The NBA has seen a spike in the salary cap the last two years. As a result, there have been several players who have benefitted from this rise. Some of these beneficiaries have been deserving while others have been at the right place at the right time.
Here is a look at my top-10 players with the worst contracts in the league.
Honorable Mention (no particular order):
- Steven Adams, Thunder: Owed $100 million through 2020-21
- Kyle Lowry, Raptors: Owed $93 million through 2019-2020
- Gorgui Dieng, Wolves: Owed $62.8 million through 2020-21
- Tristan Thompson, Cavs: Owed $52,408,695 through 2019-2020
- Tim Hardaway, Knicks: Owed $51,975,000 through 2020-21
10 Worst Contracts In The NBA Today
10. Mike Conley, Grizzlies: Owed $113,989,729 until 2020-21
Conley signed the largest contract in the NBA, until this summer, when he inked a five-year, $153 million pact in July 2016. He currently has the eighth most money owed to him and his per season salary ranks him among the eight highest paid players in each given year through 2020-21.
Conley is a star in Memphis and a borderline top-10 point guard overall. The most troubling of the money owed to him down the road is that he will be 34 when his contracts conclude. And he has a recent history of suffering major injuries. Conley has not played over 80 games since 2012-13. Plus, Conley is not great on the defensive end and will likely only get worse on that end of the court.
9. Nic Batum, Hornets: Owed $72,000,000 through 2020-21
Batum has been very valuable for the Hornets in his first two years with the team. He arguably played his best basketball of his career these past two seasons. Still, $72 million is a lot of money for a guy who has never been an all-star as well as for a wing who is not known as a three-point shooter.
Batum has the 24th most money owed to him over the remaining years of his contract. He is owed over $24.43 million, which is the 34th most, this season though he has yet to play. That number climbs each year before capping at $27.13 million in 2020-21 -- which would be the 18th highest salary that year.
8. Cristiano Felicio, Bulls: Owed $32,000,000 through 2020-21
Granted, Felicio does not own the worst contract in the world as it is just the 79th highest in the league. Which is the issue, although he wouldn’t be listed in this article if the contract concluded after the 2019-2020 campaign.
Felicio has really done nothing besides rebound. And he really hasn’t shown the ability to be much more than that. Saying all that, his per year salary is quite manageable as it never goes over $9 million year.
7. Ian Mahinmi, Wizards: Owed $48,055,846 through 2019-20
The Wizards rewarded Mahinmi, a career backup, handsomely after his lone season as a full-time starter with Indiana in the summer of 2016. The 31-year-old is a very good backup center who is serviceable as a spot starter. Not, $64 million over four years good though.
Mahinmi also has a history of injuries. He missed 51 regular season games last season as a result of various injuries. The $48 million that Mahinmi is owed is the 46th most in the league. The good news for the Wizards is that his salary slightly decreases the next couple of years.
6. Ryan Anderson, Rockets: Owed $61,264,634 through 2019-20
Anderson is very good at what he does. The problem is the only thing he does is spread the defense with his shooting. Therefore, his value does translate into being the 30th highest paid player in the league. Anderson, who will receive a modest increase in salary over the next two years, will be the 35th highest paid player in the league in 2019-20.
The Rockets have been trying to include the 29-year-old in trade packages but has not found any takers.
5. Timofey Mozgov, Nets: Owed $48,000,000 through 2019-20
Mozgov was probably the least deserving of the big money that was handed out two summers ago. At least, the Lakers were able to get out from under this awful contract and he is now Brooklyn’s problem.
The 7-1, 31-year-old has been efficient in his 13 appearances with the Nets this year. He is averaging 1.36 points per shot while posting career-highs in scoring efficiency and true shooting percentage.
4. Luol Deng, Lakers: Owed 54,000,000 through 2019-20
Deng is another player that benefitted from teams huge spending splurge in the summer of 2016 despite being 31 years old and coming off two straight seasons of failing to reach his career scoring average.
Deng had his worst season of his career last year.The two-time all-star has not played since the opening game of the season despite being healthy. The good news for the Lakers is that Deng is actively seeking a way out of Los Angeles via trade or buyout.
3. Joakim Noah, Knicks: Owed $55,590,000 through 2019-20
Look how far Noah has fallen. The Knicks made a huge mistake taking a risk on the former two-time all-star, who had played in just 97 games combined in the two seasons prior to signing a four-year,$72,590,000 contract last summer. Noah appeared in just 46 contests in 2016-17 and has yet to play this year while recently finishing out a 20-game ban.
The 32-year-old can still rebound with the best in the league and will always be a quality defender. While he was never a true threat offensively, teams had to respect his ability to put the ball in the hoop, however that has changed. Now Noah is only a semi-threat around the rim.
The $55.59 million is the 34th largest amount owed to a player. His salary of over $17.7 million, which ranks 54th in the league this year, jumps to over $19.29 million in 2019-200.
2. Chandler Parsons, Grizzlies: Owed $72,321,773 through 2019-2020
Poor Chandler, he has really gotten hammered for how he has performed. And while he definitely hasn’t played well the ill-will towards him is most likely the result of the massive contract he signed last summer.
It is not all Parsons fault either. Memphis deserves some blame for giving the 29-year-old a four-year, $96 million contract despite him never averaging over 17 points a game or playing in more than 77 games in a season.
Parsons, who is currently coming off the bench, has had multiple knee surgeries including one on his left knee last year that limited him to 31 games. This season, coach Dave Fizdale has restricted Parsons minutes as a result of those injuries. The 6-10 forward is averaging 7.7 points though he is shooting 48.0% from the field and 48.4% from beyond the arc through nine games this season.
Parsons is the 23rd highest paid player this year in the NBA at over $23.11 million.
1. Jrue Holiday, Pelicans: Owed $104,080,000 through 2022
I really like Jrue as a player and firmly believe in his abilities. But the facts are the facts, he is not a top-15 or even top-30 player in the Association, which is where his remaining salary would indicate him as he has the 10th highest salary going forward.
Holiday re-upped with the Pelicans this summer for more than $131.8 million over five years with all except $3.5 million guaranteed. Holiday set career-highs in field goal percentage and three-pointers per game as well as true shooting percentage last year.
Holiday will never be a $100 million player in terms of value but he was able to get the money, so good for him. He is currently struggling from three-point line and turnovers this year, shooting a career-low 22.9% from beyond the arc while committing 3.1 turnovers a game.
Holiday is the 14th highest paid player this year at over $26.686 million. He will get a slight bump the next three seasons. The 27-year-old point guard has a player option for the 2021-22 season ($27.02 million). If he picks up the option, which is a no-brainer, it would make him the eighth highest paid player that season (as of right now) as only 11 current players are under contract until 2022.