NBA Free Agency 2012: Ranking the Most Poisonous Players

Paul GrossingerAnalyst IIJune 3, 2012

NBA Free Agency 2012: Ranking the Most Poisonous Players

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    The NBA is filled with many of the worst, most poisonous contracts in sports. Deals for stars like Joe Johnson and Carlos Boozer, role players like Charlie Villanueva and Ben Gordon, and total busts like Andris Biedrins continue to plague teams and keep them from steadily improving and targeting new impact players in free agency.

    The big question is, which terrible contracts will join that poisonous list this year?  As we enter NBA's 2012 free agency period, what are the worst possible signings that teams can make?  

No 7: Gilbert Arenas

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    Arenas is the poster boy for poisonous NBA contracts.  The contract the Wizards gave him was one of the worst ever given to a player in any sport.

    This year, he comes into free agency older, more humbled and more surgically repaired.  He could be a good fit for a contender with the veteran's minimum. But if a team is suckered into a large, multi-year deal,  they will be the laughingstock of the league.  

No. 6: Kwame Brown

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    Which team will take the "Kwame plunge" this year?  

    Every time Brown hits free agency, one enterprising team believes he will suddenly morph into the player he was supposed to be as the No. 1 overall pick in the draft.

    It is never happening.  Brown can still provide some quality backup minutes. But paying for anything more than that is just foolish.  

No. 5: Eddy Curry

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    I know it's a long shot, but Eddy Curry is exactly the kind of mistake teams will often make in free agency. He is a talented big man with a tarnished reputation who came back as a role player on a winning team to earn one more large, multi-year contract.

    Curry is still overweight, sluggish and very unimportant to the Miami Heat's success. But if the Heat win, some enterprising GM will attribute the win to Curry's size and impact in the post and give him a big, new contract.  

    And that team's fans can then go and burn their arena down.  

No. 4: Antawn Jamison

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    Jamison still has the pedigree of a hard-working, All-Star power forward who played his heart out for Wizards owner Abe Pollin on a team broken by injury. 

    But the current reality is that he is an old, broken-down power forward who cannot play a lick of defense (and does not try), no longer shoots efficiently from the field and has played less than his best for several teams since LeBron James abandoned his Cavaliers in 2010.

    Anything more than a close to minimum deal for a contender needing floor spacing is a bad investment.  

No. 3: Jason Kidd

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    Kidd is one of the best point guards in NBA history.  No one can take that away from him.

    But he is now a spent force on the basketball court.  This year, Kidd lost most of his ability to rebound, became less adept at getting steals and was no longer able to defend most guards. He can no longer score on anything except a three-pointer.

    Kidd is still a passing savant, so he can serve as a capable backup, perhaps on the Miami Heat. But he should not be paid to start anymore.  

No. 2: Jamal Crawford

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    Crawford is another classic over-pay player. He's a long-range gunner with better numbers than actual playing ability. He is still a good three-point shooter off the bench. But paying him to be the sixth man that he once was would be a very bad investment.  

No. 1: Nick Young

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    Nick Young is the worst, most poisonous temptation in this year's free agency crop.

    He is a very young, athletic and gifted shooting guard who can both drive to the basket and shoot from range.  Teams salivate over his potential, but it's just that: saliva.

    Young has never shown any great inclination to work on his game by becoming a better shot selector, shooting better from distance, or learning that there is something in basketball called "passing."

    The Wizards dumped him to the Clippers this year for a reason. If NBA teams are wise, they won't give him that huge contract.