The last NBA Collective Bargaining Agreement hoped to curtail rampant spending by the owners – they had to be protected from themselves, which seemingly contradicts their self-appointed titles of “businessmen.” Of course, nothing has changed. So with that, we bring you the worst of the worst in this merry NBA free agent season. Here’s our top five worst contracts thus far, as we raise our glasses to many, many more to come.
5. Goran Dragic – 4 years, $30 million (Phoenix Suns)
I’ll never understand the Suns. They let Steve Nash go because they don’t want to pay, yet they shell out $7.5 million a year for a point guard that will lead them to them straight to the lottery for the next few years.
4. Landry Fields – 3 years, $20 million (Toronto Raptors)
So, let me get this straight: the Toronto Raptors offered Landry Fields an exorbitant amount of money just to hinder the Knicks’ efforts to get Steve Nash? The real question is, why were the Raptors so intent on landing Nash? Even with Jonas Valanciunas entering the fold this season, a Nash-lead Raptors team barely makes the playoffs, and assuredly loses in the first round. Mediocrity gets you nowhere in today’s NBA. Either tank or go for broke.
3. Jamal Crawford – 4 years, $24 million (Los Angeles Clippers)
Four years? The Los Angeles Clippers will not seriously compete for a championship unless their roster is significantly upgraded – Chris Paul and Blake Griffin simply aren’t enough. Crawford can score the ball, but swallowing four years and $6 million in cap space annually will only hinder future attempts to lock up potential franchise-changers. Role players are replaceable, so four years seems excessive.
2. Omer Asik – 3 years, $25 million (Houston Rockets)
Daryl Morey is revered for his statistical genius, manipulating market inefficiencies to his franchise’s advantage. But while the 3 years, $25 million for Asik doesn’t seem too outrageous, considering that he’s a solid rebounder as well as one of only a few rim-protecting big men around these days, the deal is simply unnecessary. As with the Suns and Raptors, the Rockets are going nowhere fast. Asik is a nice piece to add when you’re a role player away from contention, but Houston is nowhere near that right now.
1. Gerald Wallace – 4 years, $40 million (Brooklyn Nets)
I was all for the Nets re-signing Gerald Wallace – he caught a lot of heat simply because the Nets made a questionable trade for him, giving up what turned into the No. 6 pick in the draft (Damian Lillard). But he’s always been an energetic wing player that meshes well with those around him, as he does a little bit of everything. For the Nets, who now look like a perennial playoff team, they’ve locked themselves into playoff, but not championship, contention. Simply put, a core of Williams-Johnson-Wallace is not enough to overcome Miami, OKC, LAL or even Boston. Although a trade for Dwight Howard is still in the works, their lack of assets make it seemingly less likely every day. A less hefty Gerald Wallace contract would have given them more cap space to maneuver, and, possibly, more room to sign Dwight next offseason when he becomes a free agent.
What are the worst free agent contracts signed this season?
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