Every NBA team is constructed with a variety of player types.
You have your stars, your starters, your role players and then your expiring contracts. Expiring contracts are oh-so valuable in this league when it comes to making moves near the trade deadline, and also during the offseason. Many times GMs will have their eyes on acquiring new talent to help bolster their roster, and in most moves you will find that a large expiring contract almost always plays a role.
One thing is for sure: Everyone knows when you're on the last year of that mega-deal you inked five years ago when everyone thought you were hot stuff. The question now is: Are you still worth all those millions?
If the answer is yes, most teams will try to keep you around to ink a new deal in the offseason. But if you're slipping as of late, there will always be the possibility that you will be shipped out of town in an attempt to match another player's salary who's coming in. No GM or owner wants $10 million of dead weight on the roster, and you can bet that if your not living up to your contract, they're going to try to trade your millions for some new valuable pieces.
In the today's league, Eddie Curry is a prime example of the expiring contract phenomenon. No team in the league would admit to wanting him to play for them, but more than half the league would now like him to sit on the bench so they can have some juicy cap space come offseason time.
The following slideshow is a compilation of the juiciest expiring contract on each NBA team. Leave comments to let us know what should be done with all of these players who are coming off of the books!
Kendrick Perkins is widely considered to be part of Boston's core defensive effort and he's also their most valuable expiring contract.
Set to make $4,390,208 in 2010/2011, Perkins is in the last year of his deal. This is not exactly a whale of a contract money wise, but it's the largest contract that the C's have coming off the books. Four million and change could certainly help in any deal the Celtics would try to make, but do they really want to make a move that involves this beast of a center? Perkins is the very definition of what this Celtics team is; hard nosed and blue collar workers.
What I would do: Do yourself a favor Ainge and re-ink this ferocious big man. He couldn't possibly be looking for that much money, and he's invaluable to you in the defensive paint.
Jamal "The Microwave" Crawford is next on the list, making a staggering $10,080,000 as a sixth man this season.
Crawford has been known to heat up quickly, and provide valuable instant offense for any team that employs him. That ability has allowed him to cash some big paychecks. The question that the Hawks need to ask themselves this year is: Is he still worth all that money?
He still seems to be able to come off of the bench and score 18-25 points on any given night, and that ability will keep him working for the foreseeable future.
What I would do: I would look to re-sign Jamal, but not for the same superstar money that he's been making the past few seasons. If he's willing to take less money for the same bench role, keep him under contract for the next three years.
Nazr Mohammed has proven himself to be a competent backup center in this league, but his big payday could very well be over.
Set to make over $6 million in 2010, Mohammed has reached (and passed) the point of being overpaid. NBA teams will always need big bodies in the depth chart, but no one should have to pay through the nose for seven points and five rebounds per game.
What I would do: shed this contract like an itchy sweater. You still have Diop to fill the backup role, and maybe you can get some new promising blood for this $6 million fiasco. The bottom line is that Mohammed does a few things OK, but nothing well.
Kurt Thomas may not be sinking the Bulls ship with his current contract, but it's still the biggest one coming off of the books this year for Chicago.
Thomas is set to make over a million dollars this year for the Bulls, and so far he's sure making it worth their while. Chicago has been injury plagued in the big man department this year, and Kurt Thomas has more than filled the void while stars Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah were/are absent.
It's not perfectly clear yet who Chicago needs to shed in order to improve, mostly because they are improving so rapidly that we don't know where to look. One thing I can say is that shedding Thomas is not the way to start here.
What I would do: Keep the old veteran around for another year or two. He can still hit the mid-range jumper when he needs to, and rebound enough to fill in for the star big man. Keep the contract low, but keep him around all the same.
The Cavaliers are in a state of emergency right now, and no one is beyond the chopping block at this point in time.
Anthony Parker is set to make nearly $3 million this season, and his contract could be one that the Cavaliers would love to see come off of the books. The only problem is, where would he go? You can include his expiring contract in any trade deal you want to, but who is going to want to play "let's make a deal" with the Cleveland Cavaliers?
Parker has proven that he can be a solid contributor on the offensive end of the game, but it's unlikely that he will be able to cash in the same way he has previously. With the new CBA looming over our heads, I see his salary being cut nearly in half no matter where he ends up.
What I would do: I would waive him at the end of the season. No one is going to trade with the Cavaliers by the deadline, and Cleveland would do well with blowing up the entire roster and starting over as fresh as possible for next year.
Has anyone looked at the Mavericks contracts this year? Almost all of them are expiring!
Tyson Chandler still wins the battle for juiciest expiring contract on the team, however, making nearly $13 million in the last season of his contract. So far this season, Chandler has done well in re-energizing this Mavericks team back into a title contender. He's shouldered the load in the paint, and done well in fortifying the team's defensive presence. Chandler has not been a stellar fit on every team he's been a part of, but he seems to fit well into the scheme in Dallas.
What I would do: Chandler seems to be just what the Mavs needed in the paint, so I would try to lock him down again when his contract expires. Tyson is not going to get the same colossal contract that's paying him now, but the Mavericks should make sure to keep him happy and on the team.
Kenyon Martin may top the list of players who should never expect another big payday again.
Martin is making $16.5 million this year for the Denver Nuggets, and his play merits maybe three million of it. Kenyon may be a versatile player that can contribute in many areas, but he specializes in nothing, he is getting progressively older, he has a terrible attitude, and he is constantly injured.
The Nuggets are likely to undergo a huge change this offseason when, yes when, Melo departs for another team. They will be likely looking to build a new team around Ty Lawson, Aaron Afflalo, and whoever joins the squad for a deal that could be done for Carmelo by the deadline. This would be a prime time to include Martin's contract in a deal to try and get some money off the books for a fresh start.
What I would do: I don't see Kenyon Martin as being part of Denver's future, or anyone's really, but I'm sure he can get a job for someone (I'm sure the Cavaliers wouldn't mind).
Bottom line is I would first try to bundle him with Carmelo by the trade deadline, and if that didn't work, just waive him at the seasons end.
Quite some time has passed since that magical 2004 season for Prince and the Detroit Pistons.
These days everyone seems to want out of the Motor City, and that includes Tayshaun Prince. Prince is now in the last year on his contract with the Pistons, and he is making just over $11 million this season. Combine that with Rip Hamilton's contract, and Detroit actually has a chance at getting valuable players back in return by the deadline.
Prince's contract has a good shot of being put to use in a trade, as he still has many valuable years left. Any team that would receive him via trade would have the option for clearing a good amount of space on the books, or re-signing him for a reasonable new contract.
What I would do: The Pistons are in the exact same situation Cleveland is, and they need to follow the same game plan. The Pistons need to start over with their starting five, and getting Prince off the books should be priority No. 2, right behind dealing with the disastrous Rip Hamilton situation.
Will someone please tell me who signed this guy to such a ridiculous contract?
Dan Gadzuric may be a big body in the paint, but in no way does he deserve the money that he's been getting. Gadzuric is set to make over $7 million in his contract year, when really he should be playing for the NBA D-League. What the Golden State Warriors need right now is a real center, not a bunch of backups hardly even worthy of such a title.
What I would do: There is no place for Gadzuric on this Warriors squad, and I expect him to be gone going into next season. The Warriors would do well to attach him onto a trade involving Monta Ellis or Stephen Curry (since they don't seem to plan on keeping them together), and getting his ugly anchor of a contract off of their books. Then they could sign some young talent for pennies on the dollar in the draft, or pick up a seasoned veteran via free agency.
It's no secret that the Rockets officially want to ditch Yao Ming's massive contract as they have officially had enough.
I can't say that I blame them. The guy who was once a Hall of Fame worthy center is now merely a slew of injuries and a whole lot of wasted money. The upside for the Rockets, however, is the fact that Ming's contract is insured. The Rockets will no doubt be trying to unload Yao by the trade deadline to a team desperately in need of cap space, or a team that wants to roll the dice with Mr. Glass. Yao's final year on his contract is worth nearly $18 million and it's likely to be Yao's last big payday.
It seems that Yao's last value in this league will be to save some team enough money to sign a slew of new players for 2011-12.
What I would do: Exactly what the Rockets seem to be planning. I would dangle Yao's contract in front of any team that gave me the time of day, and would push to get a deal done by the deadline to ensure that I could rebuild during the following offseason.
Mike Dunleavy has established himself as an efficient scorer in this league, and he is currently in the last year of his contract.
Dunleavy is promised $10.5 million in his contract year, and it wouldn't surprise me in the least if the Pacers decided to make a move while his expiring contract is attractive. Since the acquisition of Brandon Rush, Dunleavy has been less pivotal for the Pacers. The two players seem pretty interchangeable in the Pacers lineup, and they tend to favor Brandon Rush these days whenever they need to match up.
What I would do: If I were the Pacers I would find a team needing some breathing room cap wise, and try to add some depth to the bench at the center and forward spots.
Rasual Butler has carved out a nice niche for himself as a three-point threat swing man.
Butler is also currently the Clippers most attractive expiring contract. The Clippers are officially an up-and-coming team this season, but they remain a few pieces away from being a legitimate threat in the Western Conference. I seriously doubt they would consider breaking up the tandem of Griffin and Gordon, but a contract like Butler's could do nicely in acquiring some more fresh talent from the draft.
Rasual is promised $2.5 million this year and is unlikely to be retained by the Clip show as his play has been less than desirable as of late.
What I would do: The Clippers need to get rid of Kaman, so I would package the two of them together. DeAndre Jordan is looking more like the future of the Clippers center position, so they may as well get some value back for contracts that could go off the books for nothing.
It's no secret that Joe Smith is still a valuable veteran to have on your squad.
He can still knock down jumpers, and he can still serve as a big body in the paint. At just over $1 million, his contract is the biggest expiring contract that the Los Angeles Lakers have coming off of the books.
While the Lakers have had injury problems with their big men this season (Bynum/Character), Smith has still rarely seen the floor. I'm not entirely sure why that is, but I'm sure the Lakers would prefer someone who got a little burn once in a while.
Rumor around the league is that the Lakers may be looking to make a trade to energize the team, and adding a contract like Smith's to balance the money would not surprise me in the least.
What I would do: There is a case to be made to keep Smith around for the playoffs, as he is a knowledgeable veteran, but I'm not sure if the Lakers will want to keep a roster spot tied up for only that purpose. I'm not positive if the Lakers will pull the trigger on a trade by the deadline, but if they do I would include Smith to create some cap relief in the process.
With all of the long-term contracts the Heat have given out this last offseason, we are left with Juwan Howard being the most valuable expiring contract on the team.
Set to make just over a $1 million in the last year of his deal, Juwan's contract wouldn't exactly cause a bonanza of interest. That being said, his contract could always be used to balance out the money issue if the Heat were to decide to make a trade.
What I would do: I would leave this one alone. Howard could prove to be a valuable veteran in the Heat's playoff run this year, and you're not going to gain much by getting his contract off of the books. If the Heat make a successful run to the championship, you consider giving him another year deal, but it looks more like he would retire at his point.
Another top choice for juiciest expiring contract has to go to the Buck's own Michael Redd.
While Redd has been sidelined now for as long as we all can remember, he's still getting paid like one of the biggest stars in the league. In the last year of his deal, he's set to make over $18 million! We all know how valuable he can be as a scorer when healthy, but that seems a little ridiculous right?
I have no doubt that a shooter of Redd's ability will find a home somewhere in the NBA when he returns from injury, but I'm starting to think it may not be with the Bucks. They are already flooded with scorers (Maggette,Salmons), and Brandon Jennings seems to have taken over the role of captain on that squad.
Nevertheless, someone will want Redd.
What I would do: I would look to all the teams looking to compete for a title this year, and try to make a deal with them by the February deadline. The Bucks would get talent in return for his huge contract, and the team in contention would get a deadly long-range shooter that they could also re-sign later if things work out.
Sebastian Telfair has made a name for himself as a legit backup point guard and is currently reaching the end of the road on his contract.
Telfair is set to make nearly $3 million in his final year with the Timberwolves, not exactly an earth-shattering amount of change. Still his contract could be put to good use, should the Wolves prefer to save some money by letting him walk.
What I would do: The Wolves are already flooded with point guards (Ridnour, Flynn, the rights to Rubio), so they don't exactly need Telfair. He's not someone I would re-sign, and I'm not sure many teams would be able to use him either. I would wait this one out and let him explore his free agency.
What happened to this guy?
Last year he was a fantasy owners dream, and this year he can hardly pull down a rebound. Murphy is in the last year of his contract, and it couldn't be a worse time for it. He's promised $12 million this season, and with his play as of late it could be his last big payday. Troy did recently come back from a long-term injury, but his return has not seen a return to his old playing ways.
Troy Murphy has been known throughout his career as an excellent rebounder and three-point marksman, but he may soon be known as the player who went from hero to zero in 60 seconds.
What I would do: There has to be some gullible team out there that still thinks Troy will return to his stat stuffing ways, so I would try and make a deal with them. They would then have the option to keep him if he pans out, or let him walk for cap space if he continues to stink up the joint. Either way, the Nets come out as winners by getting some draft picks and young talent in return.
Tell me with a straight face that New Orleans doesn't want to ditch this guy, and I'll give you a medal.
Marcus Banks now finds himself in the last year of his deal, in which he's set to make nearly $5 million this season alone. He's also averaging a whopping two points and one assist per game. Banks did see a time when he was a useful backup guard in this league, but that time could not be further from over. He's nearly 30 years old now, and putting up career lows in just about every category.
Not many teams would bite on a trade involving him, but his contract would provide just enough cap relief for some teams to consider.
What I would do: I would call an end to the Marcus Banks experiment. New Orleans doesn't seem to want to make a trade by the deadline, so they should just let his deal run out at the end of the season.
Morris Peterson used to be quite the backup guard in this league, but he has since seen his minutes and his production slip.
I have to be honest here. Before being assigned this article, I didn't even know he was a member of the Oklahoma City Thunder. I bet many of you reading this didn't either. Yet he's set to make an astounding $6.5 million in his contract year. He's earning all that money for averaging about five minutes per game.
I'm sure he could still be useful for another team that's short in the backcourt, but he does nothing for the Thunder or their hopes of going deep in the playoffs this year.
What I would do: Keep Peterson on the bench for the rest of the year, and save up that cap space for when you need to re-sign one of the many budding stars on OKC's roster.
Jason Richardson is quite possibly the most puzzling piece in the expiring contract puzzle.
He's set to make an outrageous $14.5 million in the final year of his contract, and it will most likely be his last payday of such extravagance. The puzzling part comes in the fact that J Rich has indeed shown us that he can still play ball. He's averaging 17 points per game this season, and shooting great percentages from the field, from the line and from the three.
He possesses scoring skills that will always be needed in this league, and they will be sure to keep him working for the next few years.
What I would do: It's still too early to tell if Richardson will work out in Orlando but, either way, they win with how things are going. They can choose to try and re-sign him for a reasonable veteran rate if things work out, or they can let his superstar contract fall off of the books at the end of the season in order to pursue other talents.
Jason Kapono is still an elite three-point shooter with a deadly release, but his days of being worth $7 million a year are now over.
He's set to make just south of $7 million in his contract year with the Sixers, and his injury isn't giving him much of a chance to defend his salary. Kapono is close to reaching 30 years old, and is having more and more trouble staying on the court. If he can manage to stay on the court, however, he could very well convince a team to pick him up again.
What I would do: The Sixers roster needs a whole lot of re-tooling this summer, and they can start it off by letting Jason Kapono explore free agency. If, however, they decide to trade Andre Igoudala by the deadline, they could always include Kapono's contract if they wanted to get rid of him sooner.
If anyone actually deserves to be paid more than he currently makes in the NBA, it's none other than Grant Hill.
In the last year of his contract, he's set to make $3 million, when really he should be making north of $8 million for how much he produces for the Phoenix Suns. At age 38 he's averaging 14.3 points, five rebounds per game and is shooting amazing percentages. He may have lost his youthful athleticism that made him famous in the 90s, but his hard work and dedication to the game's fundamentals have kept him employed long after his expiration date.
It looks as if the Suns will also be re-tooling their roster this coming summer, so that could mean a few different things for Grant Hill's future. They could choose to sign him on a year-to-year basis when his contract runs dry, or they could also include him in a deal that included Nash by the deadline (if Phoenix is in fact serious about dealing their star guard).
What I would do: His age aside, Grant Hill proves on a nightly basis that he still has what it takes to make an impact on an NBA game. His ability to score and spread the defense is not going to disappear overnight, and it will be well worth it to keep him on your team for those purposes.
Joel Przybilla is another fine example of a wasted paycheck.
When he's not injured, he's not completely useless, but his career averages are nothing to jump around about either. In the last year of his contract, Joel is set to make north of $7 million. That's a whole lot of cash that can be spent much better if you're the Portland Trailblazers.
The truth of the matter is that the Blazers need to ditch all big men not named Camby or Aldridge. Oden has proven that he will probably never be an impact level player, and Przybilla will never put in starter level stats. The silver lining for the Blazers is they have options when it comes to Joel's contract.
What I would do: I think the Blazers should be trying to put together a deal as we approach the trade deadline. A big man package of Oden and Przybilla would be sure to fetch at least some talent in return for their hefty contracts (when combined).
There were once rumblings that Tony Parker may want to try his luck on another team, like say the Knicks.
Now it seems as if he's more comfortable being a Spur than ever. The Spurs are doing great this year, and Parker's play has been as reliable as it ever has been. Parker is now in the last year of his deal, expecting to make north of $13 million in his final season.
Tony however is not like most of the players on this list, as he will still be worth superstar money when this contract is up. I find it very likely that the Spurs will be able to sign him to another long-term deal, making any discussion of getting his salary off the books to be more than a little moot.
What I would do: The Spurs are getting older, but Parker is still decently young, and can be useful for the next four to five years easily. The Spurs should lock him back up, and search for pieces to build a new squad as Duncan will soon be on his way out.
What can he say? He still wants to play.
Peja Stojakovic has been injured most of this season, but is still collecting nearly $15 million for his....efforts. A once-deadly three-point marksman, Stojakovic now belongs under the grossly-overpaid role players label. I have no doubt that he will be employed for the next some odd years based solely on his shooting capabilities, but it will be for a fraction of what he's making now.
What I would do: I don't know many teams that would accept him in a trade these days with how injury prone he's been, so the only viable options would be to let him walk into FA, or to re-sign him for pennies on the dollar.
How Dalembert managed to snag such a contract, I'll never know.
Sure, he is a defensive specialist of sorts, but the dude couldn't hit the ocean with a field goal attempt on most nights. Samuel is set to make over $13 million is the final year of his contract, and whoever gives him another deal like that has rocks in his head.
Don't get me wrong here, a player who plays strong defense will always have a job in the NBA. That being said, they don't deserve the type of superstar money that Dalembert is currently receiving. Dalembert has played fairly well for the Kings during his stint in Sacramento, but I'm still not convinced that he's what they really need moving forward.
What I would do: I would look to shed his contract one way or the other. I don't see Sacramento re-signing him for any price that he'd be looking for, so this is probably his last season in Sac-Town. I also don't see the Kings making a move before the deadline, so it's likely that they let Dalembert test the market when free agency arrives.
I think it's pretty clear that no team is going to want Josh Howard at this point.
He's a train wreck of issues and bad chemistry, and his game has declined so much that he seems to be merely a shell of the player he used to be. If anyone picks him up after the Wizards tell him to hit the bricks, it will only be for him to take up space on the bench.
What I would do: see above.
Set to make $17.3 million in his contract year, Z-bo sure gives the Grizzlies options this coming offseason. Randolph (a once trouble maker) seems to have cleaned up his image pretty well in the last few years, and is collecting double-doubles like baseball cards. While defense may not exactly be in his vocabulary, there's only a handful of people who rebound better than him in this league.
The Grizzlies now have a choice to make with Randolph this year, which will be made far more difficult by the fact that he's been playing some of the best ball of his career. Do they re-sign him for a slightly less cap-crippling contract? Or do they instead use is cap relief as bait to acquire more young talent for this budding Grizzly team?
What I would do: I would let Gasol take the reigns in terms of post presence, and dangle Z-bo's contract in front of teams desperate from cap relief. The Grizzlies could wind up with a number of quality players from a trade of that proportion, which is exactly what they need to increase their win total.
Would you have guessed that Eddie Curry has not played an NBA game since the 30th day of February, 2009?
Curry has been paid superstar dollars for the last several years without even playing ball. Now he finds himself in the last year of his contract, making just over $11 million. My guess is that he won't be paid another dime after that.
What team in their right mind would consider signing someone who hasn't played in two full NBA seasons, and who is constantly out of shape? The fact is, however, that his numbers are going to come off of a team's books, one way or another. The decision is the Knick's to make on if they will re-gain a large chunk of change, or possibly trade him by the deadline to get back some new talent.
What I would do: I would hold on to Curry and let his bloated contract come off the books for next season. New York surely still wants to sign Carmelo (now looking like it will be in free-agency), and will need that cap space to make it happen.
Andrei Kirilenko is without a doubt one of the most versatile players in the NBA. He's also one of the most grossly overpaid.
In the last year of his deal, Kirilenko will be collecting close to $18 million, sitting him near the top paid players in the sport. That sound fair to you? He's proven that he's still a threat in multiple areas of the game, but Utah is not going to shell out any more superstar dollars for him after this deal is up, and no one else will either.
I sure hope Kirilenko has been putting that money to good use while it's flowed in.
What I would do: The Jazz have always been big on having versatile players, so there's a good chance they will look to retain Andrei. Odds are that he knows he will not be getting the same crazy money, and will settle for a veterans salary or something near it.