Every NBA Team's Worst Contract
Almost every NBA team has bad contracts, because almost every NBA team makes mistakes. Team's will make bad trades or give a big contract to an undeserving player. It happens all the time.
Sometimes, bad contracts are extremely useful. A big expiring contract can be key to constructing a balanced trade. However, they are nothing to be proud of. These players are paid millions to contribute very little to their teams and stop their organization from having the money to acquire more deserving talent.
Now, before all of you NBA fans start ranting in the comments about how this or that player should just be cut via the amnesty clause, there are a few rules about the amnesty clause that you may or may not know and should know.
For instance, in between the end of the 2011 lockout and the start of the 2013-2014 NBA season, each team may cut one player using the amnesty clause. This is generally a known rule, but still too often ignored. Yes Knick fans, that means you can't cut Stoudemire because you already cut Billups last season.
Here is another rule that is very little known as far as I can tell. A player may only be cut if, and only if, that player was on the same team he is now when the 2011 lockout ended and is on the same contract now as when the 2011 lockout ended. That means any recent acquisitions or re-signed players are off limits. So for almost all the players in this article, they are stuck with their current team unless a smart GM can convince another team to make a trade.
So without further ado, let's meet the biggest plague to every team's budget.
Atlanta Hawks: Devin Harris
Contract: 1 Year/$8.5 Million
Just a few years ago, Devin Harris was an All-Star point guard finding huge success as the Nets starter. Last year though, he was one of the NBA's worst starting point guards.
Harris finished the season having played 63 games with the Jazz and putting up just 11.3 points and five assists a game. His minutes and shots went down as well, and he was even put on the trading block in the middle of the season, but there were no takers.
In short, his year was disastrous. And now Harris finds himself on the Hawks and set to make $8.5 million. Maybe the Hawks can rejuvenate his career, but if not, they should be happy he's only on a one-year deal. Maybe they could even find a taker in a trade if things go wrong.
Boston Celtics: Paul Pierce
Contract: 2 Years/$32.1 Million
Paul Pierce isn't on this list because he is a bad player, let's make that clear. He is far from a bad player. He still plays good defense and scored 19 points a game last year while sharing touches with Allen, Rondo and KG. But, someone on the Celtics has to be put on the list, and Pierce is the closest thing to a bad contract they have.
The almost 35-year-old Pierce is still good and is still an All-Star, but he does not deserve almost 17 million dollars a year. He puts up a solid 19 points, five rebounds and five assists a night as well as playing good defense. But $17 million is the type of money that is usually reserved for superstars, and Pierce is no longer a superstar.
He isn't even the face of the Celtics anymore. He got his huge contract a couple seasons ago because then he was the face of the franchise and he was an older and experienced NBA player.
Pierce will likely play out his contract with the Celtics and there is no urgent reason to move him, but there might also be a small sense of relief when Pierce's huge contract is unloaded from the team's cap.
Brooklyn Nets: Joe Johnson
Contract: 4 Years/$89.3 Million
There were so many options for this team. I could've chosen Gerald Wallace who is making $10 million a year much past his prime, or Kris Humphries who is making $12 million a year, or Brook Lopez who scored a huge contract. But above them all is newly acquired guard Joe Johnson.
Johnson is not a bad player. He was still able to score 19 points a game last season, but he doesn't rebound, set up teammates or play great defense. And yet he is one of the highest paid players in the NBA and doesn't nearly deserve what he's getting. If the Nets still have him at the end of his contract they'd be paying almost $25 million for a 34-year-old who by then may not even be able to shoot well either, which is the only thing he really has going for him.
While Nets fans rejoice about their new acquisition, Hawks fans are ecstatic that they got a sucker to take such a loaded contract. And there will be a lot of pressure on Johnson. If the Nets finish behind teams like the Knicks and 76ers in their division this season, then fans will start to wonder whether they really made the right decision by making this trade.
Charlotte Bobcats: Ben Gordon
Contract: 2 Years/$25.6 Million (Including Player Option)
Remember when Ben Gordon was with the Bulls? He was a scoring machine who could put up 20+ points on any given night and was one of the league's biggest threats from behind the arc. Unfortunately, that isn't the Ben Gordon who was on the Pistons the past few seasons and it isn't the Ben Gordon who is playing with the Bobcats this year.
Gordon has now suffered through three consecutive years of mediocrity. Even on a struggling Pistons roster he was unable to garner a starting spot consistently. He put up just 12.5 points a game last season, and you can expect about the same productivity from him in Charlotte.
In fact, Gordon may make more in millions this season than he will score in points a game, and that is ridiculous.
Chicago Bulls: Carlos Boozer
Contract: 3 Years/$47.1 Million
Carlos Boozer is another player who used to be an All-Star, though in a few months he will be on the wrong side of 30 and his production is declining with every season. Boozer has gone from putting up 19.5 points and 11.2 rebounds a game just a couple years ago to just 15 points and 8.5 rebounds a game last season. His field goal percentage has gone down, as well as virtually every single statistic you can think of.
Still, this may not be such a large hole to climb out of. Boozer may not deserve what he's making, but if the Bulls really do get tired of his contract he is one of the few NBA players actually eligible to be amnestied.
And if not, Boozer is still at that point in his career where he would have enough value to another team that he could be traded. The Bulls have some options that they might want to think about.
Cleveland Cavaliers: Luke Walton
Contract: 1 Year/$6.1 Million
Luke Walton is probably used to articles like this about him. He has become a target of mockery from fans of the NBA and is the center of many popular memes these days. But don't get ahead of yourself; this guy could still probably make you cry if you two played in a one-on-one game. That's why he's in the NBA, right?
Yes, he is in the NBA for a reason, but you must admit he doesn't nearly deserve what he's getting paid. Walton is being paid $6 million a year right now when he scored two points in about 12 minutes a game off the bench last year and shot 37 percent from the field. It really is too bad that the Cavs can't amnesty him, because we all know nobody is trading for Luke Walton. Right now, he's stuck in Cleveland.
Dallas Mavericks: Dirk Nowitzki
Contract: 2 Years/$43.6 Million
Don't get me wrong, I love Dirk, but I think we all came to overrate him just a bit after he led the Mavs to victory over the Heat in the finals. Maybe it was just age, but next season he wasn't nearly as good as he seemed in the playoffs. His scoring dropped to 21.6 PPG; his rebound numbers were at their worst since his sophomore season and blocks were at an all-time low. In addition, both his field goal and three-point percentages dropped.
All of a sudden, he doesn't seem like that star player anymore. He is 7-feet tall but he can't rebound or block shots, so what we're left with is his ability to score. And his scoring ability alone is not worth over $20 million a year, I don't care if he is the face of the franchise.
Denver Nuggets: JaVale McGee
Contract: 4 Years/$44 Million
Wow. What a massive contract for a guy who isn't even a top-10 center in the league. JaVale is a nice young, developing player, but almost $11 million a year is way too much. Just look at the stats.
He shoots a high percentage shot, but doesn't score often, and you at least want a center you're paying that much to get a double-double. And that isn't even to mention McGee's frequent and silly gaffes on the court. I understand that he is a good defensive player and his main contribution is on the defensive side of things, but I'm just not sold on this contract. It's too massive and risky.
Detroit Pistons: Corey Maggette
Contract: 1 Year/ $10.9 Million
Maggette has had decent seasons in the past in which he has put up 20 points a game, but none of those seasons occurred recently and the 32-year-old is not the solution for the Pistons. Last season, the small forward put up 15 points, but just four rebounds a game, and that was on a team where he was one of the main scoring options because there wasn't really anyone else.
He scored 15 a game, but wasn't efficient in doing so. He took almost 12 shots a game, hurled too many threes and only actually connected on 38 percent of his field goal attempts. That doesn't sound like a player who deserves $11 million a year. But at least he's an expiring contract, so maybe the Pistons will find some use in that.
Golden State Warriors: Andris Biedrins
Contract: 2 Years/$18 Million
This picture dates back to a game in 2009 because that's how often Biedrins has his picture taken during a game. There are other bad contracts on the Warriors like Richard Jefferson, but Biedrins has to take the cake. Just look at his pitiful stat line. He put up 1.7 points and 3.7 rebounds a game, and that was even after he started most of the season. And how about him shooting 11 percent from the free-throw line?
Unfortunately, Golden State can't amnesty him, but with Bogut, it is unacceptable that Biedrins is still on the roster. They have to do something. Good luck finding a taker though.
Houston Rockets: Omer Asik
Contract: 3 Years/$24.1 Million
After backing up Joakim Noah for the past couple seasons, Asik has shown the potential to be a starting center, but giving him this much is a bold move by the Rockets.
Asik won't actually be making much this year. He'll make $5 million this year and $5.3 million next season. Asik should definitely play good enough defense, block enough shots and grab enough boards for that to be worthwhile, but jump ahead two years from now.
In 2014-2015, both Asik and Jeremy Lin will be making close $15 million. Those are All-Star salary figures, and neither of those players look like future All-Stars. You really think they will both live up to those expectations? Now, there's a pair of moves that the Rockets will come to regret.
Indiana Pacers: George Hill
Contract: 5 Years/$40 Million
George Hill struck it big this offseason when the guard picked up a huge deal from the Pacers. Hill has been the backup guard for the past couple of seasons, and even with Collison gone, he'll likely backup the new acquisition D.J. Augustin.
Last season, Hill put up about 10 points, three rebounds and three assists a game and shot 37 percent from three-point range. Not bad numbers for a bench player, I'll admit, but when you're paying your bench guard more than double your starting point guard, shouldn't you know you're doing something wrong?
Los Angeles Clippers: Lamar Odom
Contract: 1 Year/$8.2 Million
I'm surprised Odom is even on an NBA team after how he played last season. The 32-year-old forward posted career lows in points, rebounds, assists, steals, blocks and field goal percentage.
In fact, he just about cut his production from 2010-2011 in half. After that, who would pay this guy $8 million to play on their team? Well, the Clippers apparently. And who knows, he found success with this team a long time ago and maybe he will again.
Being in L.A again could also have a positive impact on him. But to be quite honest, he probably isn't worth $8 million even if he does play like he did two years ago.
Los Angeles Lakers: Metta World Peace
Contract: 2 Years/$15 Million
Despite his new name, Metta World Peace isn't exactly a role model you want to have on your team. You always like having a veteran presence in the locker room, but I think Nash and Kobe have that covered and I'm not sure World Peace is the kind of veteran player they're talking about.
So considering that, plus the fact that he is no longer an effective scorer, I see no reason why they keep him. He isn't awful, but you could fill the bench with much better players for the $7 or $8 million you would save.
When he is off the court, World Peace's name will show up in the news. He is definitely a diva. But on the court, World Peace really just isn't very relevant anymore as an NBA player. His luck has run out.
Memphis Grizzlies: Zach Randolph
Contract: 3 Years/$50.8 Million (Including Player Option)
The Grizzlies are another team that doesn't have any awful contracts, but they do have bold and risky ones. Look no further than Zach Randolph.
If Randolph was consistently healthy and could actually develop some chemistry with star teammate Rudy Gay, then maybe he should be making $16 or $17 million a year. But we're talking about a guy who has missed at least 15 games five times in his 11 year career. That really isn't good.
Physically, Randolph is one of the riskiest bets in the NBA. He has had injuries all his career and investing huge money in him is a very risky idea.
Now, when Randolph is on a streak, he is fantastic. Sometimes he even seems like the best PF in the league, but he's injured too often to really be a star. And last year when he was on the court he averaged just 11 points and eight rebounds a game. If the Grizzlies need it, there is an useful thing they still possess called the amnesty clause that they can use on Randolph.
Miami Heat: Mike Miller
Contract: 3 Years/$18.6 Million (Including Player Option)
For Mike Miller, coming off the bench is still a fairly new concept. Keep in mind that a few years ago Miller was very successful with the Grizzlies and has only played off the bench in his last two season with the Heat. And in those seasons, he hasn't been bad.
He scored six points and grabbed 3.3 boards a game last year. When he got minutes, his did what he was supposed to. He shot 45 percent from three and was a great option for the team to get quick points.
But Miller may no longer be of assistance in Miami. Following the signing of Ray Allen, Miller is now Miami's third best SG, behind not one but two potential Hall of Famers, and Allen does everything he does, except better. Miller is there to shoot and get quick buckets in the few minutes he gets off the bench, but now Allen will take over that roll. Miller is, well, obsolete. And don't think the Heat won't consider using their amnesty clause on him to free up some extra cap space.
Milwaukee Bucks: Beno Udrih
Contract: 1 Year/$7.8 Million
Last year was Udrih's first in Milwaukee, and it was a tough season for the Slovenian point guard. The minutes he was getting as a starter in Sacramento were stripped away from him, and he put up just 5.9 points and 3.8 assists a game in 18 minutes.
In his defense, it really wasn't his fault. He still played at about the same level, but just didn't get the same minutes because he shared a backcourt with Jennings and Ellis.
Really, Udrih isn't a bad player, but just doesn't fit on the roster. It doesn't make sense for him to play so few minutes, nor does it make sense to pay him $8 million to play off the bench. Udrih needs to find a way to relocate.
Minnesota Timberwolves: Andrei Kirilenko
Contract: 2 Years/ $20 Million (Including Player Option)
The T-Wolves were busy over the offseason and acquired a few players with Kirilenko being the most notable. Kirilenko was given a big contract that will pay him about $10 million in each of the next two seasons, but he is not worth that money.
For one, Kirilenko is not the same player he was five years ago. He is no longer the guy who can get three blocks, two steals a game and play lockdown defense on pretty much any player in the league. At 29, he is still finding success, but his scoring has gone down, his rebounding has gone down and he isn't as much of a defensive beast. And to make matters worse, it isn't quite clear how AK47 will get the minutes he wants in Minnesota. After all, he is sharing the SF position with sophomore Derrick Williams and newly-acquired Chase Budinger.
So, if a time comes during the season when the T-Wolves need to make a choice between keeping Williams or Kirilenko, maybe the idea to trade his bad contract will come to them. I realize the T-Woves want to start winning, but overpaying decent starters is not the way to win.
New Orleans Hornets: Robin Lopez
Contract: 3 Years/$15.4 Million
For the first few seasons of his career, Robin Lopez played in Phoenix, where until last year with Marcin Gortat, he could've easily gotten a lot of minutes due to the lack of big men. However, that isn't the case.
The former 15th-overall pick in the 2008 draft has never accomplished anything special in his career and by last season, the Suns just seemed to lose confidence in their former draft pick. He didn't start in one game, played just 15 minutes a game and shot a career low 46 percent from the field. He put up averages of 5.4 points and 3.3 rebounds a game.
Now the Hornets are in a situation where they don't really have any good centers unless Davis were to play there, so Lopez may earn quite a few minutes. And based on what he's done in the past, don't expect him to be any better when he's given another opportunity this time.
Starter or no starter, $5 million is too much.
New York Knicks: Amar'e Stoudemire
Contract: 3 Years/$65 Million (Including Player Option)
Amar'e Stoudemire finished last season with a career worst year, but it really isn't all his fault. His shot was slightly less consistent, but the only real reason he went from scoring 25 points a game down to 17 was because he took just 14 shots a game, down from 19 in 2010-2011.
He never developed good chemistry with Melo and he just didn't get the ball as much. Sure, he was scoring less efficiently and the rebound and block numbers were down, but a lot of that is because of the arrival of Tyson Chandler at center.
Even with past health issues, Amar'e is only 29-years-old. If he could develop some chemistry with the other players in the Knicks lineup, there is no reason he can't be an All-Star again. But, he hasn't made that step yet. He could be an All-Star again, but right now he isn't playing like one. And someone who isn't playing like an All-Star does not deserve $20 million a year.
Oklahoma City Thunder: Kendrick Perkins
Contract: 3 Years/$27 Million
Kendrick Perkins is a guy you like to have on your team, but not really for the amount of money he is getting. Last season, Perkins averaged 5.1 points, 6.6 rebounds and 1.1 blocks a game as the starting center for the Thunder. He did that while making $7.1 million.
This year, his salary has raised to $8.3 million and is only going to get higher over the next few seasons. He plays good defense, but you can't deny that there are other defensive options out there for less than what he's making.
On the bright side, the Thunder do still have their amnesty clause and can use it on Perkins. That would free up the cap space to sign other quality players. Or maybe the Thunder just want to save cap space in an attempt to retain Harden now that Ibaka has re-signed. Either way, cutting Perkins definitely shouldn't be overlooked.
Orlando Magic: Hedo Turkoglu
Contract: 2 Years/$23.8 Million (Including Player Option)
Once upon a time, Hedo Turkoglu was a key piece for the Orlando Magic. In the season they reached the finals, he scored 19.5 points a game, grabbed 5.7 boards and also got five dimes.
But in the past few seasons, all has changed. Turkoglu struggled in Toronto and struggled even more in Phoenix, and he didn't do well last year back in Orlando either. He put up 11 points a game and shot just 42 percent as the starting small forward.
Coming into this season, Turkoglu is now 33-years-old. He is on a team without Dwight Howard or any other real talent, so he is going to be a go-to scorer. He still has a good three-point shot, and on a horrible team, somebody has to score.
But don't let an improved stat line fool you. Turkoglu might score more now, but as soon as he's put on a team with other talent, he will become irrelevant again. He'll go right back to being the washed-up, below-average starter he usually is. The type of player you don't generally pay $12 million a year.
Philadelphia 76ers: Kwame Brown
Contract: 2 Years/$5.7 Million (Including Player Option)
This may sound a little harsh, but somebody had to be picked for this slide because the 76ers have done a great job of avoiding bad contracts. And though Kwame Brown is only set to make $2.8 million this season, almost anything is too much for the center at this point.
Brown is the former first-overall pick of the 2001 NBA draft and one of the greatest busts in NBA history. The No. 2 and 3 picks of the draft were Tyson Chandler and Pau Gasol, two successful players, so that only adds to the pressure on Brown.
He has spent 11 seasons in the NBA, but has missed at least 15 games in 8 out of those 11 seasons. He's shot 49 percent from the field for his career and has put up career averages of 6.8 points and 5.6 rebounds. Clearly those stats aren't eye-popping. And yes, he doesn't play defense or block shots especially well either.
So Brown clearly is a bust. He isn't making much, but when someone like Brown gets injured so consistently and doesn't play well when he's on the court either, anything over a minimum deal is overpaying.
Phoenix Suns: Channing Frye
Contract: 3 Years/$19.2 Million (Including Player Option)
The Suns did a great job of getting rid of their bad contracts this offseason. They traded away Warrick and Lopez, cleared cap space by having Grant Hill sign elsewhere and used their amnesty clause on Josh Childress. All those moves funded their offseason signings of Dragic, Beasley, Marshall and Scola.
There is one more fairly bad contract on the team though. Channing Frye is going to make between $5-6 million over the next few seasons, and though he isn't a bad player, he doesn't deserve that money, either.
Frye was the Suns' starting PF last season with averages of 10.5 points and six rebounds a game. Though he is a pretty bad excuse for a starter, he is one of the best three-point shooting big men in the game and would probably deserve this money if he was still going to start. But now Luis Scola has taken his spot as starter and Frye will have to fight with Markieff Morris for minutes. In the end, that could leave Frye buried deep in the rotation without much time to play.
Paying a bench warmer over $5 million just doesn't make sense, and Frye is not great, but might have some value to offer a team looking for a bench player. It wouldn't be surprising to see Frye traded midseason.
Portland Trailblazers: Nicolas Batum
Contract: 4 Years/$44.6 Million
Batum was offered a large, new contract from the Blazers this offseason, but to believe that Batum will live up to his new contract is optimistic, to say the least.
Batum didn't even start last season until Gerald Wallace was traded, and when he did start he was nothing special. In about 31 minutes of play a game, he put up about 14 points and five rebounds a game.
Now, he knows how to steal, block, shoot the three and plays good perimeter defense, but Batum is no go-to scorer. He still has a lot of time to improve, but for Batum to ever be a guy who scores 20 points a game seems unlikely. And besides that, the five rebounds a game don't really cut it for a guy who is 6'8".
The Blazers offered this contract in hopes of locking up Batum as a franchise cornerstone, but he really doesn't have the talent to be the face of a franchise. Batum is an above-average player, but please, save that All-Star contract money for LaMarcus Aldridge and quite possibly rookie Damian Lillard.
Sacramento Kings: John Salmons
Contract: 3 Years/$22.7 Million
Salmons was a starter for Sacramento for part of last year, starting 32 games and posting averages of 7.5 points and three rebounds in 27 minutes a game. Those were almost career lows, and his shooting was pretty bad too, shooting just 41 percent from the field and 30 percent from three-point range.
Now, Salmons is a fairly old player. He's 32 and at this point, Evans and Thornton have taken all the minutes at SG. Salmons is one of the several overpaid players at small forward for this team as they struggle to find a suitable player to start.
But among Salmons, Outlaw and Garcia at SF, Salmons definitely has the worst contract of all, and that's something to consider next summer when the Kings will have their final chance at using their amnesty clause before it expires.
San Antonio Spurs: Stephen Jackson
Contract: 1 Year/$10.1 Million
Jackson was acquired from the Warriors last season at the deadline in exchange for Richard Jefferson and a first-round pick, but his time in San Antonio wasn't exactly successful. He was pretty awful with both Milwaukee and San Antonio last season and finished with averages of 9.8 points and 3.5 rebounds a game, along with a horrid 37 percent mark from the field and a 29 percent mark from three-point range.
Jackson did get less minutes, but his scoring was almost cut in half last season from the year prior. It was the first time he averaged less than 10 points a game since 2002-2003. And yes, it is partially because of the decrease in minutes and shots, but Jackson was an outside threat who relied on his three-point shot. If he starts shooting 29 percent from three-point territory, then he is pretty useless.
Jackson just appears to be washed-up. Maybe he can still make a good bench player for the Spurs, but they should be happy he's an expiring contract.
Toronto Raptors: Jose Calderon
Contract: 1 Year/$10.5 Million
The Raptors are pretty much set to fail and come in dead last in the Atlantic division this season, but they did at least try to make some moves, one of which was acquiring point guard Kyle Lowry from the Rockets. Lowry had a breakout season recently and is an improvement over current point guard Jose Calderon. After all, Calderon can pass and has a decent shot, but he's never really acquired a skill set that can lead the Raptors to victory.
The Lowry acquisition moves Calderon to the bench, but paying a guy over $10 million to come off your bench sounds a little crazy. And he doesn't really have the scoring abilities you want out of your sixth man. So, with that in mind, don't be surprised if Calderon is traded midseason. After all, he is a decent point guard with an expiring contract. He could have some value.
Utah Jazz: Marvin Williams
Contract: 2 Years/$15.8 Million (Including Player Option)
On the bright side, the Jazz got rid of Devin Harris. On the dark side, they had to take on Marvin Williams' contract to make it happen. Williams scored 10.2 points and grabbed 5.2 boards last season for Atlanta; he is definitely nothing special. He has a nice three-point shot but won't explode on you, and his defense is sub par. It looks like the Jazz really just swapped bad contracts for no great reason.
Washington Wizards: Emeka Okafor
Contract: 2 Years/$28 Million (Including Player Option)
The Hornets traded Okafor to the Wizards this offseason where Okafor will now accompany Nene down low. Okafor used to seem like a great talent back in Charlotte, but his time in New Orleans was not nearly as successful. Okafor posted 10 points, eight rebounds and a block a game last year for New Orleans.
He's never been an amazing offensive weapon and he won't be now, but he'll be a good defensive tool for the Wizards and he has stayed healthy his entire career. He isn't bad, just not worth nearly what he's making. He'll make enough of an impact that Wizard fans shouldn't have too much to cry about.
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