5 Worst NBA Contracts That Could Be on the Trading Block This Year
Like any industry, professional basketball has a few guys who may be overpaid. In the case of the NBA, there are players who are drastically overpaid.
It's not uncommon for someone to have a good season or two, and then sign a huge deal that he never lives up to. There are also players whose contracts become terrible because of injuries.
And generally, when an organization feels a player is earning more than he deserves, it will explore the possibility of moving him.
Sometimes the contracts are so bad that it becomes nearly impossible to make a deal.
Contract Details: 2 years/$35.2 million (with a player option on the second year)
Zach Randolph may be 32 years old, but he has the kind of game that translates to advanced years. He uses his bulky upper body to establish position inside and doesn't need to play above the rim.
It's a style that's been effective for him. Last season, he scored 15.4 points and grabbed 11.2 boards a game—one of just four players to post such averages in 2012-13. Dwight Howard, David Lee and Kevin Love were the others.
But Randolph has been in the rumor mill before, and Memphis has established a reputation of competing on a budget. They shipped Rudy Gay out shortly after signing him to a deal similar to Randolph's.
If backup power forward Ed Davis shows the potential to produce in his stead, don't be surprised if Memphis explores its options with Randolph in the trade market.
They'd have to dig deep, because finding a team willing to take on his contract could be tough.
Possible Destination: Washington
The Deal: Zach Randolph for Emeka Okafor and Jan Vesely
This would work for the Grizzlies because Okafor is on an expiring contract and he would fit Memphis's defense-first mentality.
As for the Wizards, they have an exciting young backcourt in John Wall and Bradley Beal, but lack the punch inside to provide balance. Randolph would command attention around the rim, creating a bit more space on the perimeter for the guards.
Jameer Nelson and Arron Afflalo
Contract Details: Jameer Nelson, two years/$16.6 million (with a team option on the second year); Arron Afflalo, three years/$23.3 million (with a player option on the third year)
The Orlando Magic have kicked off a rebuilding phase. They just have a few more veterans to unload before they truly have the restart they need.
The three who are most likely to be shopped this year are Jameer Nelson, Arron Afflalo and Glen Davis. Since Davis's contract is fairly affordable, I left him off this slide.
Nelson's isn't terrible either, since the second year is a team option. But unless some team tries to deliberately acquire him as an expiring contract, it could be tough to find a team looking to pay a backup point guard over $8 million.
One team that makes a ton of sense to me is the Bulls.
Possible Destination: Chicago
The Magic would get an expiring contract in Deng that would accelerate their rebuild and give them a lot more flexibility in the summer of 2014.
For the Bulls, losing Deng would hurt, but it would allow the team to move up-and-coming Jimmy Butler over to small forward—his natural position. Afflalo is a 38.3 percent three-point shooter and could be a solid three-and-D wing at the 2. Nelson, who averaged 14.7 points and 7.4 assists last season, would go from being a middle-of-the-pack starting point guard to one of the best backups in the league.
Contract Details: two years/$32.1 million
At first glance, it looks like Carlos Boozer's production would make him a valuable member of the Bulls. He averaged 16.2 points and 9.8 rebounds, but basic stats don't tell the whole story.
Chicago was actually much better when Boozer was on the bench last year. Its opponents averaged 4.2 fewer points per 100 possessions when he wasn't on the floor—and Chicago scored 4.3 points more. So, the team was essentially 8.5 points better without Boozer.
A big part of why this was the case is backup power forward Taj Gibson—who may be ready to step into a starting role.
That is, unless the Bulls can get another starting 4 in exchange for Boozer.
Possible Destination: Minnesota
The Deal: Kevin Love and Corey Brewer for Carlos Boozer, Jimmy Butler, Nikola Mirotic and draft picks
I can't take credit for this deal. ESPN's Bill Simmons proposed it during he and Jalen Rose's preview of the Minnesota Timberwolves.
You can read this for an in-depth analysis of why I think it works.
Long story short: Chicago gets a franchise power forward to pair with Derrick Rose, while Minnesota gets a great haul for Love, who may not re-sign when his contract is up. It would be a move similar to what Utah pulled off with Deron Williams in 2011.
Contract Details: two years/$45.1 million
Amar'e Stoudemire is rapidly approaching Anfernee Hardaway or Brandon Roy territory. Just a few short years ago, he was one of the league's most dominant and exciting big men. But injuries have completely derailed his career.
Over the last two seasons, Stoudemire has appeared in 76 games—just 29 in 2012-13. He's now a backup that may not be able to play more than the 23.5 minutes he averaged last season for fear of what a bigger role might do to his knees.
$45 million dollars over two years is a huge commitment for a role player.
But enough about money, Stoudemire was actually pretty effective in the limited role in which he spent his most recent campaign. He averaged 14.2 points on 57.7 percent shooting and posted a PER of 22.1.
If he can somehow get back to full strength, I'm sure the Knicks would love to hang on to him. But allow me to draw your attention to Hardaway and Roy again to show that history is not on Stoudemire's side.
Possible Destination: Given the attached injury history, I just can't see any team taking a risk as big as this deal.
Contract Details: two years/$18.1 million
If I had to make a call for the worst contract in the league, I'd probably settle on Kendrick Perkins. For comparison's sake, let's look at how much more effective his backup Nick Collison plays—whose contract is for two years/$4.8 million.
Minutes per game and points per game explain themselves. Offensive rating, or ORtg, is an estimate of how many points a player produces per 100 possessions. Defensive rating, or DRtg, is an estimate of how many points a player allows per 100 possessions. True shooting percentage, or TS%, weighs three-point and free-throw shooting.
All those numbers are pretty damning for Perkins, but the biggest indicator that he provides little value is his player efficiency rating. He was the only player in the NBA last season who played over 25 minutes a game and posted a PER less than 8.3.
The Thunder desperately need to get out from under this deal. I just don't see anyone who would take it off their hands.
Possible Destination: Your guess is as good as mine.