The NBA is back! It seems like we just got done with Golden State's magical 2017 postseason run, going 16-1, and slashing up the competition. Then, we had an eventful summer in free agency. Big stars like PG-13, Kyrie, IT, Jimmy Butler, and others were traded, while other giant superstars like 'Melo, Wade, and Rose, signed with super teams. We even have now have the Kardashians of the NBA with the Ball family breaking into the league. We could also be seeing LeBron's final season in Cleveland, as there are some strong hints that he's going to be leaving to play in Los Angeles as a Laker come next season.
So many exciting storylines to follow, but one that often gets ignored are these players' salaries. More specifically whether or not they deserve several million dollars, and some that sign for less to keep their team intact. If I was to ask you who was the highest paid player in the 2016-17, who would you say? LeBron? Curry? Well you are wrong, it's none other than Mike Conley Jr.! Surprised? See if he makes our list of eight NBA players who will make way too much money this year and seven who are underpaid.
15 Overpaid: Joakim Noah - $18 million
Joakim Noah, the scrappy center who used to shut down the paint in Chicago, is tanking in the Big Apple. Last year, the former Florida Gator signed a four-year, $72.6-million contract prior to the 2016-17 season. What were the Knicks thinking? He is way past his prime! Just another reason Phil Jackson was fired.
The New York Knicks are pretty much in full rebuilding mode now. They dumped former All-Stars Derrick Rose and Carmelo Anthony in the offseason, and brought in much younger talent. Noah doesn't fit this mold, soI highly doubt he will be on the team for much longer. He only put up 5.0 ppg and 8.8 rpg in 2016, numbers that don't match his nearly $18-million yearly salary. Clearly, Noah is extremely overpaid!
14 Underpaid: Giannis Antetokounmpo - $22.5 million
The Greek Freak is exactly that, an absolute freak! Every year in the NBA, the guy has increased every major stat. Do you understand what that means? He is going to be the best at everything in just a few years. Points? Improving. Assists? Improving. Rebounds? Improving?. How the hell is this even possible? Giannis is now the face of international players in the USA (move over Dirk!).
Despite these amazing numbers, the Milwaukee Bucks All-Star is only set to make about $22.5 million this year. That's clearly not enough for someone that is constantly improving and arguably a top-5 player in the league. Give him the max contract, give him the keys to the city, give him Wisconsin while you're at it (he would have to share it with Aaron Rodgers though). This kid is a must watch in 2017-18!
13 Overpaid: Victor Oladipo - $21 million
Oladipo, the former Indiana Hoosier, is getting some All-Star money right now, and completely underperforming. In 2017-2018, he will make $21 million. That's crazy for a guy who has never been the star of his team! Now, Oladipo is out at OKC with the chaos that was the PG-13 trade, and is expected to be the man with the Pacers. Luckily, that's where Oladipo played his college ball, so hopefully he can make an impact. But with only averaging just under 16 points per game, his offensive productions needs to jump this year.
The Pacers, on their current pace, look like they will be a lottery pick for 2018, but who knows, Oladipo could surprise us all. But, all the evidence points to him being overpaid!
12 Underpaid: Kemba Walker - $12 million
Mark my words, Kemba is the next big thing. I've been saying this for years. The ex-UConn star is rising to the ranks of greatness in the NBA. In the 2016-17 season, he averaged 23.2 ppg and 5.5 apg, and even made his first All-Star team. With the addition of Dwight Howard in the offseason, the Charlotte Hornets are poised to make a run in the playoffs this year if they can stay healthy.
But, Walker is grossly underpaid. At a salary of only $12 million, Kemba is playing like a max-contract guy. Now, he hasn't consistently proved his greatness, but if he has another solid year, he will get his money soon. Hopefully, Kemba puts up another All-Star season, and he won't stay as a underpaid for very long.
11 Overpaid: Chandler Parsons - $23 million
Come on, Memphis! Why the hell did you give Chandler Parsons so much dough? Before the 2016-17 season, Parsons received a contract from the Grizzlies for four years, and roughly $94 million. But soon, the signing backfired. Who would have ever thought that a guy fighting injuries throughout his career would yet again fight another injury? He only played in 34 games in the 2016-17 season, averaging 6.7 points per game, and only 4.0 rebounds per game.
During the 2017-18 season, Parsons is set to make just over $23 million. Just an absolutely ridiculous number for Parsons, who can't seem to stay on the court. Without Randolph or Allen, I think the Grizzlies won't make the playoffs in a tough Western Conference. Mainly because Parsons is grossly overpaid!
10 Underpaid: Avery Bradley - $8.8 Million
Avery Bradley was an unsuspecting victim of the Celtics signing Gordon Hayward. Boston had to dump someone's salary in order to clear up some room to sign the Utah Jazz star. Head coach Brad Stevens is happy that he is united with his college superstar at Butler, but the Celtics lost a key piece of their puzzle in Bradley.
Now on the Pistons, Bradley is set to rake in $8.8 million in 2017-18. Bradley is a solid shooter (16.3 ppg and 6.1 rpg) and an elite defender, so Detroit got a steal (pun very much intended)! We will see how far they make it this in a weak eastern conference, but with the Bradley addition, some of their flaws have been sured up, and they should be playing late into May.
9 Overpaid: Ryan Anderson - $19.5 million
Ryan Anderson originally seemed like a perfect fit for D'Antoni's high powered, pick-and-roll offense in Houston. He's a big man, stretch power forward, who waits beyond the arc to jack up threes after Harden dribble penetrates. The problem is that he has difficulties guarding true power forwards due to his lack of quickness and strength. Good thing Houston puts up 120 points a game, because in a pure half-court game, they would get torched.
In 2017-18, Anderson is set to make $19.5 million. That is a crazy salary for someone that put up nearly 14 ppg and 5 rpg in 2016-17. One of the biggest flaws with Anderson's compensation is that it made it hard for the Rockets to free up cap space to bring in 'Melo in the offseason, a deal that everyone thought was inevitable. Eventually 'Melo was dealt to the Thunder, and the Rockets were left high and dry. We will see how this season plays out, but Anderson surely is overpaid!
8 Underpaid: Markieff Morris - $8 million
Coming in at only $8 million, Morris is one of the most underrated (and underpaid) forwards in the NBA. When Morris is actually playing, he can spot up behind the arc and hit the deep shot, or post-up undersized and unathletic forwards in the paint.
One big issue that has plagued Morris throughout his career is his emotional problems. He seems to be extremely immature, getting technical fouls at inopportune times and complaining his way up and down the court. This past offseason, Morris was found innocent (along with his twin brother Marcus) in an alleged 2015 assault of one of their former mentors, Eric Hood. Hopefully, the kid grows up and matures, because he is surely a force to contend with in Washington.
7 Overpaid: Luol Deng - $17.2 million
Deng proved to be a solid performer during his time with Chicago and Miami, but the Sudanese-born forward did not live up to expectations in Los Angeles. Before the 2016-17 season, Deng received a four-year, $72 million contract from the Lakers. Unfortunately, without Kobe, the Lakers stunk it up, and tanked on purpose at the end of the past season. Deng averaged 7.6 points and 5.3 rebounds per game, but couldn't help the Lakers, because they couldn't help themselves.
At the end of last season, they pretty much benched Deng because they wanted a higher draft pick. The Lakers obviously picked up Lonzo Ball in the draft, and even won the Summer League title. With Magic at the helm in L.A., Deng will probably be off the team at the end of this year to clear up cap-space for big time free agents in the 2018 offseason.
6 Underpaid: DeMarcus Cousins - $18 million
Boogie is a beast. Once you fight past all of his technical fouls and childish tendencies, you can't hide the fact that he is one of the best big men in the league. In 2017, Cousins was traded from the Sacramento Kings to the New Orleans Pelicans to join fellow big man, Anthony Davis, in the Big Easy. With addition of seasoned point guard, Rajon Rondo, and defensive specialist, Tony Allen, the Pelicans seemed poised to make a run in a tough Western Conference this upcoming season.
But, this articles is about players who are underpaid, and no matter how much you give Boogie, it probably isn't enough. The former Kentucky Wildcat is set to make just over $18 million this year. The guy averaged a double-double and even was putting up good numbers on assists too. New Orleans, if you want to lock up your future, pay the man!
5 Overpaid: J.J. Redick - $23 million
The J.J. Redick signing in Philadelphia baffles me. You have a young team led by Embiid, Fultz, and Simmons, with several great shooters, why bring in a waste of talent like Redick? Okay, so the former Blue Devil star has made a living for the Clippers, despite haters like myself, but for $23 million? He's making more than DeMarcus Cousins! I think there are several other veterans that could have come in and helped out more for a lot less..
In 2017, Redick averaged 15 ppg on an astounding 42.9% from behind the arc. Clearly, the guy is a weapon, but his defense and all-around game are not there, making him a bad buy for the 76ers. It's only a one-year deal and Philadelphia knows they threw down too much money in the process, but that doesn't mean he shouldn't make the list of overpaid players, right?
4 Underpaid: Kawhi Leonard - $19 million
Give him the world! Kawhi is a monster! At this pace, a sure-fire first ballot hall of famer. But since he is a humble dude, who doesn't make noise outside the court, he makes a meager $19-million a year. Compared to the two players who finished in front of him in the MVP voting in 2017, Harden and Westbrook, who both have max contracts, the Spurs have a steal with Leonard.
It's no doubt that Kawhi is a top three player in the game. Over the course of his career, he has slowly developed his mid-range game and become better on the offensive side of the ball. Not only does he now score over 25 points per game, he is a lockdown defender that can run with the best of them. Unfortunately, he hurt his ankle in last years playoff run and the Spurs couldn't get to the finals.
3 Overpaid: Pau Gasol - $16 million
Let's all be honest, Gasol is way past his prime. In his day, Gasol was a beast on the elbow. Sometimes, he moved down to the block, but that 6-8 ft. bank shot was his go to. In the 2016-17 season, Gasol put up decent numbers in the regular season, about 12 points and 8 rebounds per game. But, when it came down to the long-run in the playoffs, Gasol struggled mightily. He couldn't defend, and his old age doesn't match the fast-paced style of today's NBA.
That all being said, the 37-year-old Spaniard is raking in $16 million this year. The Spurs need to part ways with the big man and free up some cap-space for free agency, mainly to get some help for Leonard. Even though he is a six-time All-Star, Gasol is grossly overpaid!
2 Underpaid: Kevin Durant - $25 million
Other than handling Twitter trolls with burner accounts, Kevin Durant is a top-3 player in the NBA. Last year with his new team, he averaged about 25-8-4. Oh yeah, did I mention the Warriors won the championship and KD was the Finals MVP. The guy should be getting paid the max salary, plus more. He is indispensable to this team, and will most likely win another championship in 2018 if he stays healthy.
The only thing is that Durant is making well below the max contract at $25 million per year. Obviously, he wants to keep the core of the team intact, allowing for the support players to take a home a little bit extra. But clearly, Durant is the most underplayed player on this list.
1 Overpaid: Timofey Mozgov - $15 million
Drumroll, please...and the most overpaid player in the NBA is...well, I guess you already read his name, this is anticlimactic; Timofey Mozgov. Now on the Brooklyn Nets, somehow, Mozgov was able to grab a huge deal worth over $15 million a year with the Los Angeles Lakers. I don't know who was signing the checks in L.A., but they were clearly delusional at the time. I mean, they just dumped Mozgov's contract onto the Nets in order to send D'Angelo Russell there.
Maybe he will see some more playing time with Brooklyn, especially with Lopez gone and Brooklyn's owner being a fellow Rusci, but I cannot believe he is making that much money. Mozgov only average 7 points and 5 rebounds last year! I cannot say this enough, he is the most overpaid player in the NBA!