Sunday, July 13, 2008

The NBA's 10 Worst Current Contracts

In today's NBA, there are countless contracts that are far from palatable. In this exercise, I examined the available NBA contracts at to determine the worst ten. Let me assure you that this was by no means an easy task.

For the sake of the exercise, I eliminated players who had reached a buyout from their former teams. That excludes the likes of Adonal Foyle, Steve Francis and Juwan Howard, the first two of which would be shoe-ins for this list.

Also, I have "pardoned" players with sizable contracts who have spent large amounts of time with the team trainer. That includes Bobby Simmons (two years, $20.5M) and Speedy Claxton (two years, $11.0M).

Additionally, because athletes with bad contracts rarely forgo player options, the contracts below include player options.

Knicks fans have grown accustomed to seeing this type of contribution from James.
Credit: Seattle Post-Intelligencer

1) Jerome James, New York Knicks - 2 years, $12.8M. Healthy for most of last season, James made more millions than minutes played ... all season. When he originally signed a five-year deal, many thought it was a horrible deal. It's amazing how a vastly impressive series at the right time net a $30+M contract.

2) Brian Cardinal, Minnesota Timberwolves - 2 years, $13.0M. Cardinal was well on his way to being a career nomad before he had two comparatively good seasons averaging 9.6 and 9.0ppg, respectively. That resulted in a disgusting contract that the Grizz have regretted ever since. Cardinal is serviceable at best. The service has yet to be determined.

3) Dan Gadzuric, Milwaukee Bucks - 3 years, $20.2M. The Bucks can look forward 3 and 3 for the next three years. I've been informed by a colleague that he is a beast at cleaning up rebounds in NBA Live 08. So, he's good for something other than keeping the seat warm for the starters.

4) Brian Scalabrine, Boston Celtics - 2 years, $6.6M. An energy guy with the Nets, Danny Ainge signed Scalabrine to a 5-year, $15M deal which many Celts cringed about for months on end. At least, he's a good luck charm.

5) Raef LaFrentz, Portland Trail Blazers - 1 year, $12.7M. Wikipedia knows what's up! Raef is best known for his expiring contract.

6) Erick Dampier, Dallas Mavericks - 3 years, $33.7M. A lightning rod for criticism, Damp lost his mean streak a while ago. A $10+M center he is not. The need to sign to DeSagana Diop to the full mid-level exception demonstrated urgency.

7) Kenyon Martin, Denver Nuggets - 3 years, $46.0M. Since he stayed healthy and performed admirably last season, K-Mart was lower on this list. Injuries have slowed K-Mart down; however, was he worthy of the contract that Denver gave him? Because of the implicit Jason Kidd factor, methinks not.

8) Jared Jeffries, New York Knicks - 3 years, $19.4M. A career-low 3.7 ppg this past season along with an overall negligible impact for a full mid-level exception contract - that's what he gets for leaving a good situation in Washington.

9) Ben Wallace, Cleveland Cavaliers - 2 years, $28.5M. Though Wallace remains a formidable defensive asset, he is no longer worthy of NBA All-Defensive First Team honors. Also, guys who don't take shots from outside 10 feet should shoot better than 39% from the field. Just a thought, not a sermon.

10) Stephon Marbury, New York Knicks - 1 year, $21.9M. After the 2004-05 campaign, Marbury's numbers have declined precipitously. For a player who does not have a real playoff resume or a track record for being an unselfish teammate, that's not comforting. Little known fact: Steph shot a career-high 38% from behind the arc in 2007-08.

[Dis]Honorable Mention
Troy Murphy, Indiana Pacers - 3 years, $31M. Murphy had somewhat of a resurgence in Indiana last season, but he's not the double-double guy that signed the contract a few years ago with the Warriors.

Shaquille O'Neal, Phoenix Suns - 2 years, $40M. Though he averaged a double figures in scoring and rebounding with Phoenix, a non-franchise player should never make $20M per year. The bigger indictment here is on Steve Kerr and Robert Sarver for acquiring his contract, knowing that you want to avoid going a cent over the luxury tax threshold.

Greg Buckner, Memphis Grizzlies - 3 years, $12M. I have nothing to say on Buckner. He sure was good at Clemson. He may still be able to start for them.

Larry Hughes, Chicago Bulls - 2 years, $26.5. Hughes has been dogged by injuries and familial tribulations, but he took the silly money that Cleveland offered and hobbled. Hughes's ability to take the ball aggressively to the hoop and draw fouls can make him a very good player again; however, he needs to improve shot selection and overall consistency. A website created by a Cleveland fan aptly summarizes why Hughes is on this list.

1 comment:

Navid said...

what? No Marko Jaric? No Stromile Swift? No Jason Collins? No Shareef Abdur-Rahim or Marcus Banks or Mark Blount?? HAHAHA!