7. David Lee – Golden State Warriors
David Lee was every Knicks fan’s sweetheart, back in the days of Isiah Thomas, Chris Duhon and Mike D’Antoni. He inflated his value statistically, and the Knicks dumped him for Amar’e. Is Lee an effective NBA power forward? Yes. But he’s a third option at best offensively, a solid rebounder a defensive nightmare (the bad kind). Signing him to such a gargantuan contract was a mind-boggling move by the Warriors, especially when they were entering a rebuilding mode. Although give credit to Lee for so wildly swinging his monetary value, when he was once undervalued and underpaid to now, an overvalued, overpaid, immovable contract.
6. Brook Lopez – Brooklyn Nets
2015-2016: $16,744,279 (Player Option)
There are a million reasons to hate this deal, but we’ll narrow it down to two. First, you don’t pay for a scoring, non-rebounding center on a team that already has two superstar scorers (Deron Williams, Joe Johnson) and another one up and coming (MarShon Brooks). Brooklyn panicked and wanted to win now in the new arena, even if this team is slated for at best a second round playoff exit. And now, with most of their money tied up long-term, they can enjoy being the new Atlanta Hawks of the Eastern Conference: good enough to make the playoffs, not good enough to make any serious noise. Instead, they should have taken the cap space and used it to acquire the right piece next offseason.
Secondly, Brook Lopez, in a vacuum, isn’t even a max player. Is he a very good center? Yes. But “max” implies he’s one of the best, which he is most clearly not.
5. Hedo Turkoglu – Orlando Magic
2013-2014: $12,000,000 (Not Guaranteed)
If this were four years ago, when Orlando made the Finals on the back of Dwight Howard and the craft and guile of Hedo Turkoglu, maybe, just MAYBE, you could have sold him as an $11 million dollar player. But that Orlando team was never really good enough to win the title, and having Hedo as your second best player is a recipe for disappointment. Now he’s a decrepit shell of his former self, averaging 10 points, four rebounds and four assists on a team on which, for the most part, allows him to dominate the ball on the perimeter.