Latest News, NBA / Mar 30, 2010 / 3:57 pm

Put The Money In the Bag: The 10 Biggest Thieves in the NBA

Eddy Curry (photo. NY Daily News)

To the surprise of no one, Eddy Curry told the New York Daily News this week that he’s NOT opting out of his contract this summer, setting himself up to make $11.2 million next season for — assuming he has a repeat of this season — doing just shy of nothing.

You know NFL players, who play a more dangerous sport yet can be cut loose without pay at a moment’s notice, must have a deep-seeded jealousy of NBA players and their guaranteed money. The current NBA system creates situations like Curry’s, where players who became useless years ago are still being paid like All-Stars. On one hand, you have to blame the owners/GM’s for making these ill-fated deals. On the other hand, you can’t help but look at the player like he’s stealing money.

In ranking the top 10 salary thieves in the League, we had to set some rules. If a guy is a regular starter who just happens to be having bad season (Richard Jefferson, Hedo Turkoglu), he doesn’t court. If he’s a key contributor who just happens to be hurt (Tyson Chandler, Yao Ming) or otherwise incapacitated (Gilbert Arenas), he doesn’t count either. And if the guy isn’t too far removed from being a legit star who earned a fat contract on merit before age/injuries caught up (KG, T-Mac), they get a break. This is for guys who wouldn’t get PT even if they were healthy, some of whom aren’t even on the teams that are paying them. The ones who have to hide a guilty grin whenever they get their check. Numbers reflect ’09-10 salary:

1. Mark Blount, Wolves, $7.9M — Even when he is playing, Blount exerts less energy than Phil Jackson on a game-by-game basis. As it is, the Wolves are basically paying him to make himself a stranger.

2. Marko Jaric, Grizzlies, $7.1M — The European version of Blount. He should be on the next season of “Househusbands of Hollywood.”

3. Eddy Curry, Knicks, $10.5M — It honestly feels bad to criticize Eddy because he’s been through so much trauma in his personal life, but the bottom line is he makes the most for doing the least of just about anybody in his profession.

4. Jerome James, Bulls, $6.6M — When Derrick Rose hurt his knee during a Bulls/Hawks game a few weeks ago, Jerome was called over by the assistants to help carry D-Rose off the court in case he needed it. So he’s not completely useless.

Larry Hughes

5. Darius Miles, Blazers, $9.0M — He only ranks this low because the Blazers were kind of shady about trying to have his knee injury declared “career-ending” to get out of paying him, even though D-Miles obviously still had some basketball left in him.

6. Larry Hughes, Knicks/Kings/Bobcats, $13.6M — Watching last night’s Bobcats/Raptors game, I saw Hughes on the Charlotte bench and didn’t believe what I’d seen. I had no idea he was on the team. After texting some friends and colleagues, I learned I wasn’t the only one who didn’t know Hughes was in Charlotte. How could multiple basketball people lose track of a guy who gets paid almost five times more than Brandon Roy?

7. Kenny Thomas, Kings, $8.5M — Billy King’s enduring legacy in the League. If the ex-Sixers GM was in charge of our national budget, the United States would’ve been bought out by North Korea eight years ago.

8. Brian Cardinal, Wolves/Knicks, $6.7M — The worst player in the NBA gets paid twice as much as Brian Scalabrine.

9. Bobby Simmons, Nets, $10.5M — At least he’s a good locker room guy and provides some veteran leadership for the Nets’ youngsters.

10. Shawne Williams, Nets, $2.4M — So are the checks being direct-deposited into his commissary account, or what? He could hook up the entire yard with cigarettes and toothpaste.

Who makes your list?

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  • JBaller

    NOte that there are three knicks or ex knicks players on the list, two of them signed by Isaiah…

  • franklin

    if you count past players: malik rose

  • control

    Keith Van Horn still being paid that one contract he got for being trade filler?

  • Heckler

    how about Rashard Lewis?
    $100 million decoy.
    …and when he does have a good game, he doesnt do shit for the 1st 3quarters

  • G

    The Sixers’ Jason Kapono. He’s making $6.2M this year and $6.4M next year. He plays 15 mpg (only slightly down from his career avg of 18mpg) and is scoring 4.8 ppg. WTF

  • Scoty

    Radmanovich could find his way onto this list pretty easily

  • G

    Check that he’s making $6.6 next year not 6.4. At least korver looked like Ashton kutcher.

  • Prof. TX

    Guaranteed contracts were a terrible idea. How many employers would hire you, and then let you give them the finger and slack off for years, without doing something about it?

    “We promise we’ll pay you, but you don’t have to promise to work hard, or even work at all.”

    For every one of these guys, there’s a D-league player out there who could do just as well for 10% of the cost.

  • Heckler

    assuming we CANNOT put Michael Redd and Andrei Kirilenko on the list (they would still play for teams in a regular rotation) what about some of these dudes:

    Vlady Radmanovic $6mil this year and $7 mil next year
    Matt Caroll $4mil this year and next year
    Reynaldo Balkman $2mil this year, $3mil next year
    Kwame Brown $4million this year
    Speedy Claxton $5mil
    Brandon Wright $over 9mil for the next 3yrs
    Adam Morrison $5mil this year and $6mil next year
    Lou Williams and Willy Green
    Marcus Banks $4mil this year and next year
    DeShawn Stevenson $4mil this year and $5mil next year

  • http://dime eyes

    I’d like to see a list of overpaid coaches,GM’s,execs,& scouts. All the suits that do such a horrible job of accessing talent. How many coaches are actually deserving of their salaries.

    Also how much does David Stern,Stu Jackson & the top shady officials make. Just an inquiry. People have no choice but to hate the players. Also whose the agents that proposed these horrible contracts. Also the NFL has no cap. I think the some money should be guaranteed & some should be based on performance. Allan Houston owes the Knicks some back along with LJ. Okafor owes some money back. Raymond Felton shouldn’t be payed starter money. A lot of big men are overpaid due to size. Calvin Booth & Bryant Reeves have to be worse to date.

    I think Mike DAntoni has to be one of the most overpaid coaches today. 25 million for however many seasons. If you can only coach stars. YOu have no business coaching in the league. Go back to Europe & lead your basketball style there. Pls take Gallo with you. He’d be a star over there. In the states he’s a sorry excuse for franchise player. Mike Bibby is also overpaid for being over the hill. When it’s over hang them up. Guys. Respect yourself & the game.

    I’d also like to know how much the most expensive seat in basketball is? How much are the courtside seats at all the major market teams with a star. Namely(L.A.,Cle,Mia,NY,Chi,HOuston)

  • http://dime eyes

    I have another question. What is the purpose of having someone in the DLeague that doesn’t stand a chance of moving up? Doesn’t that defeat the purpose of the league. Too many players are either to old or just bad. Yet due to their agent or network they’re allowed a roster spot. The starting salary in the DLeague is about 25 thousand. Who can possibly live off that. I’m sure everyone from the coaches & everyone else gets paid more than the players.

    Marcus Banks is absolutely the worse player in the league. (He was drafted in the 1st round) He may be better than Ricky Rubio. He scored his career in summer league in his 4th year. LOL.

    Why did Phil Jackson call Radmonovic a Space Cadet? I would have p’d myself if I were there. Phil is one sarcastic dude.

  • mouth

    ahahaaa. wasn’t jason kapono a raptors player (well i should probably know since i am a resident and he sank enough threes when we needed them but missed them when they counted)? we wouldn’t even give him 6 mill. what is he doing making 6 mill? why are people condoning these robberies. i blame the nba. i don’t blame the players laughing all the way to the bank really. i second the much needed list on overpaid coaches, gm’s, scouts, etc…i believe dimemag can set the record straight. do it please!

  • http://twitter.com/therealknowbody Mr. Brogden

    Curry – definitely. Despite some of the sadness surrounding him, he’s stealing megabux.

    Ben Grdon – is it me or did you expect more?

    Matt Caroll – I know guys on the blacktop who can hit the three better than him and give you a lil’ more for 4 million. Maybe 3,999,999 bux less.

    Charlie Villaueva – See Ben Gordon

    Adam Morrison – least he WANTS to earn it. He doesn’t wanna be a thief. Phil Jackson won’t let him be nothing else but one.

    DeShawn Stevenson – the reason why NBA should have walk-ons.

    Marcus Banks – See DeShawn Stevenson

    Kapono – I disagree he stealing money. He just aint being used right. See Eddie Jordan

    Eddie Jordan – smh

  • Nigel


    Lou Williams makes $5 mil a year. What is he stealing?

  • No Names Please

    @ Mr. Brogden

    Agree about with you about ben gordon, charlie v, and kapono.

    I can’t believe larry hughes is making that much. Ridiculous.

  • http://hoopsandrhymes.blogspot.com/ @no_row

    I don´t know what´s worse: Marco Jaric making $7.1 million while playing for Real Madrid in Spain (and making a couple more million euros) or Cuttino Mobley, making $10 million and not even stepping one foot inside an Arena this year.
    It should be unethical or inmoral (or whatever starting with a negative prefix) to pay any amount of money for someone who´s not going to provide a ‘real’ service for the franchise.. other than balancing books in trades.


  • Shogun

    Cardinal plays for the Timberwolves, not the Knicks.

  • down since the begining

    starting 5 of overpaid nba players today:
    C: Eddy Curry- $11,276,863
    PF: Jermaine O’neal- $22,995,000
    SF: Predrag Stojakovic- $14,202,000
    SG: Larry Hughes – $13,655,268
    PG: Gilbert Arenas – $16,192,080 ( what the fuck was the last thing he did that made you think he was a franchise player?)

  • Filipe

    I’d actually cut Hughes out of the list. He supposedly lose money when he accept the Kings buyout to sign in Charlotte and anyone that decides to lose money to play for a playoff team probably deserves a reprieve for such a list (I’m sure every Knicks will disagree).

  • Baby Huey

    What was shady about the Blazers handling of the Miles situation? They had an independent doctor evaluate the knee and he determined that Miles had a career ending injury.

    As far as Darius having “some basketball left in him”…is this a joke? He had just enough left in him that he was signed to a minimum contract by a horrible team and played just long enough to have his contract put back on the Blazers books. Since then he has not played at all and hasn’t even gotten a sniff from any team in this league or any other.

    So I ask, how were the Blazers the shady ones in this situation? How about Memphis being shady for signing Miles just to screw the Blazers cap space? Not to mention that they kept some other player from making that money that Darius would have been paid anyway.

  • Filipe

    I’m pretty sure Jaric left a lot of those 7m on the table when he took his buyout too (Real Madrid is playing im big money and spanish taxes are lighter so he is actually gettin paid more there than if he just show around in Memphis to pick his checks.


    larry hughes in on charlotte?

  • truth

    DARIUS MILES had NOTHING left. if he did, he’d still be around. classless move by a classless (and playoff team-less) city

  • http://www.blueballs.net Chicagorilla

    LMFAO@ the Shawne Williams line. That is fudging awsome

  • http://www.blueballs.net Chicagorilla

    I can see Shawn calling home now

    Operator – You have a collect call from…Shawne…do you accept?

    Wifey: No..um i mean Yes..

    Shawne: Hey boo, I need you to put like 50K on my books.

    wifey: Ain’t no mo

    Shawne: What you mean “Ain’t no mo’

    Wifey: Sh!t, what i said. AIN’T NO MO!

    Shawne: B!T#h i know you aint spent all my money. Wait till i get out, imma….

    wifey: You ain’t gone do $h!t
    Dial tone…..

  • sh!tfaced

    What about Rasheed Wallace?

    How the hell did he talk Danny Ainge into signing that old-ass, has-been, out-of-shape, half-hearted, shadow of the player he was for $18+ mil in 3 years.

    The only consistent skill he has left is getting techs, everything else is almost gone.

  • d

    I’m pretty sure that the Kings stupidly gave Kenny Thomas the contract he now has, not Billy King.

  • Beach Muscles

    No it was Billy King. Seven-year deal for Thomas, which he eventually used to trade for Chris Webber.

    As for D-Miles, that was kinda shady on the Blazers. They didn’t want to pay him so they wanted his knee declared career-ending, but obviously it wasn’t THAT bad because he was able to play for Memphis for a little bit.
    And why would Memphis care about screwing over Portland’s cap space?

  • K Dizzle

    I read this and was gonna pile on the overpaid scrubs in the l, but thinkin on how the Jets played Thomas Jones (who earned every cent) and how the Browns were even thinkin bout playin J Cribbs, I ma side with the thieves on this one. These owners ain’t losin money. Get it while you can. If u stupid enough to overpay for Curry, Jim McIlvaine, Jerome James based on a few good games, it’s on your management team. U can’t renegotiate your contract if u underpaid unless the team dealin in good faith or u try to sit out. I remember Scottie Pippen makin scrub bucks for a long time cuz the Bulls were cheap and were givin Mike like 30 mil and Scottie was playin for 4. It was something stupid like he was the 9th or 10th highest paid Bull.F**k ownership! You wanna pay me based on a few games then I get paid and slack, that’s on you. Obviously, it’s on personal pride for me to play up to and beyond the contract. The new CBA will give management a chance to fix some things. At least NBA rooks are paid on a scale that makes sense. NFL is bogus wit that

  • Raj S

    It’s funny that people hate on NBA players for getting paid so much damn money, but everyone fails to mention how much money NBA players are responsible for fattening up the wallets of their respective NBA team owners. The Clippers suck annually, but their owner always finds a way to BANK.

    Remember, it takes at least two to make a contract: the player AND the team. f you are going to throw hate around, at least be fair and do it to both sides.

  • dvs

    Nobody in their right mind would turn down a big ass contract even if they don’t deserve it. These players don’t deserve the money they get, but they got offered the money, so they took it.
    Last season you could have put AI at number 1, because he didn’t even try to earn his money.

  • hahns

    grant hill on the magic

  • RC


    ——– Just really hate how he plays right now ——

  • Baby Huey

    @ Beach Muscles

    Memphis wanted to keep Portland from having maximum cap space to keep them from signing big time free agents and making the team that much better. Remember, Memphis is competing with the Blazers and will do anything they can to keep Portland from becoming a dominant team.

  • TO

    He’s so off sometimes but I like some of the concepts.


  • @sofakingcool

    Blazers were not trying to not pay DMiles, they were trying to get his contract off of the Salary cap. This was a cap space move (the career ender) not a ‘we are not paying you’ move.

    Get the facts

  • collaboro

    marcus banks making 4 mill a season is a total joke..guy isnt even d league worthy..what a horrid contract.

  • Jesus

    Desagna Diop, anyone?

  • Knicksfan84

    LMAO, when i saw title today I was ROLLING!. Man this list is acccurate