NBA Players Teams Shouldn't Waste Money on
Christian Petersen/Getty Images
With contracts finalizing soon, a lot of NBA teams are scrambling to make last-second roster changes.
And though there are many talented free agents still available for the picking, there are also a few players on whom teams shouldn't bother wasting money.
Whether it's a washed-up former star, a talented player who never quite made it, or a generally solid contributor who doesn't seem to know what he wants, these big-name players should all be passed on by teams looking to shore up their roster.
Whether that actually happens...we'll just have to see.
All stats current as of 1/8/2013
No. 5: Derek Fisher
Derek Fisher's stint with the Mavericks was a brief one.
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Derek Fisher can still play basketball.
He proved that he can still shoot during his brief stint with the Dallas Mavericks this year (connecting on over 43 percent of his threes), and he delivered more than a few timely buckets with the Oklahoma City Thunder during last year’s playoffs.
Playing huge minutes obviously wouldn’t be ideal—he’s still a horrible defender—but he could absolutely be a solid backup.
The problem with Fisher is that it’s too hard to tell what he wants at this point. He requested to be waived by the Mavs so that he could spend more time with his family in Los Angeles, and it’s been said that he’s seriously contemplating retirement.
Let’s pretend that Fisher decides he’s up for playing and decides to sign somewhere. What’s to say that he won’t again decide that it’s too hard to be away from his family?
Or if he gets signed by a team like the Los Angeles Lakers, what are the chances that he later realizes that he would rather have retired after all?
After his first practice in a Mavs uniform, Fisher said (according to NBA.com’s Jeff Caplan):
I told the guys today, “This is not a pit stop. This is not kind of the final whatever before I decide to retire soon. I’m here to give everything I have to help this team right now and continue to build as we go through this season.”
Of course, just a short while later, he asked to be released. It doesn’t sound like he really knows what he wants.
Fisher can still contribute, but there are a lot of veteran guards out there who can do something similar to what he does. Even the Lakers, who seem like the perfect team for him, would be better off making a less risky signing.
No. 4: Ben Wallace
Ben Wallace used to be the league's premier defensive player. Used to be.
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
A lifetime ago, Ben Wallace was the most intimidating defensive force in basketball.
He won four Defensive Player of the Year awards thanks to his transcendent ability to protect the rim.
But today, Wallace is 38 years old and doesn’t have anywhere near the athleticism required to play defense like he used to.
He still takes up plenty of space in the paint and can alter shots, but his defensive ability no longer makes up for his utter helplessness on the offensive end.
Last season, Wallace scored 3.6 points per 36 minutes (via Basketball Reference) and shot less than 40 percent from the floor.
It used to be that Wallace could at least score off of offensive rebounds and put-backs, but his declining athleticism has all but taken that ability from him. To make matters worse, Wallace can't even help his team at the charity stripe, because he’s a career 41-percent free-throw shooter.
Any team that signs Wallace will almost literally have to play four-on-five on the offensive end.
He still rebounds at a decent clip, snagging 9.9 boards per 36 minutes (via Basketball Reference), but that's about all he's able to provide.
Wallace could be serviceable, but his defense and rebounding no longer outweigh his offensive deficiencies.
Any team looking for a cheap rebounder/rim-protector would be better served looking for a player with a bit more offensive pop.
No. 3: Michael Redd
Back in the day, Michael Redd could score with the best of them. But that's no longer the case.
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
Throughout most of last decade, Michael Redd was one of the preeminent scorers in the league.
He averaged over 20 points per game for six straight seasons with the Milwaukee Bucks and was a great shooter from outside.
Unfortunately, Redd’s career has been derailed by injuries, and it’s become clear at this point that he doesn’t have any of his old scoring magic left.
As good as he used to be, he can’t provide much anymore.
Redd hasn’t played a full slate of games since the 2003-04 season and has played just 79 games over the last three years. He simply can’t stay on the court for a full season, and even if he could, it’s hard to imagine that he’d be very effective.
Redd scored 19.5 points per 36 minutes with the Phoenix Suns last season (per Basketball Reference) but did so shooting just 40 percent from the field and 32 percent from deep.
Redd actually hasn’t shot over 32 percent from three since 2008-09, so it would be difficult to even sign him as a long-range specialist. He’s a volume scorer at this point, and not a particularly efficient one.
If you take his injury concerns, inefficient scoring and iffy-at-best defense into account, it’s pretty clear that Michael Redd isn’t worth the money.
He may still have some name value, but he no longer adds very much on-court value.
No. 2: Mike Bibby
Don't be fooled. Mike Bibby can't actually play defense anymore.
Chris Chambers/Getty Images
Back in his Sacramento Kings days, Mike Bibby was an exciting, freewheeling point guard who had a knack for getting into the lane and causing havoc.
Ten years later, he’s an old, slow point guard who has a knack for missing jumpers.
In other words—steer clear of him.
Bibby is a veteran, so he could at least provide some leadership to a team in need. However, he’s also a veteran in the sense that he’s really old, and pretty much everyone in the NBA can beat him off the dribble.
Which is not so good.
Bibby's lack of quickness is also a big problem on the offensive end, since he can no longer get beat guys off the dribble and make plays for himself or for others. He’s become forced to rely on an increasingly unreliable jumper, and it hasn't at all worked out for him.
Bibby was always a solid outside shooter, but he shot under 32 percent from deep with the New York Knicks last season, and an atrocious 28 percent from the field.
The Memphis Grizzlies worked out Bibby about a month ago, so he’s at least generating some interest among teams. He has a good reputation in this league, but that’s essentially all that he brings to the table at this stage in his career.
No. 1: Josh Childress
Josh Childress hasn't done much to be happy about recently.
Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Though Josh Childress was recently waived by the Brooklyn Nets, it was apparently of his own volition. The New York Times’ Howard Beck tweeted:
Josh Childress was waived at his own request. He didn't see a role here and asked Billy King for his release before the game tonight.— Howard Beck (@HowardBeckNYT) December 30, 2012
Childress made an interesting decision and honestly, probably a bad one. He’s not exactly the type of player that NBA teams will be (or at least should be) throwing money at.
Childress is relatively young (29 years old) and actually used to be one of the better sixth men in the league. But ever since returning to the NBA after a two-year stint with a Greek club team, he’s been pretty awful.
In his two years with the Phoenix Suns (2010-12), Childress played around 15 minutes a game. And in those 15 minutes, he averaged a whopping four points, three rebounds and zero defense per game.
Not exactly the stuff of legend.
But the problem isn’t just Childress’s sub-standard production: Teams should also pass on him because he clearly thinks he deserves big minutes.
Childress requested to be waived so that he could have a bigger role on a different team. It’s hard to imagine he’ll accept playing just 10 or 12 minutes per game, and considering how poorly he’s played, it’s hard to imagine an NBA team will be willing to give him more than that.
Definitely not the best combination.