On Twitter a couple weeks ago, WFAN Radio’s (New York) Evan Roberts tweeted a suggestion that as part of the NBA’s new collective bargaining agreement, each team should be allowed to void one bad contract. I thought that was an interesting idea, and did some research, and here is one contract each NBA team would probably like to void:
Note: Contracts that expire after this season were not included on this list. All contracts listed here have at least one year remaining on them.
New Jersey Nets: Travis Outlaw
After the Nets missed out on all the major 2010 free agents, they were left scrambling for the remains of the 2010 free agent class. Their first “splash” was giving Travis Outlaw a five-year, $35 million contract. Everyone knew the team overpaid at the time, and Outlaw’s first season with the Nets has just reinforced that belief as he has averaged just over nine points while losing his starting job to rookie Damion James.
Philadelphia 76ers: Elton Brand
Brand has played well this season, leading the Sixers in scoring and rebounding as they look to be headed to the playoffs after missing them last year. Despite that, he is owed nearly $35 million over the next two years, which is near maximum money for a non-max player – especially one who has been so inconsistent and injury prone over his tenure in Philly.
Toronto Raptors: Jose Calderon
Calderon is a solid NBA point guard, and is averaging over nine assists per game for the Raptors, but for a team that is embarking on a serious rebuilding project, I don’t see him staying with the team longterm. He is owed an average of $10 million each of the next two years, and that money could be better spent by Toronto on younger, cheaper talent.
Boston Celtics: Jermaine O’Neal
The Celtics have O’Neal signed for over $6 million next season, and while he provides depth for them, the Celtics need money to re-sign Glen Davis. Plus, O’Neal has only played in 17 games this season. Finding a healthier, more productive alternative is something the Celtics would probably be interested in.
New York Knicks: Renaldo Balkman
The Knicks have an interesting salary situation. All of their salary is essentially concentrated in three players – Chauncey Billups, Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire – none of whose contracts the Knicks would be interested in voiding. Balkman is slated for a $1.6 million salary in 2012-13 which means his salary would hinder the cap room the Knicks would have in the summer of 2012, making his the contract the one the Knicks would like to void.
Cleveland Cavaliers: Baron Davis
The Cavs essentially bought a Lottery pick in this year’s NBA Draft by taking on Davis’ contract from the Clippers in addition to their first rounder this year. He clearly has no future in Cleveland as the Cavs are in a complete rebuilding mode, and Davis’s two years and $29 million left on his deal are not exactly conducive to that effort.
Detroit Pistons: Richard Hamilton
This one is fairly obvious. Rip was once a cornerstone of the Pistons franchise, but now Hamilton has fallen deeply out of favor with management. Coach John Kuester benched him for a month earlier in the season, and Hamilton led a supposed player boycott of a team shootaround. Additionally, with Bill Davidson‘s widow trying to sell the team, Hamilton’s $25 million over the next two years won’t help attract any suitors.
Indiana Pacers: James Posey
Posey is one of those players who is a great role player on a very good team like he was in 2008 with the Celtics. However, on a mediocre team like the Pacers, Posey is not necessarily an ideal fit. With loads of wing talent in Danny Granger, Paul George, Brandon Rush and possibly Lance Stephenson, the Pacers would do well to void Posey’s last year at $6.9 million.
Milwaukee Bucks: Corey Maggette
The Bucks acquired Maggette in the offseason hoping he would boost their perimeter offense, but he hasn’t really fit in with the Bucks and is averaging only 13 points per game (while not playing much defense). For a player who is essentially one-dimensional like Maggette is, he needs to be scoring much more than that, and the Bucks could do well without his $10 million in salary over each of the next two years.
Chicago Bulls: Carlos Boozer
Even though the Bulls just signed Boozer, this is the one contract they probably would like to void because they really don’t have many bad contracts. When healthy, Boozer is the ideal pick-and-roll partner for Derrick Rose, and capable of being a 20-10 guy every night. The only problem is Boozer is frequently injured, and has missed 23 games already this season. So with four years left on his maximum deal, how healthy will he be going forward?