NBA's Worst Superstar Roster Gambles in Recent Memory

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NBA's Worst Superstar Roster Gambles in Recent Memory
Craig Jones/Getty Images
Cleveland Cavaliers' Shawn Kemp

The worst superstar roster gambles in NBA history include huge contract investments that paid off the least on the basketball court.

As opposed to gambles made by letting a player leave—either via trade or free agency—these risks focus on the decision to acquire a superstar specifically.

Just prior to this season, for example, the Los Angeles Lakers made a superstar roster gamble by trading for Dwight Howard and the one year, $19.5 million left on his current deal.

The Houston Rockets, similarly, did so by bringing in James Harden and then signing him to an $80 million contract. 

While early returns may suggest that the Lakers' investment in Howard isn't paying off quite as well as Houston's is with Harden, these more recent roster gambles are still too early to judge.

We won't truly know for at least a season—or even longer—how those roster moves compare to similar gambles in years past. 

What we do know now, however, is that there have been some epically poor decisions made in an attempt to add a superstar name to an NBA franchise's marquee.

This list focuses on players who were considered superstars at the time they were acquired. The second-tier stars, who simply made superstar money, were omitted.

That's why a player like Juwan Howard—the NBA's first to earn $100 millionis not included on this list. 

Each roster gamble is listed in chronological order according to the year each player was signed.

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