1 Player Each NBA Team Wishes They Could Cut Right Now
The NBA is the land of bad, guaranteed contracts that always come back to haunt the team who signed them in the first place. Odds are we're seeing the seeds of a terrible contract or two being planted, as we speak, with the NBA free agency period heating up.
Landry Fields is going to end up making at least $20 million over the next three years, Nicolas Batum could be in a hit-or-miss situation as the Timberwolves are looking to give him $45 million. And who knows what injuries, age and just plain regression can do to a player over the life of a contract?
Terrible contracts are the first thing that make a fan or a team turn on a player, but constant injuries, regressed skill, distractions in the locker room and good old fashioned dumb basketball turn players into public enemy number one faster than anything.
So, with that in mind, let's take a look at the players who have done the worst job at making their teams want to keep them and which player on each team has the biggest reason to be cut by their current team.
Atlanta Hawks: Johan Petro
Johan Petro was more or less salary cap fodder for the Joe Johnson deal to the Nets, in which the main thing the Hawks got was salary cap relief and a scant bit of depth.
However, there are few people out there who can look at Johan Petro and see a legitimate professional basketball player.
Paying a seven-footer $3.5 million hardly seems worth it if he's going to score four points a game on 41 percent shooting.
Boston Celtics: Sean Williams
There are few players on the Celtics who either serve no purpose or are too young to consider cutting, but Sean Williams is the closest thing they have.
Williams has played four years in the NBA, and has never really done much to make anyone think twice about burying him on the bench.
He's got a non-guaranteed contract next season, so they might as well just go ahead and let that live up to its name.
Brooklyn Nets: Nobody to Cut
The Brooklyn Nets have nobody on their roster who is going to play less than 20 minutes a game for them at this point.
All of their cap fodder was sent overboard as jetsam and they're left with no more than Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Gerald Wallace and MarShon Brooks, with Brook Lopez and Sundiata Gaines sitting on their books as restricted free agents.
If anything, they'll need to take looks at the players being cut rather than cut some of their own.
Charlotte Bobcats: Tyrus Thomas
Remember when the Bulls traded LaMarcus Aldridge for Tyrus Thomas? Who would have thought that trade would have been so lopsided all these years later?
Even worse, Charlotte decided that he was worth $40 million at some point in 2010 and are now on the hook for another $25 million over the next three years after he spent a season averaging fewer than six points a game on 37 percent shooting.
Chicago Bulls: Carlos Boozer
It's not so much that the Bulls don't want Carlos Boozer hanging around anymore, it's that they want to take back a few bucks from that contract they had him sign.
At this point they'd be better off with a chance to sign someone at the full mid-level exception this summer and have no need to worry about a luxury tax rather than spending another season paying Carlos Boozer $15 million while he loafs around on defense and misses jumpers.
Look on the bright side, though, they only have to pay him another $31 million after they give him that $15 million this season.
Cleveland Cavaliers: Luke Walton
The Cleveland Cavaliers turned a back-up point guard who was going to end up leaving via free agency and a young gun who can do no more than dunk into a first-round pick, only they had to take Luke Walton back with that pick.
In the end it's not too bad, as he's only got $6 million coming to him this year, but they'd still rather not even have him on the books if it meant more cap space and not having to watch him actually play basketball for the next season.
Oh well, lots of great screens and solid boxing out coming this year for the Cavs at least.
Dallas Mavericks: Brendan Haywood
When the Dallas Mavericks made a trade with the Washington Wizards back in 2010 they got two main pieces of their 2011 NBA Title in DeShawn Stevenson and Caron Butler, but they had to take Brendan Haywood in that deal as well.
Now, Haywood wasn't a terrible player back in 2010, but the fact that he was a halfway decent center should have concerned the Mavs, as they have a terrible history of overpaying for halfway decent centers.
They gave Haywood a six-year, $52 million deal and now have at least three more years of the big man in blue.
Denver Nuggets: Chris Andersen
Chris Andersen has at least been an entertaining part of the Nuggets over the past few seasons, but the time has come where he doesn't fit well with the team anymore.
With more than $9 million coming his way over the next two seasons after two consecutive years of putting up fewer than 20 minutes per game, there's no way he's worth the money he's owed.
At least there will be a lot of pretty colors to look at as he sits on the bench for the next two years.
Detroit Pistons: Charlie Villanueva
The Pistons were probably regretting this signing as soon as Charlie V put his signature down on the dotted line, and with another $16.5 million coming his way over the next two seasons, they'll continue to regret it every day until he's done wearing that red headband.
Ever since he came to Detroit, he stopped shooting the ball effectively, he stopped rebounding and he stopped being healthy. Great things for a basketball player to do.
Golden State Warriors: Andris Biedrins
Remember 2008? Kosovo became independent of Serbia, Dmitry Medvedev was the president of Russia and Andris Biedrins led the league with 63 percent shooting from the field.
Now it's 2012. Kosovo is in turmoil, Vladamir Putin is president of Russia again and Andris Biedrins just spent a season averaging 1.7 points per game.
Not only that, but Biedrins is owed $18 million over the next two years, and the Warriors are without their amnesty provision after using it on Charlie Bell back in December.
Houston Rockets: Greg Smith
The Houston Rockets have one strange team put together at this point. It's hard to say exactly what their plan is on who is supposed to get traded where for what players or future picks.
Are they trying to rebuild? Are they trying to make a run sooner rather than later?
Whatever they may be doing, Greg Smith is a skinny center who isn't doing anything anytime soon for the Rockets.
Indiana Pacers: Jeff Pendergraph
The Indiana Pacers have shed most of the terrible salary they have against their cap, so the only useless players left on that roster aren't going to save them much money, but they will save a few dollars nonetheless.
Pendergraph is owed $1.5 million next season, and with him not looking like he's going to be any better than a backup to a backup big man, then there's no reason to give him all that money.
Los Angeles Clippers: Vinny Del Negro
I guess it would be more prudent for the Los Angeles Clippers to waive Donald Sterling, who's the main reason the Clippers retained Vinny Del Negro, but for the time being, it might as well just be VDN himself.
Del Negro seems like he'd be a great assistant coach, as he can get certain guys to play well together, but he isn't a great manipulator of minds. He isn't able to design a single successful inbounds play and he's become a lightning rod for criticism in the Clippers organization.
Oh wait, I suppose that's Donald Sterling.
Los Angeles Lakers: Metta World Peace
The Los Angeles Lakers are stuck with a weak bench, but they've got themselves a strong starting five. The only thing to worry about is a certain wobbly personality that could elbow someone in the head at any given moment.
Metta World Peace is a guy you would want to have on a team with an outside shot of getting to the finals who can ride an emotional wave to great game after great game. On a team where they have level heads all around (for the most part), he's got a better chance of being a distraction than anything else.
Memphis Grizzlies: Jeremy Pargo
The Memphis Grizzlies don't have too much wasted salary cap space hanging around on their roster, but they do have some guys hanging around who can't do much on the basketball court.
Pargo was a rookie last year, but as a 26-year-old rookie who can't shoot above 35 percent while making a million bucks next year, his roster spot could be better used on someone else.
Miami Heat: Mike Miller
Mike Miller became a hero for the Heat in the NBA Finals by hitting every three that he took, or at least it seemed that way. However, his contract and his back problems have become serious issues.
Miller spent the entire playoffs either playing or laying on the ground in the corner, and the fact that he's owed $18.6 million over the next three seasons should have Miami fans dreading what he could become three years from now.
Milwaukee Bucks: Ekpe Udoh
It already seems pretty obvious that Ekpe Udoh isn't ready for the NBA game. He's a big man who doesn't defend well enough to make up for the fact that he definitely doesn't shoot the ball well.
As a part of the deal that sent Monta Ellis to Milwaukee, Udoh was there as salary cap fodder, and now the Bucks would be happy to float that salary on down the road.
Udoh is getting paid $3.4 million next season with team options for the following season, but even that is too far off in the distance to waste money on Udoh.
Minnesota Timberwolves: Wesley Johnson
The Minnesota Timberwolves have (somehow) built themselves a well-formed team that looks to have everyone on their team paid pretty much exactly what they should be paid. Everyone, that is, except for Wesley Johnson.
Johnson is due $4.2 million next season with a team option for the following season, and it's hard to see whether or not they would pick it up.
Johnson is, after all, a wing player who can't shoot the long ball well and can't go inside to score well either. He's just not shaping up a career that looks good.
New Orleans Hornets: Xavier Henry
It doesn't seem like there's anyone on the Hornets who deserves to be cut (at least now that they went ahead and waived Rashard Lewis), but if there were to be one guy who is under-performing a bit, it's Xavier Henry.
Henry isn't a terrible player, but he's just young and buried on the depth chart with no real chance of getting much playing time any time soon.
New York Knicks: Renaldo Balkman
This is just a nightmare that needs to end for the Knicks. We'll never know if it was Donnie Walsh having a flashback thinking that he had the chance to draft Rolando Blackman or if he was just dumb enough to take a second rounder in the middle of the first round.
Balkman has been horrendous for the Knicks, and it seems like he should be playing overseas rather than on his second stint with the Knicks.
I'd pay this guy $1.6 million just to go away at this point.
Oklahoma City Thunder: Hasheem Thabeet
Yea, they just signed him. Now let's just skip the steps of him playing in the D-League, coming up for a few games, sitting on the bench and playing in garbage time. Let's also skip the embarrassment of him getting dunked on a few times by Jeremy Evans and release him.
Hasheem Thabeet will never be a serviceable NBA center at this point in his career. There's nothing more that can be done.
Orlando Magic: Hedo Turkoglu
They've tried to trade him for what seems like a decade now, let's just get rid of him altogether.
They already traded him away once back in 2009, when he had a huge drop-off in production. For some reason, they agreed to take him back when Jason Richardson came over from Phoenix two years back, even though he was making more money at that point.
Since coming back to Orlando, he's done no more than hit a wayward three-pointer here and there.
Philadelphia 76ers: Sam Young
The Philadelphia 76ers made a good trade last season when they swapped Sam Young and some Puerto Rican dude who isn't ever going to make it into the NBA anyway.
While Young isn't a terrible player, if there were one dude on the Sixers who would make sense to cut, it would be Young who did very little in terms of contribution to this team last season.
Phoenix Suns: Josh Childress
Josh Childress, with his bouncy afro and sleepy eyes, are doing very little to help the Phoenix Suns at this point.
Childress is pulling in $21 million over the next three years, but the fact that he's able to count the number of minutes he plays per game on his fingers and toes isn't enough to earn that kind of money.
Just waive the dude and get him off the roster. He's not helping by doing what he's doing at this point anyway.
Portland Trail Blazers: Kurt Thomas
Kurt Thomas is 78 years old. Okay, so he's only 39, but he hasn't played a meaningful minute in over a year since he was the enforcer on the Chicago Bulls defense.
At this point, Kurt Thomas is owed $1.3 million next season, and for him to make over a million bucks for sitting on the bench, getting on the floor every once in a while and helping a young guy here or there isn't really enough to earn that money.
Now, if he was on a contender being used to help settle down the team, that's a completely different story.
Sacramento Kings: John Salmons
John Salmons made his money for what he did over the course of half of a season, and that's the reason there was a lockout last year.
He's got at least $16.5 million owed to him over the next three years, and if the Kings were able to get rid of him, they'd probably have a few more fans in the stands and a bit of a better shot at staying in Sacramento.
Plus, the fact that he's the highest paid player on the Kings just hurts my head.
San Antonio Spurs: Matt Bonner
If I had a choice, I would say the Spurs shouldn't cut anyone. But if they were forced to cut someone, it would be Matt Bonner, who's age and drop in production puts him just behind Tiago Splitter.
Bonner is owed nearly $4 million next season, and for a big man used primarily to spread the floor a bit and make a three here and there, that just seems to be a bit too much money.
Toronto Raptors: Jose Calderon
If they had an extra buck or two to spend in free agency, I'm sure the Toronto Raptors would be just a bit happier at this point, especially with the money that could potentially be owed to Landry Fields.
Calderon is a serviceable point guard on a terrible team, but the fact that he's going to make $10.5 million next season is just far too much money for what he does.
Utah Jazz: Earl Watson
At 32 years old, Earl Watson has very little left to offer to the Utah Jazz, or the NBA for that matter.
He can't shoot the ball well anymore, he's not a great defender and his skill at running the point went out the window when he went back to wearing a green jersey.
Oh, and the fact that waiving him would mean not having to waste $2 million bucks on a guy who ins't going to help your team certainly couldn't hurt.
Washington Wizards: Andray Blatche
It makes too much sense that the Washington Wizards would cut Andray Blatche. If there was one player in the NBA that a specific team shouldn't want, it's the Wizards with Blatche.
Blatche, along with being a clubhouse cancer, is an overpaid, underproducing slug of a basketball player.
The Wizards still have their amnesty provision to use. Who knows why they haven't wiped Blatche off their books yet?
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