NBA Free Agency 2012: Roy Hibbert and Decade's 10 Worst Max Contracts

Adam Fromal@fromal09National NBA Featured ColumnistJuly 10, 2012

NBA Free Agency 2012: Roy Hibbert and Decade's 10 Worst Max Contracts

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    If you're unhappy with the amount that your job currently pays, this might not be the best article for you to read. 

    After all, these are the 10 worst maximum contracts of the past decade, featuring the players who earned the most money without actually doing anything to earn it. 

    Put together in honor of Roy Hibbert's upcoming return to the Indiana Pacers, these are the players who have inked max deals they didn't deserve over the last 10 years. 

    Read on to find out who they are. 

Gilbert Arenas: Six Years, $111 Million

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    After the 2007-2008 season, Gilbert Arenas pulled a Steve Miller Band. He took the money and ran. 

    That's not literally what happened, but it might have been better for the Washington Wizards if he'd completely disassociated himself from the franchise. 

    Plagued by injuries the next season, he only played in two contests. Then the true trouble started during the 2009-2010 season when he was suspended for bringing firearms into the locker room. 

    When it was all said and done, Arenas had played 55 games for the team that extended his contract after an injury-plagued 2007-2008 campaign. He'd also racked up multiple suspensions, multiple visits to knee surgeons and a felony conviction. 

Steve Francis: Six Years, $80 Million

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    Stevie Franchise and Chinese rookie Yao Ming lit it up during the 2002-2003 season right after he signed his maximum extension with the Houston Rockets that would kick in after the season's end, but everything quickly fell apart. 

    Jeff Van Gundy took over the team, and Steve Francis' playing style didn't exactly mesh with JVG's tendency to try to slow the team down. He grew dissatisfied with the team and was traded after the 2003-2004 season, just one year into his contract. 

    Francis didn't last long with the Orlando Magic either, and he was traded shortly after being suspended for conduct detrimental to the team. 

Rudy Gay: Five Years, $82 Million

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    Rudy Gay has enjoyed a great start to his NBA career with the Memphis Grizzlies, good enough that the team felt it was necessary to sign him to a maximum extension prior to the 2010-2011 season. 

    So far, that hasn't worked out. During the first year of his new deal, Gay was forced to the sideline during a stellar campaign as he endured season-ending shoulder surgery and had to watch his teammates pull off a historic upset in the first round of the playoffs. 

    That led to questions about how important he was to the team, questions that weren't answered this past year in a first-round elimination at the hands of the Los Angeles Clippers. 

    There's a growing feeling that Gay isn't the man for the job in Memphis, and this deal is looking worse and worse as it progresses. 

Roy Hibbert: Four Years, $58 Million

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    According to the Indianapolis Star's Mike Wells, the Indiana Pacers are going to match the Portland Trail Blazers' offer sheet and retain the services of their center, despite the fact that he's been given a max deal. 

    The NBA might not have many great centers, but Hibbert still isn't worth this type of money. He's a great player on defense with improving offensive skills, but he's not a true franchise player. 

    Hibbert is the type of player who you hope to use as a complementary piece, not as one to build around. 

    The Pacers are setting themselves up for failure by committing so much of their salary cap to a young big who hasn't shown that he can single-handedly win games. 

Joe Johnson: Six Years, $119 Million

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    As an Atlanta Hawks fan, I really don't want to have to talk about this one. Here goes nothing...

    The phrase I kept using in the summer of 2010 when Joe Johnson became the highest-paid player in the entire NBA was that the Hawks were "dooming themselves to upper-level mediocrity." 

    Joe wasn't going to carry the team to a title, but his contract was going to financially cripple the organization and prevent further improvement. 

    After two seasons, that's exactly what the brass realized, and new general manager Danny Ferry quickly swung Johnson to the Brooklyn Nets for pennies on the dollar. 

    You know it's a bad contract when a max player is traded for Jordan Farmar, Anthony Morrow, DeShawn Stevenson, Johan Petro, Jordan Williams and a draft pick just to clear up some cap room. 

Rashard Lewis: Six Years, $118 Million

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    Rashard Lewis was always a borderline All-Star during his prime, not a player worth making the second-most money in all of the NBA, like he was during the 2010-2011 season. 

    That year, Lewis averaged just 11.7 points and 5.1 rebounds per game while splitting time between the Orlando Magic and Washington Wizards.

    Then, he made even more money this past year!

    While playing worse!

    It should come as no surprise that Lewis is on this list, as he was one of the poster childs for the NBA lockout, seeing as he was so ridiculously overpaid. 

Stephon Marbury: Four Years, $76 Million

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    Stephon Marbury signed his gigantic contract extension while he was with the Phoenix Suns in 2003, but it kicked in for the 2005-2006 season, after the New York Knicks traded for him. 

    The story of Starbury is well-documented, but here are the highlights: 

    1. He was suspended for insubordination multiple times, causing him to miss a total of 117 games. 

    2. He was constantly booed and got in numerous fights with Isiah Thomas. 

    3. He was left on the inactive list by Mike D'Antoni and eventually banned from practices and games. 

    Of all the awful contracts in this article, this may be the absolute worst. 

Jermaine O'Neal: Seven Years, $126.6 Million

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    When you're going to be paid $126.6 million over seven years, as Jermaine O'Neal's contract indicated after he signed it in the summer of 2003, you need to win a championship or at least come quite close. 

    O'Neal's maximum contract started out in promising fashion as he led the Indiana Pacers to a league-best 61-21 record the next season, but injuries quickly started to derail his career. 

    He never made the All-NBA team again after that season and was even suspended 25 games for his role in the infamous brawl with the Detroit Pistons. 

    O'Neal's play continued to decline until he was traded to the Toronto Raptors for the 2007-2008 season. 

Brandon Roy: Five Years, $82 Million

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    In August of 2009, Brandon Roy signed a four-year extension with an option for a fifth season. 

    Now, less than three years later, Roy is attempting to come out of retirement successfully after signing a two-year deal with the Minnesota Timberwolves. 

    As sad as that is for this classy guy and great basketball player whose career went downhill too soon, it leaves me no choice but to include him here. 

    Knee troubles limited the shooting guard to just 112 games after he signed his extension. 

Ben Wallace: Four Years, $60 Million

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    In 2006, Ben Wallace wasn't much more than a defensive stalwart in the paint, a man who thrived on blocking shots. Yes, he was the best interior defender in the NBA, but he was coming off a season in which he averaged 7.3 points per game. 

    Despite his limitations, the Chicago Bulls inked him to this exorbitant deal, despite the fact that the league's premier perimeter defender, Bruce Bowen, was only making $3.75 million per year. 

    How does that work out logically? 

    Wallace shouldn't have been considered much more than a glorified role player at this stage of his career, and he didn't exactly prove me wrong. 

    After one season with the Bulls, Wallace was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers.