The summer of 2016 was a wild time in the NBA. The salary cap took a massive leap as the new national television contract kicked in and it left teams scrambling to hand out contracts to fill this new found cap space.
The result is some of the most bizarre contracts in NBA history, as there was never a better year to hit free agency as a middling player than in 2016. Teams that had legitimate stars come up for deals came out better than those that wanted to make a splash with a potential rising star because the misses in those cases are so spectacular.
Two of those misses came in the form of veterans who were once All-Stars in Chicago that each got the exact same deal from New York and Los Angeles respectively in Joakim Noah and Luol Deng. Both are essentially out of their teams’ rotation, particularly Deng who has played in one game this season for the Lakers, and both teams want to move on from their contracts. The problem is, no one wants to take on the money they are owed without landing a major asset as well because they still are under contract for two more years past this season.
The rumors of the Lakers and Knicks not being able to find anyone willing to trade for Deng and Noah got us thinking about what the worst deals from that summer of 2016 are now that we’re almost two years removed from those signings. As we found, there are a lot of contenders, but below you’ll find the ten worst as well as those that deserve honorable mention.
It’s important to note that a bad contract doesn’t necessarily correlate with a useless or bad player, but simply that the money doesn’t come close to matching up with the production levels of the player. It’s also not the fault of the player for taking a big contract, but that of management for offering it. As you’ll notice, the list is made up of all four or five-year deals with one exclusion. Teams wise enough to see that the cap jump would create long-term problems when handing out four-year deals avoided disaster by giving out some large two-year contracts instead and those are far less detrimental than those that will haunt teams until 2020.