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NBA: 5 Players Who Will Definitely Be Overpaid in the Offseason

John FrielAnalyst IApril 16, 2012

NBA: 5 Players Who Will Definitely Be Overpaid in the Offseason

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    Athletes are already being paid too much, so it's going to take a lot to actually be considered as overpaid.

    Guys like Rashard Lewis and Gilbert Arenas fit top billing at that aspect. Those are two players who signed lucrative deals that they didn't deserve in the first place and, as expected, didn't live up to it. It goes far beyond those two, however, as there are plenty of players in the NBA that are being significantly overpaid.

    To get your blood boiling a little more, we're going to take a look at the five players that are set to be overpaid.

    How could we predict something like this? Easily. These five players have either had a great season, are due for a big contract or appear to be too valuable to pass up. Hype is possibly the worst aspect that could play a factor when signing a player. Hyped players are usually riding a hot streak that has allowed them to play a lot better than their talent level indicates.

    Those flash-in-the-pan players are bad news. Guys like Jerome Jordan who signed a $30 million deal thanks to one decent postseason are dangerous to the league and mostly to the team that signed them, since it'll be paying for it for however many years it signed the player.

    Let's take a look in the future and figure out which five 2012 free agents, restricted and unrestricted, will be overpaid.

Goran Dragic

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    The student has become the teacher, yet, but we do envision an extremely bright future for current Houston Rockets point guard Goran Dragic.

    The teacher I'm speaking of is Steve Nash, the player Dragic backed up for the two-and-a-half seasons he spent with the Phoenix Suns. Dragic came in the league as a bright-eyed 22-year-old out of Slovenia in 2008. He'd spend his rookie season playing in 55 games and averaging five points and two assists per in limited minutes.

    Next year, Dragic would begin to receive minutes worth noting. The tutelage of the two-time MVP was paying off as Goran began to showcase similar traits that Nash possessed. The passing prowess was nearly identical. Of course Dragic didn't nearly have the same court vision as Nash, but the potential to be great was there and he had just the right player showing him the ropes.

    Dragic was traded to the Houston Rockets in the middle of the 2010-'11 season. He has earned 26 minutes worth of playing time off the bench for his new team and has even started in 22 games. He's posting up career-highs across the board with 11 points and five assists per game. He's currently a backup to Kyle Lowry.

    The Slovenia is starter material. He's started every game in the month of April and has scored 20 points or more in five out of eight games, including a season-high 26 points in a win over the Los Angeles Lakers. He's also recorded 10 or more assists five times this year with his season-high coming in a loss to the Los Angeles Clippers where he recorded 14 assists.

    There are plenty of teams out there who could still use a solid starting point guard, and the Rockets certainly don't want to give up a backup as valuable as Dragic. If there will be teams contending with the Rockets for the services of Dragic, there's a high chance that he does end up getting overpaid because of the potential he has.

    Dragic will be 26 years old at the start of next season. Experience is only helping this point guard become a better player by the day.

Jeremy Lin

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    Isiah Thomas isn't making anymore deals for the New York Knicks.

    In fact, the Knicks appear to be a lot smarter as an organization. They're not the smartest team in the league, but they're certainly smarter than the last regime that gave an exuberant amount of money to Jerome Jordan and Jared Jeffries. They took the controls away from the child that had an obsession with alliteration and decided to give it to someone a little more capable.

    One of the better moves the Knicks completed was signing Jeremy Lin, an otherwise unknown player out of Harvard who spent an uneventful rookie season with the Golden State Warriors. With the Knicks desperate for a point guard due to the loss of Chauncey Billups and various injuries throughout the early portion of the season, they gave Lin a chance as a starter, and it paid off well.

    Lin would lead the Knicks through their best stretch of the season and would turn them from a possible lottery team back into a playoff contender. 'Linsanity' took the NBA world by storm as every media outlet became obsessed with this 23-year-old who couldn't even get playing time on the Warriors. With the Knicks, Lin saw his popularity skyrocket as he played the largest part in the turnaround of his team.

    Before going under the knife to repair a torn meniscus, Lin was averaging 15 points on 45 percent shooting, dishing out six assists and grabbing three boards per. He's proven that he isn't wary of the bright lights or the big stage as he has already hit a game-winner, and even managed to light up some of the West's top teams in Dallas and the L.A. Lakers.

    Of course, Lin does have his flaws. He's extremely turnover-prone, isn't the best shooter and can't perform well under intense pressure. The Miami Heat helped to expose Lin for the first time when they held him to eight points and eight turnovers thanks in part to stingy defense from Mario Chalmers and Norris Cole.

    He's only 23, however, so let it slide for now.

    Does anyone else have the feeling that the Knicks are going to end up giving Lin a whole lot more money than he deserves? They need to look at this from a larger spectrum and evaluate the commitment they'll be set to make when signing Lin over the offseason. He's not going to be warranting any All-Star consideration soon and is an above average player at best at the moment.

    Before you give this guy $10 million a year, take a step back and weigh your options, Knicks organization.

Nicolas Batum

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    I'm sure the majority of us has tuned out of watching Portland Trail Blazers basketball this season.

    The Brandon Roy retirement was one thing, but the thousandth setback to Greg Oden's injuries that would eventually lead to his departure? That's cold-blooded. Portland doesn't deserve this. No team does, but especially not Portland, a city that is still attempting to recover from the devastation of drafting Sam Bowie ahead of Michael Jordan and then making the same mistake two decades later by drafting Oden over Kevin Durant.

    You can't fault the Blazers, however. An athletic center who just led his team to the championship or a wiry thin small forward who didn't look he would stand a chance against the likes of LeBron James or Carmelo Anthony? We'd all make the same decision if we were in the Blazers shoes in 2007.

    In case you haven't been watching Blazers basketball, I advise you start. A product of France, Nicolas Batum is one of the league's top young players at the age of 23. Already in his fourth year, Batum has improved his statistics and overall game yearly and is now averaging 14 points and five rebounds, while shooting 39 percent from deep.

    He can put the ball on the floor to drive, and he can shoot from the perimeter just as well. This kid has All-Star written all over him, and you'd be shocked to know that he was only 23 based on the way he plays. Batum plays the game with a hidden intensity that's shrouded with a calm demeanor and lockdown defense.

    Oh, yeah, I forgot to mention that Batum was an excellent defender. Even though he might be a little thin at 6'8", he's only 200 pounds, Batum makes up for it with great lateral quickness, excellent timing, quick hands and length.

    While Batum has appeared to go fairly unnoticed in his first four years, there are general managers who have been watching and have circled the date on which free agency starts. The Trail Blazers are sure to give Batum a lucrative deal since his potential is out of the roof, but it also means that there will be other suitors looking to attract the Frenchman onto their team.

Chris Kaman

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    Counting out this year, Chris Kaman has dealt with a significant injury in two of the past three seasons and played in 60 games or less in three of the past four seasons.

    He's averaged a double-double only one time in his nine-year career and has shot below 50 percent in the past three seasons. In his entire career, Kaman has only shot above 50 percent twice. Considering that Kaman is a 7' center who spends the majority of his time on the court in the post, that is an extremely hard percentage to swallow.

    In a strange season with the New Orleans Hornets where he was actually told to stay home by the team, Kaman is averaging 13 points on 45 percent shooting, eight boards and two blocks per. He's played in 47 games and has started in 33. Upon receiving him in the Chris Paul deal, the Hornets told Kaman to stay home as they pursued a trade.

    No deal was sufficient enough for the Hornets to trade him, so they kept him around. He'll be an unrestricted free agent this summer and is sure to receive a lot of attention on account of the fact that he's large and has some sort of game.

    I know I just spent the first few paragraphs of this slide spending time on Kaman's shortcomings, but all of those shortcomings mean nothing to general managers who are on the search for a center. Since better than 90 percent of the league could use the services of a center, especially one who has an actual offensive game, Kaman will be actively pursued.

    His injuries? It'll play a little bit of a factor, but not much of one. If Greg Oden can make nearly $10 million in a year after being hurt for the previous two seasons and Kwame Brown can make $7 million to come off the bench, then you should assume that Kaman is easily going to be making $10 million next season just because of how valuable centers are in today's league.

Kevin Garnett

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    The Boston Celtics will have quite the significant decisions to make this offseason.

    With 11(!) free agents, the Celtics have more players up on the block any other team. Greg Stiemsma is the only free agent who is restricted. Among the unrestricted free agents include Ray Allen, Brandon Bass, Jeff Green, Keyon Dooling and Kevin Garnett. Yes, that's two-thirds of the Celtics 'big three' that will end up as unrestricted free agents this offseason.

    Unless some team is insane enough to give Allen $10 million a year, he's not going to be overpaid. Somehow, it seems near impossible to overspend on Allen when you look at how well he's performed in the past two seasons. At the age of 35, Allen averaged 17 points per and shot a career-high 44 percent from beyond the arc.

    At the age of 36, Allen is averaging 14 points per and could break his career-high in three-point shooting that he just set last year. Any team that acquires him will be picking up a sure gem.

    On the other hand, it seems possible that Kevin Garnett will be overspent by a team that's desperate for a defensive-minded post player. Even though he's 35 years old and in his 16th season, Garnett is still arguably one of the top post defenders in the league. His athleticism is waning, but his intensity, emotion and aggressive mentality he plays with is helping to compensate for any aspect to his game that he's lost with age.

    He's even managing to average 16 points per game, his highest scoring output since his first year with the Celtics. It's supported by 51 percent shooting and accompanied by eight boards, three assists and a block per.

    Teams will have to be careful when signing Garnett. Even though he's remained relatively healthy his entire career, you don't want to make any huge splashes with a player who will be 36 years old and entering his 17th year in the league next year. As good and consistent as Garnett has been, you always have to think first before signing a player that old and with that many minutes under their belt.

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