WEST LAFAYETTE – Brian Cardinal waits for a call, Carl Landry and JaJuan Johnson adjust to new surroundings and Chris Kramer packs for another overseas adventure.
Pro basketball may be lucrative, but those former Purdue Boilermakers can attest it requires plenty of flexibility.
Cardinal, 35, is a free agent after 12 years in the league. He knows his NBA days are numbered. He hopes they're not yet expired.
“I'd like to play another year and see where that goes, but at the same time I understand it' a crazy business,” Cardinal said after the Purdue alumni game Saturday at Mackey Arena. “I'm awfully thankful for the previous 12 years. I've played longer than anybody would have expected, myself included. If I can sneak out another year, it'd be great.”
Cardinal has played for six NBA teams, spending the last two years in Dallas, where he was a visible part of the championship team in 2010-11. He played sparingly for Dallas last season. Cardinal and his wife, Danielle (a Fort Wayne native), have three children under 6 years old: Bryson, Emery and Delanie. So he sees the next step on the horizon, too.
“Bryson starts kindergarten in a couple weeks, so life is good,” Cardinal said. “The ups and downs of the NBA are frustrating, but that goes with it. It's still a blast to come home and see my kids and my wonderful wife, got a couple dogs. Life is good.”
Landry and Johnson, meanwhile, know their new destinations.
Landry, who'll enter his sixth year as a pro, signed a free agent contract last week with the Golden State Warriors. He played for New Orleans last season, averaging 12.5 points and 5.2 rebounds per game.
This will be his fourth NBA team.
“It can be tough, but at the end of the day, you realize it's a business, you're a professional and you cope and adjust to the situation,” Landry said. “I'm just blessed to have the opportunity to play in the league.”
Johnson, entering his second season, was traded from the Boston Celtics to the Houston Rockets. His former Purdue teammate, E'Twaun Moore, was also part of the deal. Johnson averaged 3.2 points per game playing about 8 minutes per night last season. Moore averaged 2.9 points per game in a similar amount of time.
“It's cool, I'm happy about it,” Johnson said. “I was appreciative of my time in Boston. It was fun, I learned a lot, but I'm just ready for this new opportunity.”
Having Moore traded along with him was a bonus.
“You're never happy when you get traded, but to get traded together was pretty cool,” Johnson said. “He's somebody I'm real comfortable with and know pretty well. I'm definitely looking forward to moving on and just competing for minutes.”
Kramer, a Huntington native and former teammate of Johnson and Moore, plans to return to Germany to play another season.
He spent the summer competing in two NBA summer leagues, but committed to return to Germany when no NBA contract deals were offered. He will be playing for a different German team this season, and flies out this Saturday. Kramer played one season with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants of the NBA D-League before going to Germany last season.
“A lot of people didn't make it (to the NBA) until they were older,” Kramer said. “If that happens, it would be a dream come true, it'd be awesome. If not, I'm going to play until the wheels fall off or it's not fun anymore.”