as a mentor for Derrick Rose more so than his playing ability.
Whenever Hunter decides to hang them up, Bruce Bowen, who turned 38 in June, is next in line for "oldest player" honors.