Antawn Jamison Says Next Season Could Be His Last
The Cleveland forward already has started to think about retirement. He said before Saturday night's 127-99 loss to Denver at the Pepsi Center that next season, the last on his contract, could be the final one of his NBA career.
"Definitely,'' Jamison, 34, said in an interview with FanHouse about that being a possibility. "I've done a lot, man. This is my 13th year and next year will be my 14th year. A lot of people don't get the opportunity to say that they've played for that many years. And to know that I've left everything I throw on the court has been a blessing for me.''
Jamison, making $13.36 million this season and $15.08 million next season, said there's a chance he could look to sign on for one more year after that. But then that definitely would be it.
"I know the window of opportunity is closing in ... for my career,'' said Jamison, averaging 16.5 points this season for the woeful Cavaliers. "Physically, I can play the game for another five or six years. Mentally, I got another one or two years in me. I can live with that. I've enjoyed my career and done a lot of things. The only thing I got to do is to win a championship. But I got one more year left on my contract. If nothing happens by then, I can be happy with it being a career unless an opportunity comes up to play for one year after that.
"But I got four kids (ranging in age from 1 to 10 with wife Ione). I've been away from home a long time. There's nothing wrong with being daddy day care and just enjoy life with them. I can actually see myself doing that (after next season). ... I'll go to PTA meetings.''
Later, though, Jamison realized going to such meetings might be a bit too much to promise.
"I say that now, but when (he retires), I probably won't,'' Jamison said.
Jamison is a two-time All-Star with a career scoring average of 19.7, and nine times has averaged more than 19 in a season. The only serious omission on his resume has been not winning a championship ring.
Jamison never has come close, having never made it past the second round of the playoffs. His best chance at a title was last season, when he was traded in February from Washington to the Cavaliers, who finished with the NBA's best record.
But you know the story. Cleveland was upset by Boston in the second round of the playoffs, LeBron James bolted, and now the Cavaliers (8-32) are conjuring up memories of the Ted Stepien years of the 1980s.
"Last year, I really wanted an opportunity,'' Jamison said of a championship. "I pretty much had the best opportunity I could possibly get. I came here knowing when I was traded the possibility of LeBron not being here (this season). I knew that. I had a chance and that's all I can ask for. So if it's blessed and there comes another chance, so be it. But I'm not going to try to sit here and say, 'Get rid of me. I want to go somewhere else because of what's going on here.' So, until that happens, I'm still going to go out here and compete every night.''
The rebuilding Cavaliers would love to trade Jamison due to his big contract, but that won't be easy. And Jamison insists he's not going to ask to be moved.
"I've been in trade rumors for eight straight years now,'' said Jamison, dealt from Golden State to Dallas in 2003, the Mavericks to Washington in 2004 and having his name regularly come up with the Wizards until finally being moved last February. "So until my agent or the (Cleveland) front office tells me anything, I don't even listen to it.
"That's business. Whether they say (the Cavaliers are looking to deal him) or whether they say, 'We want you to stay here and continue to do the things you're doing,' you can't complain either way.''
Jamison doesn't. He regularly mentors Cleveland's many young players.
"One of the best I've ever been around, the way he carries himself every day,'' Cavaliers guard Daniel Gibson said of Jamison. "Coming into work, trying to motivate guys. On top of that, he's a hell of a player. That's a great combination. I watch him how he treats the rookies, trying to show them the right and wrong things to do. He's definitely somebody that sets a great example."
It hasn't been easy. The Cavaliers have dropped 13 straight and 27 of their past 30 games. They have lost 19 straight on the road and never had a chance Saturday.
It didn't help that the Cavaliers dressed just eight players due to injuries. They were down to seven when guard Mo Williams was lost for the night five minutes into the game with a left hip flexor.
"We knew it was going to be a transition,'' Jamison said of the season. "We've got injuries and are just trying to plug away at being close. A couple of games ago, we really got embarrassed (losing 112-57 last Tuesday to the Lakers). But nobody is going to feel sorry for us. We got a lot of these young guys looking at me for guidance.
"Just trying to lead by example. It's hard, but I'm just going out there and trying to have fun and compete. ... (But) I don't think you ever imagine this. Worst record in basketball. So that's definitely not the plan that we had.''
As the losses pile up, Williams also has found his name in trade rumors.
"I don't really pay too much attention to it,'' Williams said. "Obviously when you are the worst team in the NBA, you're going to have your name (out there).''
Like Jamison, Williams is a former All-Star. And Williams says he has "similar frustrations'' to Jamison.
Jamison, though, tries not to show his. He wants to relish what time he has left before any talk of PTA meetings surfaces.
Chris Tomasson can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @christomasson