15 NBA 'Stars' Who Should Take Pay Cuts in 2013

Stephen Babb@@StephenBabbFeatured ColumnistMarch 30, 2012

15 NBA 'Stars' Who Should Take Pay Cuts in 2013

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    More than a few teams are thrilled to see 2012's free-agent contracts coming off the books. There are salaries in that mix that—at one point—were justifiably massive and others that made little sense from the moment the papers were signed.

    For every team shedding some excess baggage, another organization is poised to bargain hunt from a veritable buffet line of has-been stars, could-be stars and "we just can't tell yet" kind of guys. A few of these players aren't half bad—we'll call them the NBA's ever-so-gently worn.

    What they all share in common is a price tag that's about to get marked down, Macy's style—which is to say, discounted but probably still a bit overpriced.

    Here's a comprehensive guide to the offseason's free agents who won't be rolling in quite as much dough come next season. 

Kevin Garnett, Boston Celtics ($21.2 Million—Unrestricted)

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    With his production steady at 15.6 points and 8.1 rebounds, the 35-year-old Kevin Garnett still stands to make plenty of money next season.

    Just not $21 million.

    Rumors suggest the Nets may be after KG, and they're certainly the kind of team who might overpay to bring in a guy with Garnett's gravitas and winning pedigree. Should he remain in Boston—who is unlikely to find many superior replacements in the paint—he will still collect on a pretty payday.

    Kevin Garnett at 36 is better than the vast majority of power forwards at 26. It's still time to pay up. 

Tim Duncan, San Antonio Spurs ($21.2 Million—Unrestricted)

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    If this starts to sound a bit like deja vu, it's because it's not the first time Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett's careers have felt eerily similar.

    The main difference between them, of course, is the number of rings they can boast—Duncan is working on his fifth, while KG seems destined for just one.

    Timmy is averaging 15 points, nine rebounds and 1.4 blocks in a season that's watched him seemingly improve by the game. If the trend keeps up come the postseason, he just might be able to convince San Antonio to bring him back for another year or two of very highly-compensated Hall of Fame basketball.

    Oh, who are we kidding—this team will be throwing money at this guy, for what he's done as much as for what he can still do. Every dollar is deserved.

    Don't expect to see Duncan going anywhere. The only question is if he still feels like playing. 

Antawn Jamison, Cleveland Cavaliers ($15.1 Million —Unrestricted)

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    With 17.9 points and 6.6 points a game, Antawn Jamison has remained incredibly productive at 35.

    His ability to hit the three-ball instantly extends his career, and there's a good chance he'll do so in Cleveland.

    Just don't expect him to start again, and definitely don't expect him to make another $15 million.

    Wherever he plays, Jamison is poised to become a veteran sixth man capable of giving a contender some help or offering a young team some guidance.

    He could be in line to make anywhere from $5 to $7 million, depending on just how desperate this market becomes.

Marcus Camby, Houston Rockets ($12.9 Million—Unrestricted)

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    Marcus Camby is still one of the game's best interior defenders, and his per-minute rebounding is impressive.

    Nevertheless, there's no question he's in store for a serious pay cut. He could hang around Houston and help the Rockets take things to the next level, or he could look for a team that's closer to contending.

    Either way, there's a good chance he signs for half of a mid-level exception or something similarly modest.

    At 38, Camby is well into the twilight of his career—he will still be capable of contributing, but he's a role player at this point.

Chris Kaman, New Orleans Hornets ($12.7 Million—Unrestricted)

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    As we all know, bigs like Chris Kaman can always surprise us by convincing some team that any seven-footer who can shoot and rebound the ball is worth many millions of dollars.

    That could very well be the case yet again for the Caveman, especially on the heels of the $43 million deal DeAndre Jordan signed with the Warriors (that the Clippers later matched).

    On the other hand, Kaman will be 30 when he signs his next deal.

    While he's been productive in the absence of Emeka Okafor, he really shouldn't be making more than $7 or $8 million a year. That isn't to say he won't find someone willing to pay more, but it's doubtful it would be that much more.

Steve Nash, Phoenix Suns ($11.7 Million—Unrestricted)

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    It's pretty hard to argue that Steve Nash deserves one cent less than he's making at the moment.

    Apparently, nobody puts any candles on this guy's birthday cakes, because he's acting like he hasn't the slightest clue he's already 38.

    Still an efficient shooter and still distributing 11.2 assists per game, Nash may not see a very significant pay cut, especially if he remains with the Phoenix Suns.

    However, if Nash opts to chase a championship with the Miami Heat, he might have to take a rather significant cut in order to do so.

    Even if he winds up with a team that does have some cap space, it may be more likely to see Nash rake in something closer to $8 million.  

Jason Terry, Dallas Mavericks – $10.7 Million – Unrestricted

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    Make no mistake—Jason Terry can still play and light it up with the best of them. More often than not, he still looks to be the Mavericks' second best player.

    Still, it's hard to imagine him raking in another $10 million, especially in today's more cost-conscious NBA. There simply isn't the demand for little guys who can fill it up, especially ones who aren't also amazing defenders or prolific passers.

    While fantastic at what he does, Terry remains a somewhat one-dimensional sixth man and is better suited to earn closer to something like $7 million a year.

Ray Allen, Boston Celtics ($10.0 Million—Unrestricted)

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    At the end of the day, $10 million isn't really that much to pay for a guy who brings so much leadership, tenacity and brilliant long-range shooting to your team.

    And, oh yeah, this particular guy has the best field percentage from behind the arc of his entire career, and that's saying a lot when said marksman is Ray Allen.

    Nevertheless, Allen is 36 and reaching the point when his career savvy and court intelligence can only compensate for diminished athleticism so much.

    He could still fetch something in the $8 million range if he agrees to a one-year deal. Anything longer than that is likely to feature a lower per-year dollar amount.

Boris Diaw, San Antonio Spurs ($9.0 Million—Unrestricted)

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    Boris Diaw probably isn't as bad as Paul Silas made him out to be, but nor is he worth anywhere near $9 million.

    If Diaw hangs around San Antonio, he might get a deal for two or three years and a total of $8 to $10 million, but don't expect the Spurs to do anything that would seriously impact future cap flexibility.

    Don't expect many other teams to do that, either.

    Whatever happened in Charlotte, Diaw appears to be damaged goods at the moment. If he isn't content to ride it out with a contender on a budget, he may be best suited to take a one-year deal somewhere and re-establish himself before hitting the market in earnest.

Jason Kidd, Dallas Mavericks ($8.6 Million—Unrestricted)

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    At 39 years old, Jason Kidd is only a year removed from starting at the point for a championship team, but his production has continued to slow this season.

    He's averaging decisive career lows in minutes, points, assists and rebounds, but thanks to his size and considerable game IQ, he can still play some ball.

    If he doesn't retire first, Kidd will almost certainly have to settle for something in the range of a mid-level exception.

    More than a few teams might appreciate having him around in the locker room, but then again, they might be willing to wait for him to become an assistant coach who won't impact the salary cap.

Carl Landry, New Orleans Hornets ($8.5 Million—Unrestricted)

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    It made sense for the Hornets to overspend a little bit on a one-year deal for Carl Landry—what else were they going to do with the money?

    Going forward, however, the 28-year-old will probably look for a long-term deal that guarantees him some financial security down the road.

    He's had a solid year with New Orleans, averaging a very efficient 12.5 points and 4.9 rebounds.

    The only knock on Landry is that he doesn't do a whole lot more than score, and that will certainly impact contract negotiations. Don't be surprised to see him find a four-year deal for around $24 to $28 million. 

Kirk Hinrich, Atlanta Hawks ($8.0 Million—Unrestricted)

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    Whether he remains in Atlanta, returns to his former team in Chicago or falls in love with another suitor, there's little chance Kirk Hinrich will make anywhere close to $8 million.

    Hinrich is still one of the better defensive guards in the league, and he's a competent spot-up shooter, but there are too many good, young point guards out there for a team to spend more than $5 million on someone destined to bring his veteran leadership off the bench.

Andre Miller, Denver Nuggets ($7.8 Million—Unrestricted)

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    One of the best players never to make it to the All-Star Game, 36-year-old Andre Miller is still playing some of the best basketball of his career.

    While backing up Ty Lawson in Denver, Miller has averaged 27.8 minutes, 10.1 points and 6.4 assists this season.

    There's a good chance that he could get a contract for one or two years, making $5 or $6 million each year. He's the kind of guy any number of young, rebuilding teams might like to have around.

    If Miller gets choosy, however, and looks to join a contender, he might have to do so for even less money.

    Of course, the Nuggets could keep him around, offering him a pretty penny to stay and anchor that bench unit.  

Leandro Barbosa, Indiana Pacers ($7.6 Million—Unrestricted)

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    There's no question that Leandro Barbosa is still a speedy combo guard who can shoot from range, but he's never developed into anything more than that, and—at 29—time has run out on Barbosa to take any kind of "next step."

    He's averaged over 11 points this year and hasn't shot terribly, so he'll find a home.

    Just expect that home to offer him $3 or $4 million a year. Anything more than that would be a surprisingly bad decision, given the availability of quick shooters in a draft's second round.

Andres Nocioni, Philadelphia 76ers ($6.7 Million—Unrestricted)

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    It's still unclear what Andres Nocioni will opt to do next season after the 76ers waived him in March, but this much is clear: He won't find anyone on this side of the Atlantic willing to pay him anywhere near $6.7 million.

    Another stint in the NBA will come at a far more affordable deal at less than $2 million a year at most. Odds are that Nocioni takes his talents overseas and never comes back.