Ranking the Worst Free-Agent Signings in Dallas Mavericks History

Ross BentleySenior Analyst IJuly 26, 2013

Ranking the Worst Free-Agent Signings in Dallas Mavericks History

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    After another disappointing offseason, the Dallas Mavericks made a couple of questionable free-agent signings going into next year when they brought over Jose Calderon for four years and $29 million and Monta Ellis for three years worth at least $25 million. 

    Although it's too early to tell if they will pan out for the Mavericks or not, the possibility of grossly overpaying for a free agent certainly will strike up some bad memories for Mavs fans, as they have had their share of terrible signings over the years. 

    Like most NBA franchises, the Mavericks have shelled out big bucks in attempt to improve their team in the offseason, only to have it blow up in their faces down the road. 

    Here are some of the most egregious free-agent signings the Mavericks have had in their 25-year history as a franchise. 

5. Brendan Haywood

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    Brendan Haywood has been a good backup center during his NBA career, but when the Mavericks signed him to a six-year deal worth up to $55 million in 2010, they were paying him starter money.

    Haywood showed in his time in Dallas that he simply wasn't that player. He was Tyson Chandler's backup during the 2011 title run, but when the reins were given back to him in 2012, he struggled once again.

    His only two full seasons in Dallas were extremely pedestrian, as he averaged 4.4 and 5.2 PPG despite his lucrative contract, before being released last offseason under the amnesty clause. 

4. Evan Eschmeyer

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    Even today, it's hard to imagine that Mark Cuban and company could justify offering benchwarmer Evan Eschmeyer the six-year, $20 million deal they did in 2001.

    Fans at the time even knew the Eschmeyer deal would be one that would come back to haunt the team.

    Eschmeyer did nothing of note in his four NBA seasons with the Mavericks and New Jersey Nets, so it's hard to understand just where the team was coming from when signing him to that lucrative of an offer.

    In his two seasons in Dallas, Eschmeyer rarely played and averaged just 1.5 PPG and 2.5 RPG.

3. Erick Dampier

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    Erick Dampier was a serviceable player during his time with the Mavericks, but serviceable doesn't come anywhere close to justifying the seven-year, $70 million contract Dampier got from the Mavs in 2004.

    Dampier was coming off of a season with the Golden State Warriors in which he averaged 12 points and 12 rebounds, but he never came close to duplicating those numbers while in Dallas.

    Dampier's only real value was on the defensive end, but his offense was completely nonexistent and often hindered the team on that end of the floor.

2. Raef LaFrentz

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    After being sent over to the Mavericks from the Denver Nuggets, where he had a successful run, Raef LaFrentz was impressive in his half of a season with the team in 2001-02—impressive enough that he was rewarded with a seven-year, $70 million deal that offseason.

    However, LaFrentz never fit in with the Dallas system after that, and he was a shell of his former self in his only full season in Dallas. 

    LaFrentz was such a disappointment to the front office that he was traded to the Boston Celtics just a year after signing his mega contract.

1. Tariq Abdul-Wahad

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    Tariq Abdul-Wahad was signed to a six-year, $40 million contract after the 2001-02 season, and his lack of production with that big of a deal make him the worst free-agent signing in team history.

    Abdul-Wahad is a player whom Mark Cuban described as lazy, saying Abdul-Wahad "didn't seem to want to train, didn't really want to practice."

    In two seasons as a Maverick, Abdul-Wahad played in only 18 games while battling through injuries. He then sat on injured reserve for two seasons (all while continuing to get paid) before being released.