The dust has begun to settle on a wild NBA free-agency period, and per usual, some teams made some questionable financial decisions.
Overpaying free agents is a time-tested tradition in the NBA. From Michael Redd to Rashard Lewis, high-upside veterans have made an absurd living by ripping off myopic NBA general managers, and the trend continued in 2012.
Patience is difficult, but panicking is easy. Methodical GMs like Sam Presti––who refuse to overpay and build their teams through the draft––get lauded (for good reason), but nobody seems to take note. Desperate to make a splash or keep a player they like, NBA GMs can't help themselves from making poor evaluations on a player's true value.
So without further ado, let's take a look at three NBA players who committed highway robbery this offseason, and three teams who will be kicking themselves in a couple of seasons.
1. Roy Hibbert – Indiana Pacers
2011-12 Stats: 29.8 MPG, 12.8 PPG, 8.8 RPG, 1.7 APG, 2.0 BPG
Contract: 4 Years / $58 Million
Hibbert is a good player, a deserving All-Star, and a young project who could still improve by leaps and bounds. But a max player? He is not, and never will be one of those.
Max contracts are resolved for franchise-changing centerpieces; the LeBron James' and Kevin Durants of the world. Paying Hibbert $14.5 million per season to put up 13 points and 9 rebounds per game is a ludicrous waste of money.
Yes he's 7'2", and yes, he made a difference at times in the playoffs, but the Pacers will regret this signing in a few years. The Blazers really screwed them by offering him a max deal, as Indiana was hoping to sign him for much less.
2. Brook Lopez – Brooklyn Nets
2010-11 Stats: 35.2 MPG, 20.4 PPG, 5.9 RPG, 1.6 APG, 1.5 BPG
Contract: 4 Years / $61 Million
Whenever you can give a max extension to a recently-injured, seven-footer who can't rebound, you have to do it!
Lopez's historically bad rebound rate was even worse in the five games he played last season, dropping from 5.9 a night to 3.6. And while he's a rare commodity (in that he's a legitimate post scorer), the Nets don't need scoring any more; they need physical post players.
The signing of Reggie Evans should help negate Lopez's inability to grab rebounds, but whenever you need a journeyman specialist to augment your max-contract center, you know you're doing something wrong.
3. Jeff Green – Boston Celtics
2010-11 Stats (w/ Boston): 23.5 MPG, 9.8 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 0.7 APG
Contract: 4 Years / $36 Million
Green has had a productive career when he's been healthy enough to stay on the court, but this is a lot of money to commit to somebody with so many question marks.
Supposedly fully recovered from the heart ailment that kept him off the court last season, the Celtics want to make Green a cornerstone of their future, and the heir apparent to Paul Pierce at small forward.
But even before his condition was known, Green had a rocky transition from Oklahoma City to Boston. His per 48 numbers were about the same, but he struggled to find playing time in Doc Rivers' system, dropping from 37 minutes per game to 23.5.
There's a chance Green rewards the Celtics for their faith and fidelity, but this move comes with a ton of risk.