Every NBA Team's Worst Contract This Season
Bad contracts come in all shapes and sizes in the NBA, with nearly every team possessing at least one deal they regret.
For the purpose of this article, we're only focusing on contracts vs. production for this season only. Some players may have worse long-term deals overall, but we're only considering the 2020-21 portion of the contract.
These could range anywhere from an All-Star making the second-highest single-season salary ever to low-producing bench players on mid-level exception deals. Players who are not longer on the team (yet are still being paid by them) are absolutely fair game here as well.
Players missing the majority or entirety of the season with injuries (Klay Thompson, Jonathan Isaac, etc) would be too easy of a selection and, in turn, won't count.
Atlanta Hawks: Tony Snell Jr.
2020-21 Salary: $12.2 million
Production: 4.6 points, 1.8 rebounds, 1.1 assists, 0.1 steals, 45.5 FG%, 15.5 minutes
While Snell can't miss from three this season (57.4 percent on 47 total attempts), he's still not living up to his $12-plus million expiring deal.
Despite ranking fourth on the team in salary, Snell is ninth in scoring, 13th in rebounding and 11th overall in assists per game for Atlanta.
Players like Trae Young, John Collins, De'Andre Hunter, Cam Reddish and Kevin Huerter are all still on rookie deals while higher-priced vets like Clint Capela and Danilo Gallinari are producing (when healthy).
An argument could be made here for Bogdan Bogdanovic ($18.0 million), although a knee injury has limited him to nine games thus far. Even his per-minute production far exceeds that of Snell.
Boston Celtics: Kemba Walker
2020-21 Salary: $34.4 million
Production: 17.3 points, 3.6 rebounds, 4.1 assists, 1.1 steals, 37.5 FG%, 29.2 minutes
Walker just hasn't looked the same after trying to nurse his injured knee this offseason, with the lowest field goal percentage since his rookie season standing as proof.
The highest paid Celtic (over $11 million ahead of second-place Jaylen Brown), Walker is tied with Jimmy Butler for the 12th-highest paid player in the league. Of the top 13, only Blake Griffin is making a fewer percentage of his shots (36.5 percent).
Jayson Tatum's max extension won't kick in until next season, while veterans like Brown, Marcus Smart, Tristan Thompson and Daniel Theis are all on very reasonable deals.
Walker's shown signs of picking up his play (21.0 points on 42.4 percent shooting over his last six games), but for now he's still safely possessing the worst contract on the Celtics this season.
Brooklyn Nets: DeAndre Jordan
2020-21 Salary: $10.4 million
Production: 7.5 points, 7.3 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.5 blocks, 77.9 FG%, 22.4 minutes
While a four-year, $75 million deal for Joe Harris seemed like a bit of an overpay at the time, the 29-year-old wing has responded with a career-high 15.1 points while knocking down over half of his threes (an NBA-best 50.9 percent) this season.
Even a pre-injury Spencer Dinwiddie projected to be a good value at $11.5 million this season, leaving Jordan as the de facto choice here.
No longer the two-way threat at the rim he used to be, Jordan's energy level comes and goes as the Nets have benched him at times in favor of small-ball, even using Durant at center. Jordan's opponent field goal shooting at the rim has increased this season (55.3 percent compared to 51.6 percent in 2019-20) and the Nets should be actively pursuing center help at the deadline.
While his contract isn't horrible (and far from the largest on the team), Jordan just isn't an eight figures player anymore.
Charlotte Hornets: Nicolas Batum
2020-21 Salary: $9.0 million
Batum is the fourth-highest paid player on the Hornets this season, even though he plays for the Los Angeles Clippers.
Charlotte chose to waive and stretch his expiring $27 million deal in order to create enough cap space to sign Gordon Hayward, meaning they're forced to pay the veteran forward $9 million a year for the next three seasons.
Batum has rebounded in L.A., averaging 8.8 points, 4.7 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.3 steals in 31 games (all starts) while hitting a career-best 44.0 percent of his threes.
With the Hornets paying Batum more than LaMelo Ball, Miles Bridges, P.J. Washington, Malik Monk or Devonte' Graham this season, his $9 million contract is the obvious choice.
Chicago Bulls: Otto Porter Jr.
2020-21 Salary: $28.5 million
Production: 11.6 points, 6.3 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 0.6 steals, 44.4 FG%, 23.3 minutes
Porter is Chicago's highest-paid player this season despite starting just six of his 16 games.
Losing his starting job to rookie Patrick Williams, Porter hasn't been bad this season when healthy (especially with a 40.0 percent shooting mark from three) and the Bulls will get some major salary cap relief from his expiring deal this offseason. For now, however, he's the most expensive backup in the league.
Zach LaVine has become one of the most underpaid stars in the league at $19.5 million, especially for an All-Star who's putting up 28.8 points, 5.3 rebounds and 5.0 assists per game on 65.3 percent true shooting.
With so many other players on rookie deals (Coby White, Lauri Markkanen, Wendell Carter Jr., Daniel Gafford), the Bulls only have one other candidate (Cristiano Felicio, $7.5 million) to challenge Porter for the worst contract on the team.
Cleveland Cavaliers: Kevin Love
2020-21 Salary: $31.3 million
Production: 9.5 points, 6.0 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 0.5 steals, 33.3 FG%, 23.0 minutes
While injuries would normally prevent a player from joining this list, it's safe to say Love would be vastly overpaid even if he were healthy all season.
A calf injury has limited Love to just a game-and-a-half this season, with an original three-to-four week diagnosis now stretching to two months and counting.
Love was actually fairly healthy and productive a season ago (17.6 points, 9.8 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 37.4 percent shooting from three in 56 games), although his play far from warrants a salary in excess of $30-plus million anymore.
Andre Drummond is the only other player on the Cavs roster that comes close to matching Love's salary ($28.8 million), but he's been his usual productive self (17.5 points, 13.5 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 1.6 steals, 1.2 blocks) before Cleveland shut him down while pursuing a trade.
The Cavaliers have five players on rookie deals, meaning Love is the obvious choice here, healthy or not.
Dallas Mavericks: James Johnson
2020-21 Salary: $16.0 million
Production: 6.3 points, 3.2 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 0.9 steals, 47.8 FG%, 18.7 minutes
While Johnson's been a decent backup power forward, he certainly doesn't deserve to be the third-highest paid player on the Mavericks.
He's shown no ability to space the floor (26.8 percent from three this season), with perhaps Johnson's greatest value being a potential salary-matcher at the trade deadline.
Kristaps Porzingis (20.5 points, 8.2 rebounds, 1.6 blocks) is starting to resemble his pre-injury self, and Luka Doncic still has a year-and-a-half remaining on his rookie deal.
Dwight Powell hasn't played up to his $11 million salary signed before an Achilles injury, but Johnson's $16.0 deal still remains the biggest overpay here.
Denver Nuggets: Gary Harris
2020-21 Salary: $19.2 million
Production: 9.7 points, 2.5 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 0.9 steals, 44.2 FG%, 30.6 minutes
While Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray are playing up to their max rookie extensions, Harris has been robbing the Nuggets for years.
A once promising outside shot has fallen off a cliff (33.4 percent from three over the past three years), with Harris' wing defense being his best remaining calling card.
Paul Millsap is finally on a team-friendly contract ($10 million), while Michael Porter Jr., R.J. Hampton, Bol Bol and Monte Morris are still playing on rookie deals this season.
Harris is a key salary matcher if the Nuggets want to make a play for Bradley Beal, Zach LaVine or another big-name star, but for now, he has become an overpriced wing defender who could use a change of scenery.
Detroit Pistons: Blake Griffin
2020-21 Salary: $36.6 million
Production: 12.3 points, 5.2 rebounds, 3.9 assists, 0.7 steals, 36.5 FG%, 31.3 minutes
While the popular mantra has long been that no contract is untradeable, Griffin's deal could finally put an end to that belief.
The Pistons are currently sitting Griffin while they pursue a trade, one that will never come. A buyout is inevitable, with the two sides only needing to decide on a fair amount.
Griffin is the eighth-highest paid player in the NBA, and no team is going to give up anything to take on his deal, one that turns into a $39 million player option next season. Knee surgeries have robbed Griffin of his athleticism, with his passing now arguably the veteran forward's best trait.
There's no need to mention any other Pistons contracts here. Griffin is probably on the worst deal of any player in the NBA, one Detroit will hopefully shave down a little in a future buyout.
Golden State Warriors: Andrew Wiggins
2020-21 Salary: $29.5 million
Production: 17.5 points, 4.6 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 0.8 steals, 46.7 FG%, 32.5 minutes
For the first month of the season, the answer here would clearly have been Kelly Oubre Jr.
While the 25-year-old forward was averaging just 11.7 points on 35.9 percent shooting over his first 19 games, Oubre has responded with 19.9 points on 48.6 percent over his last 14 contests. His salary ($14.4 million) is roughly half of what Wiggins is making this season as well.
Warriors fans may be gushing over Wiggins' career-best shooting efficiency or his improved defense as his defensive rating has rose from 116.5 last season to 107.2 in 2020-21. Still, the former No. 1 overall pick's play is still far from the max deal he's currently on. Golden State is better with Wiggins off the floor this season as well (3.0 points per 100 possessions).
Stephen Curry is the NBA's highest-paid player at $43 million this season, but no one's arguing he hasn't been worth it.
Houston Rockets: John Wall
2020-21 Salary: $41.3 million
Production: 20.1 points, 3.5 rebounds, 6.1 assists, 1.0 steals, 43.2 FG%, 30.9 minutes
Wall is one of the most productive players on this list, and the fact that this is even a debate is a testament to his strong play his season considering that salary number.
Only Stephen Curry, Russell Westbrook and Chris Paul will earn more in salary this season than Wall, meaning he's pulling in more than players like LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, James Harden and Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Of the 42 NBA players averaging at least 20 points per game or more this season, Wall ranks dead last in true shooting percentage (53.4 percent). The Rockets have been better with him on the bench as well, as evidenced by a minus-3.0 points per 100 possessions on/off rating.
Wall's return to play from a major Achilles injury has been impressive, but his contract is still among the worst in the league.
Indiana Pacers: No One
2020-21 Salary: N/A
Try to find one bad contract on the Pacers. I dare you.
Malcolm Brogdon is the only player making over $20 million ($20.7 million), and he is a borderline All-Star with averages of 21.7 points, 4.8 rebounds and 6.4 assists per game.
Domantas Sabonis ($17.2 million), Myles Turner ($18 million), Caris LeVert ($16.2 million) and T.J. Warren ($11.8 million) are all on near-bargain deals, and even Jeremy Lamb has overcome a major leg injury to earn his $10.5 million.
A future contract for Victor Oladipo may have gotten too pricey, so moving the two-time All-Star was the safe financial move for Indiana.
Congratulations, Pacers. While the team may be stuck in mediocrity, the salary books are squeaky clean.
Los Angeles Clippers: Marcus Morris Sr.
2020-21 Salary: $14.8 million
Production: 3.1 points, 1.6 rebounds, 0.9 assists, 0.1 steals, 40.0 FG%, 12.9 minutes
While Kawhi Leonard and Paul George are each earning over $34 million this season, both are All-Stars in their primes. Their salaries have matched their production.
Morris is the third-highest-earning Clipper this season, an expected starter who has become an important reserve instead.
His three-point shooting has continued its recent rise (up to 48.0 percent this season), even if Morris' rebounding is at its lowest since 2013-14 (3.8 per game).
While his contract isn't terrible, it still stands as one of the most expensive deals for a backup in the league and is the worst on the Clippers until Luke Kennard's four-year, $64 million extension kicks in next season.
Los Angeles Lakers: Luol Deng
2020-21 Salary: $5.0 million
Deng hasn't played a game for the Lakers since 2017, yet still remains the team's sixth-highest paid player now four years later.
The Lakers waived and stretched the remaining two years and $36.8 million on Deng's deal in 2018, meaning they'll be paying him $5 million per year until the 2021-22 season ends. While L.A. requested a career-ending injury application to try and remove his salary from their cap sheets, the league denied the move last November.
Deng is being paid more than Kyle Kuzma, Marc Gasol, Wesley Matthews, Alex Caruso, Talen Horton-Tucker and Markieff Morris this season, the result of an original four-year, $72 million deal that will likely go down as one of the worst of all-time.
Memphis Grizzlies: Dion Waiters
2020-21 Salary: $12.7 million
The Grizzlies were so hell bent on keeping Waiters away from the team that they agreed to pay his full $12.7 million salary this season following a Feb. 2020 trade from the Miami Heat.
Waiters and Justise Winslow have played a total of three games for the Grizzlies in over a year since that time, combining to make $25.7 million this season alone.
On a team without a max salary player (or even one making $18 million), Winslow and Waiters rank third and fourth overall in money earned from the Grizzlies this season. While Winslow has recently made his long-awaited debut in Memphis, Waiters has remained a free agent all year.
Gorgui Deing deserves a shout out here as well, Memphis' highest-paid player at $17.3 million despite ranking 11th on the team in scoring.
Miami Heat: Andre Iguodala
2020-21 Salary: $15.0 million
Production: 4.6 points, 3.6 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.0 steals, 39.4 FG%, 21.6 minutes
Speaking of the Dion Waiters/Justise Winslow trade, the other side of that deal isn't looking too great for the Heat, either.
Iguodala got a nice extension after his arrival in Miami (two years, $30 million), one that looks like quite the overpay for the 37-year-old now.
While he hasn't been a big-time scorer for years, Iguodala is down to 12th on the Heat in points per game and is shooting under 40 percent for the first time in his career.
Miami is 4.0 points per 100 possessions better with Iguodala out of the game, with the decision to not pick up his $15 million team option for next season looking more and more like the obvious choice.
Milwaukee Bucks: Brook Lopez
2020-21 Salary: $12.7 million
Production: 10.7 points, 5.1 rebounds, 0.6 assists, 1.4 blocks, 46.9 FG%, 27.0 minutes
The Bucks really don't have any bad contracts, especially with Giannis Antetokounmpo still on his rookie-level extension ($27.5 million). Khris Middleton may be a tad overpaid, but even saying that feels wrong.
Lopez is the highest earner outside of the Big Three (one that includes Jrue Holiday), with his nearly $13-million deal ranking 15th among centers.
While he's an effective floor-spacer and defender, Lopez ranks last among 49 qualified big men in rebound percentage this season (10.0 percent), an area that's long been a weakness for the 7-footer.
Former Bucks center Larry Sanders ($1.9 million) is still on team books, but his deal ranks pretty far down Milwaukee's cap sheet.
Lopez is arguably the worst contract on the team, even if it's not really all that bad.
Minnesota Timberwolves: Ricky Rubio
2020-21 Salary: $17.0 million
Production: 7.7 points, 3.2 rebounds, 6.5 assists, 1.2 steals, 38.5 FG%, 25.4 minutes
It's been a nightmare of a season in Minnesota, one headlined by injuries and a coaching change.
Bringing Rubio back was supposed to be a feel-good story that helped the Timberwolves make a playoff push, but the veteran point guard's shooting woes have gotten even worse.
A three-point shot that was showing promise last season with the Phoenix Suns (36.1 percent) has now fallen back to Earth (30.6 percent), pulling Rubio's overall shooting efficiency with it (38.5 percent from the field).
New Orleans Pelicans: JJ Redick
2020-21 Salary: $13.0 million
Production: 8.0 points, 1.7 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 0.3 steals, 38.2 FG%, 18.2 minutes
While he's the best current-player podcast host out there, Redick looks every bit the part of a 36-year-old now.
Coming off the bench regularly for the first time in eight years, Redick is shooting a career-low 35.9 percent from three and is under 40 percent on catch-and-shoot threes (39.1 percent) since the NBA started tracking such shots in 2013-14.
Never a lockdown defender, Redick is only getting worse with age on that end of the floor, an area that could usually be covered up with his lights-out shooting.
While some team will likely still make a play for him at the trade deadline, Redick has become well overpaid at his current number.
New York Knicks: Joakim Noah
2020-21 Salary: $6.4 million
Only Julius Randle, RJ Barrett and Derrick Rose will earn more money from the Knicks this season than Noah, the result of a four-year, $72 million deal signed in 2016 that would be waived-and-stretched two years later.
Noah will make another $6.4 million next season from New York despite not playing a game for the team in three years, only totaling 53 contests with the Knicks. For those counting at home, that's about $1.4 million per game played.
The good news? New York's books look the best they have in years. Randle is the only player making over $8.2 million and has become a terrific value at $18.9 million as he has enjoyed an All-Star year.
Outside of Noah, no contract on the Knicks should be considered bad.
Oklahoma City Thunder: Al Horford
2020-21 Salary: $27.5 million
Production: 14.6 points, 6.9 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 0.9 steals, 45.0 FG%, 28.3 minutes
Somehow, someway the Thunder are going to get a first-round pick for Horford.
What looked like one of the NBA's worst deals last offseason suddenly doesn't seem so bad, with Horford playing better in his return as a full-time center.
He's an effective floor-spacer (37.9 percent from three) and talented passer who has helped keep the young Thunder competitive this season.
That being said, the 34-year-old isn't the lockdown defender he once was and his nearly $28 million salary is more than twice as high as any of his OKC teammates.
Now down to 40th overall in average salary, Horford's deal doesn't look as bad even if he's still overpaid.
Orlando Magic: Terrence Ross
2020-21 Salary: $13.5 million
Production: 15.3 points, 3.4 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 1.1 steals, 41.1 FG%, 28.8 minutes
While the Magic have had to pay out millions to injured players this season, Ross has become the most overpaid healthy player in Orlando.
While his 15.3 points per game are a career-high, Ross' true shooting mark has declined each of the past three seasons, down to 52.9 percent this year. For a player that does little else besides put up shots, this is a problem.
Orlando's fourth-highest paid player this season, Ross just doesn't contribute across the board like Nikola Vucevic, Aaron Gordon or some of the Magic's other most-used players. His usage rate (24.0 percent) is higher than point guard Cole Anthony's, a bad sign for a guy making just 41.1 percent of his shots.
Philadelphia 76ers: Mike Scott
2020-21 Salary: $5.0 million
Production: 3.9 points, 2.7 rebounds, 0.1 assists, 0.2 steals, 34.5 FG%, 16.8 minutes
The lowest-earning player on this list, Scott's $5.0 million expiring deal is far from franchise crippling.
Even at his low number, Scott is still sixth on Philly's earning list, including the highest-priced reserve on the team. While you can't put a price on toughness, maybe you should considering how little Scott actually contributes to the stat sheet.
Scott has primarily become a floor-spacer on offense, with 80 percent of his looks coming from three this year. He's just a 31.8 percent shooter from deep, however, a mark barely higher than Dwight Howard (30.0 percent).
The 32-year-old has totaled just two assists in his 235 minutes, an impressively low amount. While the financial commitment isn't significant, Scott is barely playing at the value of a minimum deal.
Phoenix Suns: Chris Paul
2020-21 Salary: $41.4 million
Production: 16.7 points, 4.6 rebounds, 8.6 assists, 1.2 steals, 48.6 FG%, 32.0 minutes
The only All-Star on this list, Chris Paul is once again defying time with his impressive play.
It's easy to forget that not long ago his deal was considered the lesser of two evils between Russell Westbrook and that the Oklahoma City Thunder were going to have to give up picks in order to get off his massive contract.
While Paul has been great, he's still tied with Westbrook for the second-highest salary in the NBA behind Stephen Curry (who's scoring nearly twice as many points per game).
Devin Booker is probably underpaid at $29.5 million, and Deandre Ayton is the only other Sun pulling in $10 million or more this season.
With Phoenix in such good financial shape, Paul stands out as the worst deal, no matter how good of a season he's having.
Portland Trail Blazers: Rodney Hood
2020-21 Salary: $10.0 million
Production: 4.8 points, 1.6 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 0.7 steals, 36.6 FG%, 18.8 minutes
While making a return from an Achilles injury is always impressive, Rodney Hood just hasn't looked the same.
His efficiency has plummeted this season, with his scoring down to just 11th overall on the team despite being the Blazer's fifth-highest paid player.
Portland has been getting killed in his minutes (minus-11.2 on/off rating), with only Harry Giles III and Anfernee Simons registering worse swings.
Don't be surprised if the Blazers use Hood to help match salaries in a trade at the deadline, as his $10.9 million salary for next season is non-guaranteed.
Sacramento Kings: Cory Joseph
2020-21 Salary: $12.6 million
Production: 6.5 points, 2.2 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 0.8 steals, 45.7 FG%, 20.3 minutes
Between Harrison Barnes, Trevor Ariza and Dewayne Dedmon, the Kings have had to overpay to attract (or keep) free agents in recent years.
The same holds true for Cory Joseph, who has quietly become one of the league's most expensive backups.
His three-point shooting has fallen to 32.3 percent, even below his career average of 33.1 percent. While he does a good job of taking care of the ball (1.0 turnovers per game), Joseph has become massively overpaid for what he gives Sacramento on a nightly basis.
With Barnes enjoying a fine season (16.1 points on 40.0 percent shooting from three), Joseph has become the worst contract on the Kings.
San Antonio Spurs: LaMarcus Aldridge
2020-21 Salary: $24.0 million
Production: 13.9 points, 4.5 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 0.9 blocks, 46.8 FG%, 26.6 minutes
While LaMarcus Aldridge carried the San Antonio Spurs offense for years, he's now the fourth-leading scorer on a team that's become more youth-focused.
Only DeMar DeRozan is making more than Aldridge, although the veteran wing is justifying it with All-Star numbers.
The Spurs are 10.7 points per 100 possessions worse with the 35-year-old Aldridge on the floor, more than twice as bad as his on/off rating last season.
While San Antonio hasn't made an in-season trade since 2014, moving Aldridge for some younger pieces may be worth breaking tradition for.
Toronto Raptors: Aron Baynes
2020-21 Salary: $7.0 million
Production: 5.8 points, 5.3 rebounds, 1.0 assists, 0.3 blocks, 42.0 FG%, 19.4 minutes
It's hard to explain the drop-off for Baynes, who was quite good with the Phoenix Suns last season but has looked lost for the Toronto Raptors.
Baynes is still chucking up multiple three-pointers per game despite making just 21.9 percent of them. Rejecting a shot has become a rare occurrence, as he ranks just 42nd out of 49 qualified big men in block percentage (1.8 percent) this season.
Backup Chris Boucher has been far better and is making $500,000 less than Baynes, who may not make it past the March 25 trade deadline.
Utah Jazz: Mike Conley
2020-21 Salary: $34.5 million
Production: 16.3 points, 3.6 rebounds, 5.7 assists, 1.5 steals, 44.9 FG%, 29.1 minutes
Yes, Mike Conley has been awesome this season, even if his raw numbers probably weren't good enough to warrant him an All-Star selection.
He's been instrumental in Utah's 26-6 start heading into play Friday, and Conley's 42.0 percent clip from three is a career high.
So why his selection here? That nearly $35 million mark is a lot, even for someone who's played as well as Conley has. Only 10 players in the NBA are making more this season, a list littered with All-Stars and MVPs.
Donovan Mitchell is still on his rookie contract, and players like Rudy Gobert, Bojan Bogdanovic, Jordan Clarkson and Joe Ingles are all playing to their respective values.
The Jazz are in really good financial shape, so much so that Conley's deal is the "worst" of the bunch.
Washington Wizards: Russell Westbrook
2020-21 Salary: $41.4 million
Production: 19.7 points, 9.7 rebounds, 9.7 assists, 0.9 steals, 42.4 FG%, 34.1 minutes
Russell Westbrook is the anti-Mike Conley, a player who jumps off the page with his raw stats yet whose team is far better with him off the floor.
The only member of this list who could end up averaging a triple-double this season, Westbrook remains one of the league's most talented players who does so many things to damage his own team.
Westbrook's $41.4 million salary this season is the second-highest in the NBA, yet he and Ricky Rubio are the only guards with a turnover mark greater than 18 percent and a true shooting mark of under 50 percent.
While the 32-year-old point guard has cut back on his total shots, his 42.4 percent mark from the field is his worst since 2009-10. If not for Blake Griffin, Westbrook may be considered the worst contract in the league.
His talent is obviously there but far from worth it at this price.