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Free Agency, NBA / Jul 10, 2013 / 5:00 pm

The 20 Worst NBA Contracts Ever

Stephon Marbury

Stephon Marbury

Today marks the end of the NBA’s self-imposed moratorium, which means all the rumored signings and trades can now become official. (July 1 marked when teams could start talking to free agents and come to terms on handshake deals.) Free agency is one of the most exciting parts of the NBA offseason; fans watch anxiously to see what new players may soon suit up for them. However, general managers and front offices don’t always make smart choices. Through the years, there were signings that either at first glance or in retrospect had many scratching their heads in confusion. Lets take a look at the 20 worst free agent signings in NBA history. (WARNING: Knicks fans may not want to read on)

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VIN BAKER (Sonics: seven years, $86.7 million)
Following the first four years of his career, Vin Baker looked like a quality power forward, capable of getting 20 points and 10 rebounds in any game. In 1997, the Seattle Supersonics traded for Baker and awarded him with a brand new contract as well. However, during his five seasons in Seattle he would never average 20 points or 10 rebounds again. In fact, Baker’s career was sadly derailed by his bout with alcoholism.

STEPHON MARBURY (Knicks: four years, $76 million)
The first of many bad decisions made by then GM Isiah Thomas was re-signing Stephon Marbury after acquiring him from Phoenix the season before. After an initial foray into the playoffs, which concluded in a first round loss, the Knicks failed to make the playoffs again during the final four years of Marbury’s contract. Marbury would ultimately be out of the NBA for good following a failed 2008-09 season with the Boston Celtics.

TRAVIS KNIGHT (Celtics: seven years, $22 million)
Rick Pitino‘s climb from college coach to NBA coach wasn’t pretty and the signing of Travis Knight is one of the reasons why the transition didn’t go too well. After a rookie season where Knight averaged 4.8 points and 4.5 rebounds per game, the Celtics tossed $22 million his way in hopes he would be their man in the middle for years to come; yet years turned into a year. Knight only wore Celtic green for one season, where his numbers only slightly improved to 6.5 points and 4.9 boards.

PENNY HARDAWAY (Suns: seven years, $87 million)
Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway was one of the best and most polarizing players in the NBA during his time with the Orlando Magic. An athletic 6-7 point guard, Hardaway had his way in the league and at the height of his career, posted averages of 21.7 points, 7.1 assists, 2.0 steals and 4.3 rebounds a night. However, in the 1999 offseason, the Phoenix Suns offered a behemoth of a contract to Penny even though his best days were behind him. A knee injury in 1997 lingered on until he ultimately needed microfracture surgery during the 2000-2001 season. He would only play in 202 out of a possible 328 games as a Sun.

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  • Celts Fan

    Man Rashard Lewis may be the worst after Koncak and he didn’t make the list? Wow.

    Hughes is way up there too. They missed out on Ray Allen and Ohio-native Michael Redd as legit #2s for LeBron so they reached hard for an athletic defensive specialist that could “play three positions” even though he couldn’t pass or shoot.

  • The Starkman

    the Brian Cardinal Sweepstakes LOL shocked that didn’t make the list.

  • Chris Callihan

    Yea, Lewis has to be on here, his contract is one of the first one’s I thought of when I read the title of this post

  • AustinBurton206

    Now let’s get an article about the 20 best contracts. I see too many of these “worst contract” pieces all over the place.

  • Brion

    If anyone remembers the Sonics signed ( shoot I can’t even remember his name)…a white 7 footer with a ridiculous contract that pissed off Shawn Kemp so bad he bailed to Cleveland..I think his name was Macivane? Anyone?

  • AustinBurton206

    Jim McIlvaine. He’s infamous up here in Seattle. He was Gheorge Muresan’s backup on the Bullets/Wizards and averaged 1-point-something blocks as a backup, so he had some crazy per-36-minute numbers. Basically the Sonics thought, “Well if he was a starter he’d be blocking like 4 shots a game!” and gave him a big contract. Kemp was already irritated, as he’d been looking for the Sonics to re-do his deal or give him an extension (I don’t remember every detail since I was a kid and not all into the business of sports yet) and pay him like a superstar and they wouldn’t do it, so the McIlvaine signing really upset him. He sulked all through that next season, which led to the Cavs trade.

  • Leon Smith

    “Larry Hughes was given a lucrative deal in an effort to make him the Robin toLeBron James’ Batman… and people wonder why King James bolted for South Beach as quickly as he could.”

    LeBron lobbied the Cavs to sign Hughes.

  • User1988

    Splinters, not splitters.

  • User1988

    Splinters, not splitters.

  • douglas blane

    What about Juwan Howard? The quintesential scorer on a bad team. Never, ever lived up to his potenial. A seven-year contract was worth $105 million. Best year averaged 22.1 a game

  • douglas blane

    What about Juwan Howard? The quintesential scorer on a bad team. Never, ever lived up to his potenial. A seven-year contract was worth $105 million. Best year averaged 22.1 a game

  • Chris Callihan

    Didn’t know he got that contract…wow

  • Nar Diamonds

    What about Biedrins? I believe 6 years/ 54 Mil

  • Jeremy Bussert

    I roofed that guys house (jim mcllvaine) he is tall as f$#@. In wisconsin outside Sheboygan

  • Josh Tufts

    It’s more fun with the worst.

  • Josh Tufts

    That’s why I never listen when people do those per 36 mins stats. They don’t mean anything. It over values every player in the league.

  • Josh Tufts

    Was the NBAs first $100 million player