The 10 Worst NBA Contracts of the 09'-10' Season
In his annual All-Star Weekend address, David Stern announced that the NBA is projected to lose a total of $400 million dollars this season. While it may not come as a surprise that the NBA isn’t doing so well, losing $400 million dollars in one season would classify as an outright failure.
In fact, Stern said that the NBA has lost at least $200 million dollars per season since the beginning of 2005. You could blame this recent rough spot on the sagging economy, and that certainly plays a part, but Stern has also placed the blame elsewhere.
He mentioned that one of the biggest problems in the NBA is that players are simply making too much money. With the advent of the new collective bargaining agreement in 2005, NBA players are signing longer contracts for more guaranteed money than ever before.
This means that when a superstar doesn’t pan out (or gets injured), the team that signed him to a long term deal is stuck with a huge contract.
Of course, there’s a big difference between a team that signed a superstar in the prime of his career to not have it work out, and a team that gave some guy who’s a career back up a five year, $40 million dollar contract.
The NBA regular season may be over, but owners are still feeling the sting of having to dish out these huge deals. Looking over these 10 examples, the NBA might want to change their slogan to; the NBA, where ridiculous contracts happen.
Some of the contracts that weren’t quite ridiculous enough to make the list were; Tyson Chandler ($11.7 million), Brad Miller ($12.25 million), Erick Dampier ($12.11 million), Andris Biedrins ($9 million), Mike Dunleavy ($9.78 million), Adam Morrison ($5.27 million), Darko Milicic ($7.54 million), Vince Carter ($16.1 million), Etan Thomas ($7.9 million), Andres Nocioni ($7.5 million), Kenyon Martin ($15.85 million), Richard Jefferson ($14.2 million), Hedo Turkoglu ($9 million), and Gilbert Arenas ($16.19 million).
10. Yao Ming- $16.37 million dollars in 09’-10’ season
There’s no doubt that the 7’6’’ Yao is one of the NBA’s premier big men when healthy, but he was sidelined for the entire 09’-10’ season with a broken foot.
His foot was broken in last year’s playoffs and all indications are that his recovery is going very slowly. This past year the Rockets didn’t fare too well without Yao patrolling the middle, and they clearly missed his nightly 20 points and 10 rebounds.
Injuries have been an issue for Yao throughout his career and of his eight seasons in the NBA, he has failed to play 60 games four times. Because of his unique skill set for a player his size, if Yao had been healthy he certainly would’ve earned his money.
As it stands, a guy who made over 16 million dollars that played as many minutes in the NBA as I did this season has to be one of the worst contracts in the NBA for this year.
9. Mark Blount- $7.9 million dollars in 09'-10' season
There’s a difference between a player who didn’t play any games this past season because he’s injured, and a player like Blount, who hasn’t played because nobody wants him.
Blount has been a somewhat serviceable NBA big man through his nine seasons in the league, but it’s a complete mystery why any team would offer him a six year, $42 million dollar contract.
Blount has always been a decent outside shooter in his time in the league, but he has also been a notoriously bad rebounder. Combine that with his advanced age of 34, and it’s no wonder that teams weren’t inquiring about Blount when the Minnesota Timberwovles told him to stay away from training camp and advised his agent to seek a trade.
As for what Blount did this past season, my best guess is that he was probably on his yacht in the Bahamas eating shrimp the size of Nerf footballs.
Blount is making the least money of any of the players on this list, but it’s hard to leave his 8 million dollar contract off of it, considering what kind of player he has been throughout his career.
8. Peja Stojakovic- $13.92 million dollars in 09’-10’ season
We all probably remember Peja from his days with the Sacramento Kings where it seemed like he would never miss a three.
Once upon a time Peja was one of the most feared shooters in all of the NBA, but that’s not the case anymore.
Since being traded to the Hornets in 2006 his play has steadily declined thanks mostly to injuries, especially to his back, which caused him to miss most of the 06’-07’ season.
This season Peja played decent ball for a New Orleans team which struggled mightily, before missing the last 18 games of the season with an abdominal strain.
While he averaged 12.6 points per game you have to think that the Hornets were hoping for a little bit more from their highest paid player.
The 11 year veteran saw his scoring, rebounding, and three point shooting percentage dip to the lowest they’ve been since his second season in the league, and he continues to be a defensive liability when matched up against stronger and more athletic small forwards.
But it’s tough to expect much more from a guy who has the lower back of a 50 year old piano mover.
7. Shaquille O’neal- $20 million dollars in 09’-10’ season
Shaq has been one of the best NBA players of all time, which is why it was considered a bargain when he signed a five year deal worth $100 million dollars in 2005 with the Miami Heat.
But at 38 years old and with the best years of his career clearly behind him, that $20 million dollar annual salary certainly doesn’t seem like much of a deal anymore.
This season he’s essentially joined the Cleveland Cavaliers to help them guard Dwight Howard if the Cavs should play the Magic in the playoffs.
Partly because he’s 38 years old and partly because the Cavaliers have been resting him for the playoffs, Shaq has posted some of the lowest averages of his career.
In the regular season he played a career low 23 minutes per game as well as averaging career lows in points (12), rebounds (6.7), and blocks (1.2). Shaq can still show flashes of brilliance when he wants to, thanks to his tremendous size and above average footwork.
He’s still a load to handle around the basket and he can also make an impact on the defensive side of the court. Just don’t expect him to be a difference maker every night, as it’s clear that his body simply can’t handle the day-to-day wear and tear that the NBA dishes out.
With the playoffs currently in full swing, we will have to wait and see if Shaq can help the Cavaliers get past the Magic and bring a much overdue championship to the city of Cleveland. If Cleveland wins it all this year, most Cavalier fans would probably say that the $20 million dollars Shaq earned was well worth it.
As it stands he is currently a $20 million dollar insurance policy against Dwight Howard, and there’s no guarantee that the 38 year old O’Neal will be able to keep a lid on one of the best players in the NBA.
6. Andrei Kirilenko-$16.45 million dollars in 09’-10’ season
The 6’9’’ Russian made quite an impression on Utah Jazz management in his first few years in the league, prompting them to reward Kirilenko with a six year, $86 million dollar contract in 2004. At the time, it certainly seemed like Andrei was going to be one of the next great players in the NBA.
You need look no further than the numbers he put up during the 03’-04’ season; 16.5 points per game, 8.1 rebounds per game, and 3.1 assists per game. To go along with that stat line Kirilenko added almost 3 blocks and 2 steals per game.
Those numbers show Kirilenko’s versatility, not only to score but also dish the ball to teammates, as well as play hard-nosed defense.
At the time he signed his huge contract, Kirilenko was the focal point of the Utah Jazz, but he began clashing with hall of fame coach Jerry Sloan. At which point, Kirilenko found himself playing more of a secondary role to Carlos Boozer, Mehmet Okur, and Deron Williams.
Over the past four seasons, Kirilenko has seen his playing time decrease and while he is still a solid contributor for the Jazz he’s essentially a $16 million dollar role player.
5. Bobby Simmons- $11.24 million dollars in 09’-10’ season
In 2005 when Bobby Simmons signed a five year, $47 million dollar contract with the Milwaukee Bucks he seemed like a player on the rise. He was coming off a career best season with the Clippers, which saw him win the Most Improved Player award as well as averaging a career high 16 points and 6 rebounds per game.
Since then, Simmons has seen his production drop and never seemed to recover from an ankle injury that caused him to miss the entire 06’-07’ season. Simmons was traded to the Nets in 2008 and while he had a decent season for them in 08’-09’ he had one of the most embarrassing and disastrous seasons in the NBA this year.
On one of the worst teams in NBA history Simmons has the dubious distinction of being its highest paid player.
What’s even worse, is that despite being healthy all year he only managed to play in 23 games. Although Simmons began the season as the projected starting small forward, by the end of the year he was buried on the team’s depth chart behind; Terrence Williams, Jarvis Hayes, and Trenton Hassell.
When Simmons did play he was hardly noticeable on the court, averaging a meager 5.3 points and 2.8 rebounds per game. If I were Bobby Simmons this past season I would’ve picked up my checks wearing a ski mask.
4. Eddy Curry- $10.5 million dollars in 09’-10’ season
As a native New Yorker, there’s really no reason to rub this one in, so I’ll keep it short.
He’s had one of the worst contracts in the NBA for a number of years and Eddy Curry’s $10.5 million dollars this season is no different. Even on a New York Knicks team that desperately needed an inside presence, Curry still couldn’t get on the court.
He played a total of 62 minutes for the Knicks in the entire 09’-10’ season. Curry remains one of the symbols of the disaster that has been New York Knicks basketball in the past five seasons.
3. Michael Redd- $17 million dollars in 09'-10'
Redd was one of the best scorers in the NBA for a number of seasons, and since earning a starting spot in the Bucks lineup in 2003, he averaged 24 points per game for the next five seasons.
The 6’6’’ lefty from Ohio State had one of the sweetest strokes in the league and was known for his ability to hit deep three-pointers. It certainly seemed reasonable that the Bucks signed him to a six year, $91 million dollar deal after the 04’-05’ NBA season.
Redd was having another solid year in 08’-09’ until he tore the anterior cruciate ligament and medial collateral ligament in his left knee, just 33 games into the season.
Redd worked on rehabbing his knee and wanted to be ready for the start of this season. Unfortunately, he would play in only 18 games before tearing the exact same ligaments in a game against the Lakers. He will be turning 31 in August and with two serious knee injuries in the last year it might be possible that his NBA career has come to an end.
The Bucks had a very nice 09’-10’ season without Redd, and although he’s owed over $18 million dollars next year it would be surprising if he made much of a contribution considering the grave situation of his left knee.
2. Jermaine O'neal- $23 million dollars in 09'-10'
The 6’11’’ center who jumped straight from high school to the NBA has had a rollercoaster of a career. In his first four seasons in the league he only started 18 total games and O’Neal was considered a “project player” who might never amount to much.
After being traded from Portland to the Indiana Pacers, O’Neal would become one of the best big men in the league, averaging over 19 points and 8 rebounds per game for six straight seasons.
In 2003 the Pacers rewarded him with an unbelievable seven year, $126 million dollar contract. Much like many of the other players on this list O’neal’s productivity has been hurt by a number of injuries that he has sustained throughout his career.
His knees have been particularly troublesome, and have caused him to miss significant playing time since 2004. In the past six seasons, O’Neal has only played 70 games once, while continually struggling to find the player he used to be.
Jermaine has still been productive the past few seasons and his 13.6 points and 7 rebounds per game are solid especially considering his knees are nothing more than paper mache.
While he has been solid this season, it’s not what you would expect from a guy who’s making $23 million dollars.
1. Tracy McGrady- $22.8 million dollars in 09'-10'
Although he’s never won much in the playoffs, McGrady has had a long and fairly successful career in the NBA. The 6’8’’ shooting guard was once an unstoppable force on the offensive end of the floor, leading the league in scoring during the 02’-03’ and 03’-04’ seasons.
But more recently he’s had one of the worst (if not the worst) contracts in all of basketball. McGrady’s play has not been the same for the past two seasons mostly due to injuries, as well as his body slowing down after 12 years in the NBA.
A knee injury forced McGrady to miss most of the 08’-09’ season, and watching him play this year it’s obvious that he is still recovering from it. Before being traded to the Knicks this season, McGrady played the last five for the Houston Rockets who gave him the lucrative extension that is up at the end of this season.
Going into this year the Rockets were unsure of what McGrady’s role would be with the team, and after playing sparingly in just six games, they told him they had little use for the 30 year old veteran.
He was ultimately traded to the Knicks where he played well at first, but it was clear after a couple of games that his body couldn’t handle so many minutes.
Appearing in only 30 games, and with a season average of 8.2 points per game for $22.8 million dollars has Tracy McGrady as the worst contract for the 09’-10’ season.