NBA Free Agency: 10 Worst Free-Agent Signings of the Decade

Matthew WolfeCorrespondent IIIJuly 27, 2011

NBA Free Agency: 10 Worst Free-Agent Signings of the Decade

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    When the offseason rolls around, every team is looking to find that new player that will bring them to the next level.

    Teams are willing to break the bank on these guys, but unfortunately, it doesn't always work out as planned.

    Free agency is tricky, and a lot of NBA owners and general managers are forced to learn that the hard way.

    Here is a list of the worst free-agent signings of the past decade.

10. Kenyon Martin (7 Years, $92.5 Million)

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    The Nuggets got very unlucky with this signing.

    They paid Martin a ton of money to get injured and sit on the bench.

    Martin failed to play in more than 71 games since signing his large contract and only played in two games in the 2006-2007 season.

    You can make the argument that even if Martin stayed healthy, the Nuggets still paid way too much for him.

9. Andrei Kirilenko (6 Years, $86 Million)

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    Kirilenko had a breakout season in 2004, which inked him this huge contract.

    AK47 was a defensive stud, coming off an All-Star season, he appeared to be an up-and-coming star in the NBA.

    Unfortunately for the Jazz, Kirilenko never returned to his 2004 form.

    Carlos Boozer soon replaced Kirilenko, and the Jazz were stuck paying $86 million for a role player.

8. Rashard Lewis (6 Years, $118 Million)

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    This was a win-lose situation for Lewis.

    Sure, he netted a ridiculous contract, but he had no chance at exceeding the expectations that were given to him.

    Lewis was the same player before and after Orlando signed him to this massive deal, so it is tough to blame him.

    He is an above-average player who has the ability to be a game changer, but he is worth nowhere near the amount of money he is earning.

7. Erick Dampier (7 Years, $73 Million)

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    Dampier was the regular starter for the Dallas Mavericks for a few seasons, but what was Mark Cuban thinking when he threw this kind of money at him?

    Nobody that averages single-digit points and single-digit rebounds deserves to be making that kind of cash.

    Dallas performed a sign-and-trade deal for Dampier after he had the best season of his career, averaging 12.3 PPG and 12.0 RPG.

    He never put up numbers like that again.

    Dampier fled to South Beach to try to win a championship with the Big Three but went on to lose to his former team.

    Don't worry Erick, you can just buy a ring.

6. Larry Hughes (5 Years, $70 Million)

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    Hughes got paid after putting up 22.0 PPG, 6.3 RPG and 4.7 APG in 2004-2005.

    Unfortunately for the Cavaliers, Bulls and Knicks, he never returned to that form.

    A guy that looked like he could be the Robin to Lebron James' Batman, Hughes was simply a disappointment. 

    Hughes only went on to start more than 32 games once after signing his deal, which earns him a spot on this list.

5. Peja Stojakovic (5 Years, $64 Million)

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    After a successful and memorable tenure with the Kings, Stojakovic signed with the Hornets at the age of 28.

    He missed nearly all of his first season with the team, and though he put up respectable numbers when healthy, he was not worth the money they paid him.

    The Hornets shipped him off to Toronto in 2010, officially putting an end to their relationship with Peja.

    Stojakovic was a good guy to have on the team—but $64 million? Really?

4. Ben Wallace (4 Years, $60 Million)

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    Prior to signing with the Bulls, Wallace was a four-time All-Star and four-time Defensive Player of the Year.

    He performed well in his first season in Chicago, but it went downhill after that.

    The Bulls traded him to Cleveland half way through his second season with the team and was eventually bought out by the Phoenix Suns.

    Let's just say the Bulls did not exactly get what they paid for.

3. Jared Jeffries (5 Years, $30 Million)

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    After four dismal seasons with the Washington Wizards, Isiah Thomas rewarded Jeffries with this nice contract.

    Some believed that this was a good move at the time, which makes little to no sense.

    Would paying the guy $30 million magically turn him into a good basketball player? That's what many Knick fans were hoping.

    Unfortunately for those fans, Jeffries never served much of a purpose and turned out to be a huge waste of money.

2. Jerome James (5 Years, $30 Million)

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    Here is another Isiah Thomas move that makes absolutely no sense.

    What was he thinking when he signed a guy that averaged no more than five points and four rebounds a season to this deal?

    James had a respectable postseason just a few months before becoming a Knick; which is what most likely caught Isiah's eye.

    This deal made zero sense right off the bat and James proved that himself by only starting 20 games for the rest of his career before calling it quits in 2009.

1. Eddy Curry (6 Years, $60 Million)

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    There was no question that this guy deserved the No. 1 spot on this list.

    Completely ignoring the fact that Curry suffers from a heart condition, the Knicks traded the house for him and then went on to sign him to this extensive deal.

    Curry is notorious for being lazy defensively, and Knick fans know that better than anyone.

    He is one of the bigger disappointments in Knicks history and is the worst free-agent signing of the decade.