10 Hard-to-Move NBA Contracts
Determining which NBA players are the most untradeable is not as easy as you might think.
While one might be tempted to merely put the bigger contracts of underperforming players on the list, there are many factors to consider. While a player's production on the court may not be commensurate with what he's being paid, a good excuse or injury issues may keep them from being untradeable.
However, the basic premise is the same for untradeable contracts: The player is not playing up to the contract he earned previously. That makes him too expensive to get rid of, because no other team is willing to take him on.
As a result, his current team has to play him, or not get anything in return for the mountains of money they are stacking in his bank account.
Needless to say, these players are lucky they signed these contracts when they did.
10. Nicolas Batum
2012-13 Stats: 15.3 points, 5.9 rebounds, 4.9 assists
2012-13 Salary: $10.825 million
It is up for debate as to whether Nicolas Batum belongs on this list. Not all untradeable players are bad or unwanted by other teams.
In Batum’s case, this is simply a situation where he is made just unattractive enough to spurn interest.
Batum is a very good player, and at age 24, there is plenty of hope that he will continue to improve. No one can blame the Portland Trail Blazers for paying him, considering that they had to match the huge offer sheet he signed with the Minnesota Timberwolves.
While his stats look pretty good, they are not good enough to warrant paying him nearly $50 million over the next four years. He has not proven himself enough to deserve that money. He may end up doing so, which is the risk Portland decided to take.
However, no other team will be willing to pick up that check, given the small sample size he has in the NBA.
9. Gerald Wallace
2012-13 Stats: 8.9 points, 5.2 rebounds, 2.7 assists
2012-13 Salary: $9,682,435
Gerald Wallace does not have the most untradeable contract on this list, primarily because one can at least make decent excuses for why he is not producing as well as he is being paid.
His lack of scoring can be blamed on the better scorers with whom he must share the ball (Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Brook Lopez, etc.). One could also make the argument that his role as a defender is something that does not always show up in the stats.
However, Wallace has never been a superstar. He is not paid like one now, but he is paid a salary that suggests he would be one of the best players on his team. At best, he is the fourth-best, but he could be as low as sixth-best.
Not the player you want to owe $40 million, which is why your team wouldn’t touch him.
8. Jeff Green
2012-13 Stats: 10.3 points, 3.3 rebounds
2012-13 Salary: $8.385 million
Jeff Green is not a bad player; he just never became the good player everyone thought he could be.
However, it is hard to blame the Boston Celtics for dealing for him back in 2011, given that the player they traded away (Kendrick Perkins) has produced even less than Green has.
Still, Green has been disappointing. He has never been as good in Boston as he was in Oklahoma City, although in his defense, he does not get the playing time he did in OKC.
He is overpriced for what he gives them, tangibly speaking. Green has great potential, but his weird position between a true small forward or true power forward may always be his undoing.
Either way, no one else will be willing to pay him $35 million to do what he is doing now.
7. Pau Gasol
2012-13 Stats: 13.4 points, 8.0 rebounds, 3.6 assists
2012-13 Salary: $19 million
Pau Gasol is not to blame for this. I still believe there are teams that would take him, but there are very, very few that would be willing to pick up the $38 million-plus left on his contract.
His stats and play for this season have been among the worst (if not the worst) of his career, but, as I said before, you really can’t blame him. Gasol is one of the most talented big men in the NBA, but he plays on a team where he is undervalued and under-appreciated.
Put him on another team, especially a playoff-bound one, and that team gets much, much better.
Unfortunately for him, he is being underutilized, and he is too expensive at his age to interest many teams.
6. John Salmons
2012-13 Stats: 8.9 points, 3.0 assists, 2.7 rebounds
2012-13 Salary: $8.083 million
The Sacramento Kings are one of the most dysfunctional teams, if not the most, in the entire NBA, as clearly evidenced by the fact that the under-producing Salmons is their highest-paid player.
They owe him over $15 million over the next two years. While that is not a super-steep price tag, it is clearly much more than Salmons is worth at this point in his career.
5. Kendrick Perkins
2012-13 Stats: 4.6 points, 5.9 rebounds, 1.2 blocks
2012-13 Salary: $7,800,531
Kendrick Perkins was a sure-fire candidate for this list because of the size of his contract and his lack of production for the Oklahoma City Thunder.
The 28-year-old center is contributing little on the court, averaging near-career-lows in most statistical categories.
Injuries have been a problem for Perkins, affecting his production. While no one deserves that bad luck, it is also true that no deserves to earn the kind of money he is when they are so clearly ineffective on the court.
His contract is not a mega one by any stretch, but it is far too big when compared side-by-side with his stats. His locker room presence and leadership are important, but they are not worth the over $25 million he is owed over the next few seasons.
4. Carlos Boozer
2012-13 Stats: 15.7 points, 9.3 rebounds, 1.9 assists
2012-13 Salary: $15 million
I am not as big of a Carlos Boozer-hater as many are, but it is obvious to me that Boozer’s contract is among the NBA’s most untradeable.
Another profiteer from the 2010 free-agent-palooza, Boozer signed a lucrative deal with the Bulls that with generate about $46 million over the next three years.
The Bulls should be thankful that is all that is left on the deal. At age 31, Boozer is clearly declining. He is already a liability at times on defense, and his scoring has dipped as well, with him shooting a career-low 47.1 percent from the field.
The fact that Boozer is still in Chicago is proof that he is untradeable. Chicago was supposedly in talks for Pau Gasol a few years back, but a deal could not be reached primarily because they were only willing to part with Boozer.
While that feeling is certainly understandable, it is extremely unlikely another NBA team will help them out with that problem.
3. Amar’e Stoudemire
2012-13 Stats: 13.6 points, 4.8 rebounds
2012-13 Salary: $19,948,799
Back in 2010, it looked like Amar’e Stoudemire was on his way to greatness. He had just opened up the biggest free-agent period in NBA history by signing a $100 million contract with the New York Knicks.
In his first season there, he averaged 25.3 points, 8.2 rebounds and 1.9 blocks and looked like he was on his way to an MVP trophy. Then everything seemed to fall apart when the Knicks traded away their whole team (minus him) for Carmelo Anthony.
It is easy to blame Anthony, but the truth is that this was there all along. Stoudemire, while talented, was a bit of a system player. His meager stats this season make him untradeable, when combined with the ungodly amount of money he is owed ($60 million).
2012-13 Stats: 12.9 points, 6.8 rebounds
2012-13 Salary: $13 million
The placing of Nene’s contract on this list may be undermined by the fact that the Denver Nuggets were able to unload it on another team last season.
However, when you consider that it was the Washington Wizards who took on the deal, you will realize that the only team dumb enough to take it on is the one which currently has it on their books.
Nene’s stats this season are appallingly bad, given the amount he is being paid. His production has been hampered by injuries. While that is a valid excuse for his poor play, it just reinforces why no team would ever allow the Wizards to send Nene their way.
Nene is already 30 years old. He was never an elite big man to begin with, and his age, injury issues and production make him untradeable.
No team is going to want a big man who is injured much of the time, is not that good when he is on the court and is owed over $50 million.
1. Hedo Turkoglu
2012-13 Stats: 2.9 points, 2.4 rebounds, 2.1 assists
2012-13 Salary: $11,815,850
Hedo Turkoglu had benefited greatly from the Orlando Magic’s run to the NBA Finals back in 2009. He was a driving force behind the run, and he leveraged that success into a lucrative free-agent deal with the Toronto Raptors the following offseason.
They sent him to the Phoenix Suns pretty quickly, who then sent him back to Orlando. Since that Finals run, he has never been as good.
This season, he has been even worse. He has played poorly while on the court, and has been forced off of it by injury and a current suspension for testing positive for a banned substance.
Turkoglu’s inclusion on this list is sad for many reasons. The biggest reason is that he will probably be a free agent after this season (his final year is not guaranteed). Normally, those players are big-time trade targets because they come off the books after the playoffs.
Turkoglu has been such a headache that he will likely not even get a sniff.