NBA Free Agents 2011: 6 Players That Will Get Paid Way Too Much This Summer
A new CBA is supposed to be set up in a way that can protect NBA teams from making monumental mistakes that could cripple their franchise for years. That doesn't mean that teams that will not seriously overpay for talent.
NBA players will continue to receive large contracts and if they do not play as well as expected, they obviously are being paid way too much, right? There are some marquee free agents out there who will demand big money once the lockout is over.
A new CBA will likely be cutting players' salaries by a third, but that will not stop teams from overspending to acquire their missing piece.
Here are six players that will get paid way too much in free agency.
6. Andrei Kirilenko
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Andrei "AK-47" Kirilenko had to be at least in the conversation of most ridiculous contracts for 2010, as he made over $17.8 million. Kirilenko is a talent at 6'9" who can defend smaller players because of his quickness and taller players who like to play on the perimeter.
He is a terrific shot-blocker who can fill up a stat sheet and would be a great addition for a playoff team that is one piece away from a championship. He has averaged 12.6 points, 2.8 assists, 5.6 rebounds and two blocks per game over his career.
The Utah Jazz would love to re-sign him but not anywhere near the price they paid him in 2010. Look for New Jersey owner Mikhail Prokhorov (who Kirilenko played for in Russia) to overpay for Kirilenko to pry him away from Utah.
A new CBA will likely cut Kirilenko's salary in half from what it was, but $45 million still seems like a lot of money for a guy who averages 12 points per game.
Deal: Five years, $45 million
5. Marc Gasol
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At 7'1" and 265 lbs, Marc Gasol is one of the most intimidating players in the NBA today. He has been in the league for three years, but he finally showed in the playoffs this year that he will belong in the conversation of the best big men in the NBA.
Gasol has averaged 12.6 points, 7.8 rebounds and 1.4 blocks over his career, while playing close to 32 minutes per game. During the 2010-2011 postseason, Gasol played 39.9 MPG while averaging 15 points, 11.2 rebounds and 2.2 blocks.
The Memphis Grizzlies will do everything that they can to keep Gasol and Zach Randolph together in the middle. Gasol will demand a huge payday (it's hard to fault Memphis for doing so) but $15 million a year for a 26-year-old who has been mostly average for three seasons is a gamble.
Gasol could easily prove this prediction wrong because he is certainly capable of being a dominant player.
Deal: Five years, $75 million
4. J.R. Smith
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It's amazing that a player with J.R. Smith's size, skill, shot and overall talent has averaged just 12.5 points per game over his career and is a sixth man. Then again, maybe it's not.
When you think of the name J.R. Smith, you instantly think of a guy who plays little defense and does not listen to his coaches. Sure, he has shown over his seven-year career that he can drain threes from all over the court, but he needs to be signed by a team with some solid veteran leadership if they want a productive player.
Smith is obviously waiting to become a star, but he should focus on becoming a starter first. He would fit in very nicely with the Boston Celtics if they can find some cap room.
Deal: Four years, $28 million
3. Tayshaun Prince
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Tayshaun Prince is now 31 and may be in search of his last long-term contract before retirement. It wasn't long ago before Prince was considered one of the best perimeter defenders in the NBA.
His defense and three-point shooting were big reasons why the Detroit Pistons owned the Eastern Conference for as long as they did. Prince's numbers are eerily similar to those of Kirilenko's, as he has averaged 12.9 points, 2.7 assists and 4.7 rebounds per game over his career.
Prince would obviously love to play for a contender again, but he will jump at an offer from a mediocre team that is willing to overpay for his talents. Don't be shocked if the defending world champion Dallas Mavericks make a run at him.
Deal: Five years, $45 million
2. Jason Richardson
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Jason Richardson will be an attractive option for many teams this summer as he has the ability to take over games. Richardson has averaged over 18 points per game and can drain threes with anyone (38 percent).
Richardson is now 30 and will be looking for one more large payday (like Tayshaun Prince) but don't expect him to make the $14.4 million he made in 2010. Richardson will get paid because of his tenacity on defense, shooting ability and explosive leaping ability.
Acquiring Jason Richardson would make a lot of marginal teams a lot better. Would he make them good enough to win a championship though?
Deal: Four years, $36 million
1. Tyson Chandler
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Tyson Chandler has been in the NBA for a decade but his star never shone as bright as it did with the world champion Dallas Mavericks last season. Chandler would be smart to cash in on the success he had in the playoffs and Dallas would obviously like to retain their defensive stopper.
Chandler has only averaged eight points, 8.8 rebounds and 1.3 blocks over his career, but he averaged 10.1 points, 9.4 rebounds and over a block per game for the Mavericks. Clearly this is a good match so both sides should try and make a deal that is fair for everyone.
I expect a deal in the range of five years for $65 million but that doesn't mean I think he is worth that much.
Deal: Five years, $60 million