Thankfully, all the Dwight Howard drama that just ended didn’t heavily involve actual contract talks, but rather the various pieces that made up the final trade puzzle. The contract stuff? Oh that will be next year. Although you just might hear it mentioned once or thirty times during the season itself.
But speaking about contracts, let’s move away from Howard. There are plenty of bad contracts scattered throughout the league and EVERY team has been guilty of handing out a bad contract or two over the past few seasons. It’s a reality of NBA business and sometimes the decision to offer an unproven NBA player a sizable contract is the indirect portrayal of an NBA GM’s quality.
Frequently, a “bad” NBA contract has as much to do with length (number of years given) as it does with the dollar value and guaranteed money. However, in this instance, we’re going to eliminate the length factor and focus in on simply the 2012-13 NBA salaries and determine the ugly contracts haunting some teams.
Andris Biedrins, Warriors ($9,000,000)
Few players have fallen off the earth as quick as Biedrins, so let’s start here. Just a couple of seasons ago, the Warriors thought they had their center of the future and a defensive force in Biedrins. What they got instead, since his very nice 2008-09 year (11.9 ppg, 11.2 rpg, 1.5 bpg, 1.0 spg), were three seasons full of injuries and declining production. In averaging only 15.7 minutes per game last year, (and even started 35 games) he averaged 1.7 ppg and 3.8 rpg. Worst of all, the guy shot 11% from the free throw line! 11%!! Good thing the Warriors are only investing $9 million dollars into this terrible situation this season.
Joe Johnson, Brooklyn Nets ($19,752,645)
Personally, I didn’t like this contact the moment the ink dried on the paper. I completely respect Johnson’s game and do think he’s a great talent, but he’s not a max player. While we know he can score the basketball, he’s better suited to be #2 option or even an equal part of an outstanding backcourt like he will be in Brooklyn with Deron Williams, rather than “the” guy. Obviously his 25.0 ppg in 2006-07 was impressive, but he also only played 57 games that year. Simply , there are better players in the league that are making a fraction of Joe’s $20 million. Now joining the Brooklyn Nets, he gives them four players that now make at least $12 million (Humphries, Lopez, Johnson, Williams). While I think the Humphries and Lopez contracts are bad as well, Johnson’s seems to bring least bang for $20 million bucks.
Ben Gordon, Bobcats ($12,400,000)
Although Gordon finally lands in a place where he’ll be featured as at least “a” primary scoring option again, he’ll be doing it for an extremely costly $12.4 million! Other than scoring, Gordon has failed to provide anything else of significance on the court (I suppose that one could make a small case for his three-point and free throw shooting). For the bulk of minutes he’s played, his career averages of 2.7 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game are disappointing. Really, it’s almost unfathomable to think that Ben Gordon will be making more than $12 million next season. But then again, doesn’t that perfectly reflect what the broken Bobcats are these days?
DeSagana Diop, Bobcats ($7,372,200)
Speaking of the Badcats, how on earth is DeSagana Diop still making THIS much money? Really, how is Diop even in the league at all? His 2011-12 stat line represents what a complete travesty this salary is: 12.0 mpg, 1.1 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 0.5 bpg. On top of that, I didn’t think that 36% shooting was even possible for a 7-foot center. Keep the dollars and losses flowing Charlotte.
Jose Calderon, Raptors ($10,561,982)
With the signing of Kyle Lowry to be the new starting point guard in Toronto, Calderon’s contract becomes an even bigger disaster. Calderon, currently the highest paid player on the Raptors squad, ultimately got handed a multi-year deal for his career year in 2008-09 when he averaged 8.9 assists, shot 98% from the free throw line and was at the top of league in assist-to-turnover ratio. However, by acquiring Lowry, Jose will now come off the bench, making him an extremely overpaid backup point guard. The Raptors failed to find partner to move him this offseason, so they now have to endure one more season of this inflated deal. Even though his numbers haven’t declined significantly, his impact has been minimal and doesn’t justify a $10.5 million contract.
Luke Walton, Cavs ($6,091,363)
The glory days of Luke Walton being an important role player appear to be over, though he is still being paid like one. While there will be more opportunity for minutes in Cleveland than there was in L.A., at 32-years old and with a limited skill set to begin with, Walton won’t contribute like a $6 million player should. Luckily, the Cavaliers have a very young roster, lots of cap space and really no other terrible contracts on the team. It’s not ideal, but they’ll be able to absorb the signing of Walton’s paychecks for one more season.
Amare Stoudemire, Knicks ($19,948,799)
There really couldn’t be a “bad contract” post without mentioning a New York Knick could there? Look, Amare Stoudemire is still a solid player, he’s just not the same player he was during his Suns glory days and certainly not a guy that should make $20 million dollars. Even though he now represents one third of New York’s “Big Three,” this is an absolute joke of a contract. Amare really needs to bet back to the 20 and 10 player he used to be and avoid punching fire extinguishers to validate this monstrosity.
Hedo Turkoglu, Magic ($11,815,850)
This contract doesn’t even need an explanation, as it’s punchline popularity has spanned a couple of seasons now. The contract is so attached to Turkoglu like it’s a cancer that whenever he’s mentioned in a trade scenario, the question is always, “who is going to take on Hedo’s contract?” The Raptors were on the hook for giving Turkoglu a 5-year, $54 million deal in 2009, but now the Magic hold the three remaining years on this juggernaut.
Marvin Williams, Jazz ($8,287,500)
As a former #2 overall pick, a big time bust with an even worse contract. Somehow has averaged 30.4 minutes and started 78% of his games over his career. Marvin’s coming off season of 10.2 ppg, 5.1 rpg and shooting a career-low 43% from the field, certainly not worthy $8.2 million. But you really can’t blame him, he cashed in and the Jazz traded for him. It may be begrudgingly, but Utah now has to pay the guy.
Al Horford, Hawks ($13,000,000), Kris Humphries, Nets ($12,000,000), Carlos Boozer, Bulls ($15,000,000), JaVale McGee, Nuggets ($10,000,000), Corey Maggette, Pistons ($10,924,138), Rudy Gay, Grizzlies ($16,460,538), Zach Randolph, Grizzlies ($16,500,000), Richard Jefferson, Warriors ($10,164,000), Brad Miller, Suns ($5,104,000), Stephen Jackson, Spurs ($10,059,750), Amir Johnson, Raptors ($6,050,000)