It doesn’t seem like Mike James is getting tired of fighting for his place in the NBA year after year, with another offseason filled with doubts, and hopes that the slight interest from teams like the Miami Heat, Cleveland Cavaliers, Minnesota Timberwolves and New Orleans Pelicans is going to turn into much more down the line.
James has played for 11 teams during his NBA career, including both the Pelicans and the Heat in the past. Last season he was picked up from the D-League by the Dallas Mavericks midway through the season and even became a starting player at some point, making 23 appearances in the lineup for the Mavs. He ended up averaging 6.1 points and 3.1 assists per game, as the Mavs missed the playoffs after a 41-41 season.
Now, it’s off to the races for James once again, at the age of 38, 15 years after going undrafted and 13 after finding his first NBA gig with the Miami Heat. He’s a 2004 NBA champion with the Detroit Pistons in a minor role. At his best, he averaged over 20 points per game for the Raptors in 2006, but hasn’t been given too many opportunities to start for teams.
At his age and with his status in the market, James can’t be picky. Not about salary, which will be a high veteran’s minimum anyway, and not about playing for a contender or not. It’s just about getting a job. Over the last couple of seasons, after nearly two seasons abroad, James didn’t even get an NBA gig in the offseason, getting a call up during the year from his D-League stints.
This season, things might change after getting more playing time from the Mavs last season in order to show he still has a role to play in the NBA, even as a point guard giving 8-9 minutes a night. However, not getting an invite to training camp from either of these teams, who are just filling holes in the roster at this point, won’t be the end of his career.