2010 NBA Free Agency: The 10 Worst Contracts, Non-LeBron James Edition
It’s more than obvious that the members of Miami Thrice were the biggest free agents on the market.
But they’ve had their time in the limelight. Give it up, the Three My Egos.
Two weeks into the NBA’s free agency period and the league has seen quite the shake-up. Some players took pay cuts to go win titles, some signed for Monopoly money, and some just got plain lucky.
And then, there are the losers.
Not the players, but instead, the general managers. The 2010 offseason has seen more ridiculous contracts than ever before, making teams look so desperate for attention, it’s a surprise Lindsay Lohan isn’t running them.
These 10 guys have received deals so ludicrous, they should be counting their lucky stars. Don’t blame them though, they just took the best deal on the table.
Too bad the best deal for them may be the worst for their new teams.
10. Wesley Matthews—Portland Trailblazers
Matthews' 2009-2010 Stats: 9.4 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 1.5 apg
The Deal: 5 years, $33 million
Yes, Matthews may only be signed to an offer sheet, but even if the Jazz match, he’s going to get at least this much.
Which is Tyra Banks insane.
Matthews is a very strong perimeter defender, but his offensive game is spotty at best. If the Blazers want a player who plays on only one end of the floor, shouldn’t they go for someone with more experience?
Tony Allen, anyone? Despite his offensive woes, at least he made Kobe work hard to score in the playoffs, something Matthews can’t say.
But the worst part about the deal is that Portland offered their entire mid-level exception for Matthews. On a team with more injuries that Grant Hill’s career, it’s surprising they didn’t split the money more equally.
9. Nicola Pekovic—Minnesota Timberwolves
Pekovic’s 2009-2010 Stats (Panathinlkos, Euroleague): 14.8 ppg, 3.5 rpg
The Deal: 3 years, $13 million
Timberwolves GM David Kahn could win the award for dumbest person in sports, and it wouldn’t even be close.
Bud Selig’s been waiting to give that honor up for a while.
Kahn decided to sign the Wolves’ 2008 second round pick to a lucrative offer on the first day of free agency. Must be a big fan of testing the market.
Replace “testing the market” with “blindly rushing into things.”
Why couldn’t he just wait to see if Al Jefferson could work with the new guys in Minnesota? Jonny Flynn, Wesley Johnson, Michael Beasley, and Kevin Love are extremely young for starters, so it makes no sense to replace the veteran and near All-Star in Jefferson with someone who’s never played in the NBA.
But again, he’s David Kahn. Paris Hilton would make a better owner. At least she can make money.
8. Tyrus Thomas—Charlotte Bobcats
Thomas’s 2009-2010 Stats: 9.4 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 1.0 apg
The Deal: 5 years, $40 million
When I read this the first time, I actually laughed out loud.
Upon realizing Michael Jordan was behind this, it all made sense.
Does Thomas really deserve $8 million per season, when he barely scored more than nine? He doesn’t have a fantastic offensive game, and his lack of girth makes his post capabilities limited.
Portland traded him for LaMarcus Aldridge for a reason. They’d probably have traded him for David Aldridge, too.
Thomas did succeed a little under head coach Larry Brown, but to commit so much money to such an unproven player is simply stupid. Charlotte needs to rebuild, and locking down that kind of deal will hurt them in the long run.
But then again, so does having the John Daly of owners in Jordan.
7. Ben Wallace—Detroit PIstons
Wallace’s 2009-2010 Stats: 5.5 ppg, 8.7 rpg, 1.5 apg
The Deal: 2 years, $3.8 million
Some people probably wonder why such a tiny contract could make this list.
It’s because the Pistons should be paying me and Wallace the same amount.
Ben Wallace is clearly past his prime. The Pistons are clearly out of the playoff picture. But according to Joe Dumars, they just got unlucky with injuries.
His roster has more guards than Buckingham Palace, and less talent than Susan Boyle’s pinky toe. Those are the bigger problems.
So why not start rebuilding? Wallace is old, he’s detrimental on offense, and for a team with no real number one or two, he’s clogging the floor.
But hey, he’s a Piston for life, right?
6. Rudy Gay—Memphis Grizzlies
Gay’s 2009-2010 stats: 19.6 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 1.9 apg
The Deal: 5 years, $82 million
Let me first establish something. I like Rudy Gay.
He’s got All-Star potential, an offensive game with all the tools, and a lanky frame that can keep some of the best wing players in front of him. And if he gets the ball with a head of steam, watch out.
He’s got more hops than a Budweiser factory.
But my gripe is the amount of money he got. He’s not a number one option in the NBA by any stretch of the imagination. I’d be hesitant to give him the ball in the last two minutes and depend on him to take over.
Even though the Grizz are rarely in situations like that.
While he may be a great player, he may not even have the highest ceiling on his own team. He would have made a great building block elsewhere.
But in Memphis, he’s a square peg for a star-shaped hole.
5. Johan Petro—New Jersey Nets
Petro’s 2009-2010 Stats: 3.4 ppg, 3.6 rpg, .4 apg
The Deal: 3 years, $10 million
Johan Petro’s entire career has been an enigma to me.
The same way that Nicholas Cage’s career has been an enigma.
He has little to no talent, yet continues to get paid. He was totally raw when drafted in the first round five years ago, and his game has not seen much improvement.
Let’s face it, he’s attacks on offense like anorexics attack a buffet.
But New Jersey Nyets owner Mikhail Prokhorov thought he would make a great backup for stud center Brook Lopez. Sure he has size, but can they trust someone who has played in less than half a season for the past three seasons?
If he even makes it to 41 games all three years, he still makes more than $80,000 per game.
Sounds right to me.
4. Travis Outlaw—New Jersey Nets
Outlaw’s 2009-2010 Stats: 9.1 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 1.0 apg
The Deal: 5 years, $35 million
This is not the kind of list any owner wants to make twice.
But the Soviet Statue did it with flying colors.
Outlaw has some good things about him. He’s a solid fourth quarter scorer, has good length and plays lockdown defense on small forwards.
Whoop-di-doo! Sadly, the game is four quarters long.
The wiry forward has more question marks than a sentence in Spanish. He’s had some injuries problems in the past, his best season resulted in 13 points per game, and his shooting numbers are inflated due to two standout years.
Two out of eight. Sounds reliable like Greg Oden.
3. Joe Johnson—Atlanta Hawks
Johnson’s 2009-2010 Stats: 21.3 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 4.9 apg
The Deal: 6 years, $119 million
The city of Atlanta may hate this pick, but for the price they paid for Johnson, the citizens should have got a lifetime supply of gasoline with it.
That’s the only way it would be worth the money.
Johnson definitely has game, no doubt about it. He’s a sharpshooter from anywhere on the floor, his ball handling has improved every season, and he can get to the hole with ease.*
*These are only regular season observations.
Johnson discovered his inner Mr. Hyde in this year’s playoffs. He couldn’t buy a basket, yet he’s getting paid more money than most the people reading this make in their careers.
He doesn’t have number one talent, and would play well alongside a cold-blooded killer.
And if Josh Smith is the Hawks “killer,” Atlanta may have another Vick scandal coming.
2. Darko MIlicic—Minnesota TImberwolves
Milicic’s 2009-2010 Stats: 6.7 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 1.5 apg
The Deal: 4 years, $20 million
The 2003 NBA Draft, one of the best of all time, started like this:
LeBron James. Milicic. Carmelo Anthony. Chris Bosh. Dwyane Wade.
Someone in Detroit messed up with the scouting.
But somehow, Milicic manages to stay around. He’s been denounced as one of the biggest busts of all time, yet managed to pull down as much undeserved money as Kelis gets from Nas in child support.
Okay, maybe not that much.
Why does David Kahn, another repeat offender, trust this guy. He’s been passed around the NBA like the clap in a brothel, and his play is almost as painful to watch.
As of right now, Milicic is about to be the worst starting center in the NBA.
And the NHL. And the CBA. And the ABA. Heck, I wouldn’t even take him first in a rec game.
1. Amir Johnson—Toronto Raptors
Johnson’s 2009-2010 Stats: 6.2 ppg, 4.8 rpg, .6 apg.
The Deal: 5 years, $34 million
Because Toronto has Canada’s only remaining NBA team, they represent Canada as a whole.
Nice work making America’s top hat look even dumber, Raptors.
This deal probably shocked Johnson when offered. He’s done nothing of relevance in the NBA, played subpar on both ends of the floor, and has skills down low that don’t even make Kwame Brown jealous.
And according to Stephen A. Smith, Brown’s a “BONA FIDE SCRUB!”
So what does that make Johnson?
Some might argue that this pick isn’t worse than Darko. The reason Johnson gets “top” honors, however, is because at least Darko showed talent and potential to get drafted second.
Johnson was a late-second round pick for a reason. And the reason wasn’t, “Let’s see if we can get lucky later.”
The Raptors may be trying to rebuild, but getting an undersized, skinny and low-caliber power forward seems like a white flag move.
But what’s better than laughing at Canada?