'Keep Gettin' Dem Checks' All-Stars

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Derek Fisher

Leading the squad is the ex-NBAPA prez, who’s managed to remain relevant as a player far longer than anyone could’ve imagined.

With Russell Westbrook’s unlikely string of injuries leaving a huge void in the Thunder’s backcourt, Fisher has been a key cog in their bench rotation, proving his NBA value hasn’t totally fossilized.

With age, he’s become a shaky defender in most matchups, but Fish still can wet 3’s, make smart plays in the halfcourt, and be the locker room’s ultimate experienced leader.

Udonis Haslem

There are seven active players who have spent 10+ years in the League with the same team. Six of them – the Spurs’ Big 3, Kobe Bryant, Dirk Nowitzki, and Dwyane Wade – are heading to the Hall of Fame on their first ballot. The seventh is Udonis Haslem.

A big man who can’t space the floor or defend large centers has little place in Miami’s rotation, earning Haslem DNP’s in almost half their games this season. Having racked up so many Employee Loyalty points has helped him dodge the waiver wire and support the Heat's 3-peat bid – albeit mostly from the bench.

Chauncey Billups

$2 Million, Billups’ salary, is a large sum of money by most normal standards.

That said, it seems hardly fair compensation for the psychological rigors Billups must endure mentoring Brandon Jennings in hopes of him becoming a rational basketball player. 

Playing in just 19 games so far, Mr. Big Shot hasn’t had the chance to his many shots at all, but if Jennings can maintain his play of late, Chauncey’s influence will be paying off.

Nazr Mohammed

In true Tom Thibodeau fashion, he’s milked the most effort from his entire roster, getting 49 games out of 15-year veteran Nasty Naz at a fraction of Derrick Rose’s cost.

Backing up the never-tired Joakim Noah hasn’t left many minutes for Mohammed, but he’s a grizzled veteran of battling the NBA’s low-post trenches, endearing him to Thibs’ gritty style.

Jermaine O’Neal

35-year-old Jermaine O’Neal has been in the NBA for 18 years; he’s spent over half his life thus far battling the biggest athletes in the World.

The years of coming up under the JailBlazers as a teen phenom, blossoming into an All-NBA threat, and fading to more subtle roles have worn on O’Neal, who’s missed a couple seasons’ worth of games since his prime. His latest comeback from a wrist injury with the Warriors might be his last chance to show he has something left in the tank.

Antawn Jamison and Hedo Turkoglu

Being paid barrel-bottom prices, this duo of past-expiry veterans have been a staple of – and stapled to - the Clippers’ bench, seeing the court only when their numerous injuries meant someone had to play.

Calling Jamison a “shell of his former self” (or the cliché of your liking) is generous; a testament not only to the dangerous All-Star he used to be, but just how obviously the years have caught up with him.

Turkoglu, after improbably enjoying a late career revival with Orlando, and then becoming the first NBA player to test positive for PED’s, has been less than spectacular.

Earl Watson

A respected veteran in NBA circles, respect - and a paycheck – are about all Watson’s getting this season as one of the weaker links on a Portland bench that draws plenty of ink for its lack of depth.

Now with his seventh team in thirteen seasons, few players are as well-traveled as Watson. His experience and sagacity is rare, as are his chances to play anymore. Appearing in just 14 games so far, “Earl Sweatshirt” would be an apt nickname for the often-warmup-clad Watson.

Richard Jefferson

Jefferson is  – from a production standpoint – the Alpha Dog on this list. He logs 27 minutes/game and has started all 50 for the Jazz as a double-figure scorer.

What makes Jefferson’s situation unique is that he’s been washed for years now, would never be a rotation player on a better team than the Jazz, and even to Utah is more valuable as an expiring contract than a basketball player.

But while he’s there, Jefferson will be raking in bloated checks, to the tune of just over $11 million this season. He may not be relevant anymore, but Richard Jefferson is PAID.

Coach: Gilbert Arenas

In what may go down as the worst coaching hire in the history of basketball at any level, Gilbert Arenas has been named coach of the K.G.D.C All-Stars. After all, no player knows more about being paid by an NBA team to not play for them.

After signing one of the richest deals in NBA history, Arenas’ stock quickly dove face-first off a cliff after injuries and a flair for prop comedy kept him out of the League for what could’ve been his prime.

Sadly, Gilbert’s once-terrifying skills and quickness eroded, as he remained a woeful burden to several franchises. Orlando finally amnestied him, saving his whale from hitting their salary cap, but not preventing him from Getting Dem Checks: Gilbert Arenas will be paid $22.35 million this season.

Back in their epic Bill and Jalen’s 2013 NBA Preview, Grantland’s top dogs coined a catchy term for something we’d all joked about once or twice: that token old dude who lingers around the bottom of a team’s rotation, cashing in as a ‘veteran presence’ while hardly playing.

‘Keep Gettin’ Dem Checks’ has joined ‘Champagning And Campaigning’ in the lore of NBA pop culture, even after its inspiration – Marcus Camby – retired pre-season.

In a salute to Bill and Jalen, and to the players who are too devoted to the game to retire, here’s our ‘Keep Gettin’ Dem Checks’ All-Stars:

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