NBA Free Agency 2013: Top 10 Worst Contracts So Far

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May 21, 2013; Charlotte, NC, USA; NBA team owner Michael Jordan announces that the Charlotte Bobcats will change their name and branding to the Charlotte Hornets starting in the 2014 2015 season at Time Warner Cable Arena. Mandatory Credit: Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

Basketball is a game, the purpose of which is winning. The National Basketball Association, on the other hand, is a business, the purpose of which is making money. Needless to say, these goals do not always overlap.

In this year’s free agency we have already seen a proliferation of questionable contracts. Typically, these contracts overvalue one-dimensional roleplayers on the wrong side of 30. Depending on contract structure, salaries may actually increase annually even as their production slips. A few are young enough that that they are being paid for their potential, but their projected roles do not justify the expense

Not all bad contracts are created equal—they range from merely head-scratching to gag-inducing, especially if your team will sign the checks. Based on length and amount of the contract, age at the end of the contract,  similarly compensated peers, expected rank on the depth chart, last year’s salary and last year’s statistics, these are the 10 worst contracts handed out this offseason (so far, anyway.) Note: the average NBA salary in 2012-2013 was $5.15M.

(Salaries courtesy of

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Tags: Atlanta Hawks Charlotte Bobcats Dallas Mavericks Denver Nuggets Detroit Pistons Golden State Warriors Indiana Pacers Milwaukee Bucks Minnesota Timberwolves NBA Free Agency New Orleans Hornets New Orleans Pelicans Oklahoma City Thunder Portland Trail Blazers Sacramento Kings

  • Perry Woods

    Compared to their first 14 years in the NBA, Charlotte is fairly well turned off to the NBA. 9 years of front office “mistakes”, sounds nicer than “incompetence” doesn’t it? The team needs to show Charlotte that they are on the right track. Even the media was saying it will be hard to lure anyone to Charlotte, given the team’s history so, Paying Jefferson a little more, assuming he can help the team achieve respectability now does not make his contract one of the 10 worst. It just makes Jefferson lucky. The cats absolutely need to show noticeable improvement this year if they ever expect to dig themselves out of the hole they dug for themselves over the past decade. I believe they’ve gone a long way toward gathering the tools they need to do just that. if successful, the fans will be back in droves, especially next year when the Hornets nickname returns to the queen city. The Bobcats can afford the extra 3 million this year so I can’t see how anyone would call it a bad contract unless Jefferson takes a 3 hour nap during every game. The only thing that really could make it a bad contract other than a surprising lack of performance would be if the performance is so good the Cats play themselves out of the lottery and miss the chance to add a franchise player to the roster. Then again, I can think of worse problems to have As I prefer “teams” to “franchise players”, that doesn’t seem such a bad alternative.