The overpayment of players during a frenzied free-agent period is nothing new for the NBA, and there will be many free agents during the 2012 offseason who are ridiculously overpaid.
For example, just look at Joe Johnson—a player who is likely to be traded this offseason due mainly to the ridiculous contract he was paid a few years ago. Hindsight is 20-20, but did anyone really believe that Johnson was worthy of a contract that paid him over $120 million?
There may not be any players that are as overpaid as Johnson was then, but there will still be quite a few that are paid more than they truly deserve. Deron Williams, Steve Nash and Ray Allen are among just a few of the top-notch players testing free agency, and at least one of them will get paid more than he deserves.
Here are four free agents whose new teams will be wishing they hadn’t offered quite so much.
First off, I think it is imperative for me to admit that Steve Nash has been one of my favorite players for the better part of a decade. His style of player and character off the court has always appealed to me.
However, even I can’t make the case that Nash is worth the reported $36 million that Toronto is willing to pay him, according to ESPN’s Marc Stein. By making the first offer, Toronto had hoped to get in early and possibly nab its man. What the Raptors really did was set the market price for everyone else to beat.
At age 38, Nash simply isn’t worth what he’s going to get for his next contract. He is very good at running an offense, but he is no longer the point guard who can take a team to the playoffs without significant talent around him.
Roy Hibbert is a big part of the young core that the Indiana Pacers are building. The fruits of all that labor were finally felt in the playoffs when the Pacers gave the Miami Heat a tough second-round series.
Unfortunately for the Pacers and their checkbook, Hibbert was offered a $58 million deal by the Portland Trail Blazers, according to SI. Now, Indiana will have to decide if they wish to match that huge contract or find a big man elsewhere.
Thanks to the Blazers, Hibbert is guaranteed to make at least an average of $14.5 million annually over the next four years. That’s for a seven-footer who averages 12.8 points and 8.8 rebounds per game. Hibbert simply doesn’t produce enough to be worth that much money.
Granted, talented seven-footers are rare these days, but plenty of teams have proven that you can win without them. The Miami Heat and Oklahoma City Thunder were the two best teams in the league last season, and neither has a seven-footer. Having one doesn’t equal wins, especially when you have to massively overpay for him.
I could basically repeat everything I wrote on the Roy Hibbert slide. Spencer Hawes is a young, talented seven-footer much like Hibbert is. He’s not considered to be as good as Hibbert, but he is probably the next guy on the list.
However, Hawes averaged around nine points and seven rebounds per game. If Hibbert is getting max money as the best young free agent center out there, Hawes will demand just a bit under that, and there’s no way he deserves that for what he brings to the game. He’ll get ridiculously overpaid.
Antawn Jamison is a different story from Roy Hibbert and Spencer Hawes. Unlike those two who are young big men just bursting onto the scene, Jamison is an older big man who has been around the block many, many times. He’s much closer to the end of his career than the beginning.
But, that probably won’t stop a team from overpaying him ridiculously. He averaged 17 points and six rebounds on a Cleveland team that really didn’t have any other options scoring-wise. He won’t contribute that much to a good team, and—although he might contribute to a bad team—he’d be entering a contract that could keep paying him into his 40s. That alone makes him an overpayment.