As his former teammate Antoine Walker plainly observed recently, Pierce chose to re-sign with the Celtics. Big mistake. As this season's standings make clear, the Celtics aren't anywhere close to contending, which is sure to wear on a player who suggested the team trade its No. 1 pick this year to acquire more ready-to-play talent. With a front office seemingly unwilling to make that sort of deal, Pierce isn't likely to keep playing the good solider for long.
2 of 12Manny Millan/SI
He may be having his best season, but he just doesn't fit with the new family-friendly Blazers. Maybe it's his links to the Jail Blazers era, some of which he contributed to. Or maybe it's his seething disdain for the franchise, which bubbled to the surface when it fined him for making an obscene gesture to a crowd in Indiana. In any event, the Blazers have rookie first-round pick LaMarcus Aldridge sitting behind Randolph.
3 of 12Damian Strohmeyer/SI
AK-47 has been curiously ineffective this season, posting his worst numbers since he was a rookie. After he complained in January about wanting a greater role in coach Jerry Sloan's offense, Jazz owner Larry Miller responded on a local radio show that he "cringes" when Kirilenko shoots and that the Russian shot-blocking forward was on "thin ice." It was little surprise that Kirilenko admitted after Miller's remarks that his confidence was at an all-time low.
4 of 12John W. McDonough/SI
The only thing keeping the talented swingman with the Clippers is owner Donald Sterling's support, which is not an insignificant factor considering Sterling writes the checks. But coach Mike Dunleavy seems to have made it his mission this year to bury Maggette's Clippers career, banishing him to the bench and limiting him to the fewest minutes he's played in five years. That isn't the way to keep a player quickly gaining a me-first reputation happy.
5 of 12Rocky Widner/NBAE/Getty Images
J-Rich, coming off offseason knee surgery, was struggling in Don Nelson's scheme more than at any time in his career, even before being sidelined in late December with a broken hand. At only 26, he's young, but at $12.2 million per year, he's expensive. And with 21-year-old Monta Ellis producing numbers already on par with Richardson's career averages, the Warriors aren't likely to make room for him as one of the league's most well-paid sixth men.
6 of 12John W. McDonough/SI
What seemed so right on paper has been full of disappointment in reality. Hughes parlayed a career season in Washington into a five-year, $65 million deal to play Scottie Pippen to LeBron James' Michael Jordan. But the injury-plagued Hughes has rarely meshed well with James in their two seasons together. He is averaging 15 points a game while shooting barely 40 percent from the field.
7 of 12John Biever/SI
As if his spotty play and frequent injuries didn't already have Indiana annually considering trading Tinsley, the point guard has been involved in two late-night incidents that not only drew the ink of police reports but also boos from Pacers fans.
8 of 12Al Tielemans/SI
Are we really to believe a team that is looking to rebuild with three first-round draft picks has long-term plans for a 30-year-old point guard making $8.7 million this season with two more years left on his contract? The Sixers insist that have no plans to deal Miller, but with a dearth of quality points in the league and a host of contenders thirsting for them, the surprise would be if Miller wasn't dealt for some less expensive -- and younger -- assets.
9 of 12Mitchell Layton/NBAE/Getty Images
If you had signed a four-year, $24 million contract to become the starting point guard in Seattle and then found yourself stuck behind Luke Ridnour, you'd be frustrated, too. Nothing against Ridnour, but Watson has long been one of the better defensive points in the league, which is not a description he shares with Ridnour. Predictably, Watson has chafed at being moved in and out of the lineup, and even ripped coach Bob Hill after Hill foolishly tried to blame the team's slow start this season on lackluster bench play.
10 of 12John W. McDonough/SI
At 29, can Francis really be washed up? He was averaging 16 points, five boards and almost six assists as recently as last season, in Orlando. But with recent knee problems and a contract that pays him $34.2 million over two seasons after this one, it's difficult for any team to take a chance Francis could be that kind of player again. Unless, of course, the Knicks buy out his deal, not that they do that sort of thing.
11 of 12John W. McDonough/SI
When the Pistons signed the veteran center last summer after Ben Wallace defected to Chicago, they claimed Mohammed wasn't expected to replace Big Ben, that Mohammed was only expected to be Mohammed. Well, Mohammed has been Mohammed, and still found himself benched when Detroit picked up Chris Webber. Looks like $31 million doesn't buy what it used to.
12 of 12Michael J. LeBrecht II/1Deuce3 Photography/SI
Meet perhaps the best point guard not starting. The second-year player from Spain is averaging 20 points, 11 assists and almost two steals per 48 minutes and would seem a natural fit for the European-styled attack Raptors GM Bryan Colangelo is trying to build. But with T.J. Ford ahead of him on the depth chart and set to have his four-year, $33 million extension kick in next season, Calderon remains a starter in search of a starting gig.
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