Money For Sale: 15 NBA Expiring Contracts That Could Be Moved This Season
Only in the wacky world that is the NBA is it possible to trade a player who is grossly overpaid and of absolutely no value to any team.
Because the structure of the collective bargaining agreement encourages teams to shed payroll to create salary cap space to sign a major free agent. But sometimes the only way this is possible is if they have a large amount of expiring contracts coming off the books.
That is why we see $20-plus million players like Tracy McGrady get traded even though they may not have played any significant basketball in over two seasons, often for nothing more than draft picks and other equally useless players with massive salaries. It's why the Magic were able to move Vince Carter and his $17.3 million in a blockbuster trade for Hedo Turkoglu and Jason Richardson, even though Carter's barely worth a third of that.
So in anticipation of an active NBA trading deadline, here's an early look at the 15 biggest expiring contracts that could be moved this season.
15. Caron Butler, Dallas Mavericks ($10.5 Million)
The 30-year-old Butler seems to have adapted to his new role with the Dallas Mavericks quite well. The small forward is averaging 14.6 points and 4.3 rebounds per game on 45-percent shooting. He's been especially lethal from three where he is shooting 43 percent, well above his career average of 32 percent.
Butler may be the only player on this list who is earning his paycheck and the Mavericks don't really have a reason to move him unless his production falls off. Still, if Dallas wants to make a big move they'll have to surrender Butler and probably other pieces.
14. Mike Dunleavy, Indiana Pacers ($10.56 Million)
Dunleavy is a good player, but he's not an eight-figure type of player or anywhere close to one. The Pacers are going nowhere this season so Dunleavy will likely find himself in unfamiliar surroundings before the season is out.
The 6'9", 230-pound forward is averaging a respectable 12.1 points and 5.4 rebounds per game. He's regarded as a good shooter and is having another strong season by shooting 44.5 percent from the floor and 36.2 percent from three. He's not particularly athletic but creates mismatches with his size and range. Some playoff team will find a place for him in their rotation.
13. Tayshaun Prince, Detroit Pistons ($11.15 Million)
Prince has spent his entire career in a Detroit Pistons uniform and enjoyed phenomenal success. But the Pistons are a joke of a franchise these days and the 30-year-old Prince needs a change of scenery.
He's still putting up good numbers, though. The 6'9", 215-pound veteran out of Kentucky is averaging a solid 14.0 points and 4.8 rebounds per game. He's also contributing close to three assists while shooting just a shade under 50 percent from the floor and knocking down 44 percent of his threes. Prince is also a lock-down defender and could be an asset for just about any team in the NBA.
12. Eddy Curry, New York Knicks ($11.28 Million)
Curry's been overpaid seemingly since he came to the NBA nine years ago. But somehow the 7-foot, 295-pound behemoth of a man is still only 28 years old and could have several serviceable years ahead of him.
The Knicks can't wait to get rid of this guy. He's not a starter anymore and is barely getting minutes, averaging only 3.7 points and 1.9 rebounds per game. He's an excellent candidate for a salary dump to make room for New York's pursuit of Carmelo Anthony next offseason.
11. Troy Murphy, New Jersey Nets ($11.97 Million)
Murphy was once a well-respected NBA big, but he's fallen out of favor with Nets coach Avery Johnson and now is barely getting any minutes. He's averaging just 3.5 pointsand 4.3 rebounds per game and shooting under 32 percent from the floor.
Murphy has the size (6'11", 245 pounds) and the range to be a productive player. But if he can't help New Jersey, then chances are he isn't going to help a contender either. Moving the 30-year-old for anything more than scraps will be difficult.
10. Tyson Chandler, Dallas Mavericks ($12.75 Million)
The 28-year-old Chandler is still one of the best big men in the game, and he's finally getting a chance in Dallas to show everybody why. He's averaging 8.8 points, 8.9 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game on 66.4 percent shooting.
The Mavericks have no reason to move Chandler unless they need to match salaries in a trade for someone else. They won't be able to get fair value for the big man, though, so chances are Chandler stays for the long haul.
9. Chauncey Billups, Denver Nuggets ($13.15 Million)
He may be 34, but Billups is still one of the better guards in the NBA. He was great in the FIBA World Championships in Turkey and is having another good season for the Denver Nuggets, averaging 15.7 points and 5.3 assists per game.
He's not shooting the ball as well as he normally does (38 percent from the field, 37.3 percent from three), but he's still a dangerous scorer and a tenacious defender. There are several teams that could use an elite point guard, but how many can afford Billup's contract?
8. Samuel Dalembert, Sacramento Kings ($13.43 Million)
Dalembert is now a bench player with rookie DeMarcus Cousins playing so well, and he is one expensive bench player. He's playing about 20 minutes a game and averaging just 4.7 points and 7.2 rebounds per game.
Dalembert has never been much of a scorer but is steady on defense. He averages almost two blocks a game and is a smart defender. At 6'11", 250 pounds there are several teams that could use a veteran NBA center. But that price tag is hard to look at.
7. Jason Richardson, Phoenix Suns ($14.4 Million)
Richardson was traded to the Orlando Magic in a multi-player deal. He is averaging 18 points per game.
6. Peja Stojakovic, Toronto Raptors ($15.33 Million)
Stojakovic was already traded once this season, from the New Orleans Hornets to the Toronto Raptors. The 33-year-old swingman will likely be on the move again before the trading deadline.
He's not the same player he used to be, but the 6'10", 229-pound Stojakovic can still shoot the ball out of the gym. He's averaging 8.1 points per game in limited action and is shooting 48.8 percent from the floor and 48.4 percent from three. He's probably the best shooter available and could help a lot of teams.
5. Kenyon Martin, Denver Nuggets ($16.55 Million)
The Denver Nuggets have a boatload of money coming off their checkbooks this upcoming offseason. Between Carmelo Anthony, Billups and Martin, the Nuggets could have more than $50 million to spend. Martin is a good player and the Nuggets would like him back at power forward next season, but not for $16 million.
The 32-year-old veteran has been struggling with a bad knee this season, but is still capable of putting up points in a hurry. He's averaging 6.0 points and 5.0 rebounds per game but his career line is closer to 14 and seven. If the Nuggets decide to blow up their team, then Martin could be the first one gone.
4. Zach Randolph, Memphis Grizzlies ($17.3 Million)
Randolph may be the best player on this list. Unfortunately, he's also one of the most overpaid.
The 6'9", 260-pound power forward for the Grizzlies is a force on the court. He's averaging 17.8 points, 12.6 rebounds per game, and is shooting an excellent 47.5 percent. There are few big men who can match Randolph's shooting stroke. The 29-year-old is also one of the NBA's best rebounders. Character issues are a concern but a market will definitely develop for Randolph if Memphis decides to part ways with him.
3. Yao Ming, Houston Rockets ($17.69 Million)
Yao Ming is out for the season, again. But that hasn't stopped teams from talking about him. The Rockets could trade Yao's massive contract and get some salary cap relief, maybe even a nice consolation prize as well.
It's unknown whether Yao will ever be back in an NBA uniform. But if he is, he's one of the best centers in the NBA with career averages of 19.0 points and 9.2 rebounds per game.
2. Andrei Kirilenko, Utah Jazz ($17.82 Million)
Kirilenko used to be one of the premier forwards in the NBA. He can't boast that title anymore, but the 29-year-old is still a very capable swingman for the Jazz. He's averaging 11.5 points, 5.2 rebounds, 2.9 assists per game and at least a steal and a block.
The Jazz are playing well and would need roughly equal value for Kirilenko for a trade to make sense. But with that kind of a contract Utah could receive several players in return that might be key in a playoff run.
1. Michael Redd, Milwaukee Bucks ($18.3 Million)
I don't know how much Michael Redd is worth, but I can guarantee it's nowhere close to the $18.3 million that that the Milwaukee Bucks will be paying him this season.
Still, the 31-year-old shooting guard is a good player and can help a lot of teams. He's only played in 18 games so far this year, but is averaging a respectable 11.9 points per game. Redd isn't regarded as much of a ball handler but he can score with the best of them, averaging at least 20 points per game each of the last six seasons. The Bucks have their work cut out for them to find a team able and willing to take Redd's contract off their hands.