Today, the United States honors its military veterans who have served the country. Professional athletes who have many years of experience are also referred to as veterans. Since trading for nine-time All-Star guard James Harden last January of this year, the Brooklyn Nets have signed several other prominent NBA veterans.
After acquiring the 32-year-old Harden, who is in his 13th season in the league, the Nets signed six-time NBA All-Star Blake Griffin, 32, in early last March and seven-time All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge at the end of the same month. In August, the Nets signed 33-year-old Patty Mills, also in his 13th season, and inked 36-year-old Paul Milsap, who is in his 16th season, in September after losing Jeff Green, who signed with the Denver Nuggets last summer.
Aldridge, a 36-year-old center/power forward, abruptly retired last season on the advice of doctors after experiencing an irregular heartbeat during a game in April. But during the summer, Aldridge, who has earned over $200 million in his career, was medically cleared by doctors to resume playing. He returned to the Nets on a one-year, $2.6 million deal.
“I retired in April based on what I believed was the wisest, precautionary decision for my personal health at the time, but further testing and evaluation by several top physicians has convinced the doctors, myself and the Nets that I’m fully cleared and able to return to the rigors of the NBA,” stated Aldridge in September.
“I loved my brief time with Brooklyn and am excited to rejoin the team in pursuit of a championship.”
In 23 minutes off of the bench on Monday in a 118-95 loss to the Chicago Bulls on the road, ending the Nets’ five-game winning streak, Aldridge scored 19 points and pulled down seven rebounds. He was averaging 12.3 points and 5.2 rebounds heading into last night’s (Wednesday) versus the Magic in Orlando.
From the 2009 through the 2011 season, Aldridge played with Mills as a member of the Portland Trailblazers. Both were originally drafted by the Blazers. Aldridge the No. 2 overall pick in 2006 and Mills the 55th overall pick in 2009.
Aldridge, a five-time All-NBA selection, and Mills also played together for the San Antonio Spurs from 2015 through 2021. Mills was signed by the Spurs in March of 2012 and won a title with them in 2014. Aldridge signed a four-year free-agent deal with the Spurs in July of 2015.
Mills was averaging 10.1 points and shooting 47.4% from behind the three-point line prior to the Nets, who were 7-4, playing the Magic.
Milsap, a four-time NBA All-Star, began his career as a second-round pick (47th overall) of the Utah Jazz and spent seven seasons with the franchise before playing four with the Atlanta Hawks and followed by four with the Denver Nuggets. He was averaging 11 minutes of playing time and 2.9 points in nine games before last night.