Remember last summer, amid the NBA‘s salary-cap explosion, when there was almost no such thing as a bad contract?
Welcome back to reality.
The league’s cap boon has leveled off, suddenly and substantially, and teams are now left dealing with the fallout. Last year’s position of strength has, in essence, regressed into one of weakness. Certain good deals are blah. Justifiable agreements have no defense. Bad contracts look worse. And inexcusable pacts are simply crippling.
This is 2017.
In honor of the NBA’s cap climate tumbling back down to Earth, it’s only right we re-evaluate the worst deals at every position.
Positional designations were determined using Basketball-Reference’s play-by-play data and confirmed by looking at NBA.com’s lineup numbers. Remember: These contracts are viewed from a team’s perspective alone. They are not clearance-rack deals a player should regret; they’re ones that have incited buyer’s remorse.
Expiring agreements are not eligible for inclusion, because we’re not trying to be aimlessly cute. LeBron James’ deal isn’t bad just because he can opt out and leave the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2018. Don’t overthink this.
Overpriced long-term pacts are the focus. They will be ranked according to length and remaining balance relative to a player’s potential trade market (or lack thereof) and on-court value now through the life of the deal. Someone like Andrew Nicholson, for instance, doesn’t make the cut, because the three years and $19.9 million remaining on his contract don’t destroy a team’s cap sheet and won’t take much sweetening to offload.