NBA Free Agents 2012: 10 Players Who Deserve Big Time Pay Cuts
The NBA is a fickle mistress.
One minute you are sitting on top of the world with fame, acclaim and a huge paycheck in your back pocket.
The next, you are called overrated and asked to take a serious pay cut.
There are plenty of reasons for this, not the least of which being injuries, age, and diminished play.
The most common reason is actually a culmination of all three, and this generally results in a relegation to a lower-tier of NBA salary.
Here are 10 free agents that should see their paycheck sliced up in a major way.
Ray Allen, SG
2012 Salary: $10 million
Ray Allen, when he signed his most recent deal with Boston, was still one of the most elite shooters in the game.
He could score at will, was able to knife his way into the lane with ease and was a focused professional.
During the playoffs this year he could barely walk, and even his free throw shooting suffered.
Could this be a fluke? Sure.
But more than likely, this is a sign of things to come and he will be lucky to earn half of what he made this year.
Steve Nash, PG
2012 Salary: $11.7 million
Nash still has the ability to score from the perimeter, can still get into the lane and he still has some of the best court vision this side of LeBron James.
But he is inching towards 40 and even he has to slow down eventually.
While it is most likely that a contending team makes a play for Nash, they probably will only do so at a fraction of his current salary.
I would venture a guess that he will be making the mid-level exception next year, which is about half what he's making now.
Chris Kaman, C
2012 Salary: $14 million
At the pinnacle of his career, Kaman was a handful down low.
Blessed with exception footwork for a big man, Kaman could score, rebound and even block the occasional shot.
But injuries have finally dragged him down, and he probably will be earning closer to $6 million next year.
Jason Kidd, PG
2012 Salary: $8.6 million
It really is amazing that Jason Kidd has been able to stay so good for so long.
Even when Kidd was being recruited to Cal he was even then skilled well beyond his years.
But Father Time has finally caught up to Kidd, and he should probably sign a deal for about a quarter of what he made this year.
Grant Hill, SF
2012 Salary: $6.5 million
Hill might seem like a curious pick here given that his salary isn't all that great to begin with, but the once great small forward looked like a shell of his former self this year.
He had career lows in most categories, his athleticism looked completely eroded and he could not shoot to save his life.
He should feel fortunate if he gets an offer for more than the veteran's limit.
Tim Duncan, PF
2012 Salary: $21.2 million
Duncan will go down in history as the greatest power forward of all-time. But his skills have clearly eroded enough to warrant a pay cut.
Sure, he can still deliver when he needs to, but those days are coming fewer and farther between.
The Spurs will still treat him well, but his salary should be cut in half.
Kevin Garnett, PF
2012 Salary: $21.2 million
Garnett is in the same boat as Duncan.
Both are legends with a surefire Hall of Fame induction in their futures, and both still play for contending teams.
However, both are nearing the end of the line.
Garnett had a bit of a renaissance during the playoffs, but you have to wonder how much life he has left in his legs.
He probably will earn a salary that is about half what he made this year.
Antawn Jamison, PF
2012 Salary: $15.6 million
Jamison quietly put together a pretty solid season. He averaged 17 points per game and provided a much needed boost to Kyrie Irving's offense.
That being said, he is 36 and probably only has a few productive years left. He also doesn't rebound nearly as well as he used to, and is a liability on defense.
He should garner around $7 million next year.
Jermaine O'Neal, PF-C
2012 Salary: $6.2 million
O'Neal is done. Plain and simple.
If he decides to come back, anything more than the league minimum would be too much.
At this point, he is little more than a big man clogging up the middle.
Mehmet Okur, C
2012 Salary: $10.9 million
It has been sad watching the sudden decline of this once promising Turkish import.
For me, I have fond memories of him as a Pistons reserve in 2004. But after an all-star caliber run in Utah, his body finally has fizzled out.
He likely will head back to Turkey to ride out his career.
If he does decide to stay state-side, he will make little more than the veteran's minimum.
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