With the ability to see into the future still nothing more than a fantasy, NBA owners are going to have to continue basing their decisions on the reliance of their front office personnel when it comes to signing new players or rookies.
No one knows what is going to happen when a player signs with a new team but it is even tougher to figure them out when handed a big time contract. And since 2010, NBA teams have found ways to waste money by signing players that fooled them into thinking they were about to explode, they were going to recover from an injury, or they would going to have a comeback in a new location.
There are many different reasons why teams sign players for ridiculous money, even before they have proven themselves worth the cost, but the biggest reason is competition. If teams are competing over a free agent, the bidding process can run up the cost for a player that deserves far less. Combine that with fair market value, and the influx of cash in the NBA in 2016, and you wind up with a massive list of overpaid regrets that each and every NBA team has since 2010.
Here are every team's biggest signing regret since 2010, and we begin with the rebuilding Atlanta Hawks.
30 Atlanta Hawks: Dwight Howard (2016)
Less than a year after signing a three-year deal with the Atlanta Hawks for $70.5 million dollars, Dwight Howard was traded, along with a second round pick, to the Charlotte Hornets for a couple players and a second round draft pick.
It was Surprising when it happened at the time but it was long overdue according to his former Atlanta teammates, who were believed to be overjoyed when he was shipped out of town. There were many problems within the locker room and it all came down to Dwight Howard's inconsistent playing. He is not reliable to play hard, night after night, or keep that same energy throughout an entire game, even when he isn't getting the rock.
It seems like a trail of tears that follows Howard throughout his career making all the stories seem likely to be true that he really is a player detrimental to a locker room.
29 Boston Celtics: Keith Bogans (2013)
As part of a sign-and-trade deal with the Brooklyn Nets, Keith Bogans signed a deal for three-years that was worth $15.6 million, which would have paid him a little over $5 million per season. His leadership and experience was brought in to help control the young locker room.
But just six games into the season, that all changed. Keith Bogans wound up barely playing little time. It was dreadfully obvious that things were finished and that his career could be ending for an ending.
Sure enough, he would never play in the NBA again and the 2013-14 NBA season would end up being his last.
28 Brooklyn Nets: Gerald Wallace (2012)
Gerald Wallace grew into a reliable forward that helped led the Charlotte Bobcats for many seasons before heading to Portland and Brooklyn. But his biggest problem was when the Brooklyn Nets decided to give him $40 million over four years to play with them. He ended up having the worst season since 2003 and his averages were cut in half.
He went from being a 15.2 points per game scorer into a 7.7 point scorer. His rebounds and percentages all took a massive hit and it left the Nets paying a $10 million per year contract to a player that was not coming close to earning it.
His performance would lead to his eventually departure from the Nets in 2013 when he was traded to the Boston Celtics.
27 Charlotte Hornets: Nicolas Batum 2016)
When the Charlotte Hornets were looking to sign Nicolas Batum to a long-term deal, they knew they were going to have to pay big money to convince him to stay with a mediocre team. But what they did next, shocked the world.
In the summer of 2016, the Hornets signed Batum for $120 million over five years, instantly becoming the eight biggest contract in the NBA that year. His contract continues to be among the highest in the league, even after all of the new extensions and max contracts being signed.
For comparison, he has a larger contract than James Harden, Rudy Gobert, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kyrie Irving, Kawhi Leonard, Jimmy Butler, Victor Oladipo, and so many more names it would blow your mind.
26 Chicago Bulls: Mike Dunleavy (2015)
The Chicago Bulls must have seen something between 2013 and 2015 to justify them spending $14.5 million dollars for a three-year extension in 2015. However, his numbers continued to decline as well as his playing time as he battled a back injury which ended up keeping him off the court most of the season.
He wound up being assigned to the Santa Cruz Warriors, a G-League team owned by the Golden State Warriors. It was done so he could practice for a few games before returning to the Bulls a few days later. He returned and became nothing more than a benchwarmer so he wound up being traded a few months later.
He played 31 games of his three-year deal with the Bulls before being shipped to Cleveland.
25 Cleveland Cavaliers: Jarrett Jack (2013)
In 2012, Jarrett Jack became a superstar from the bench and wound up finishing third in the NBA's Sixth Man of the Year voting. He was one of the few point guards in the league that was as reliable as death and taxes. He has become a journeyman in the NBA but has almost always been a producer wherever he wound up.
However, after signing a four-year, $25.2 million deal with the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2013, he spent just one year before being traded to the Brooklyn Nets as part of a deal to free up some salary cap space. The original deal seemed to be a great move for the Cavs but after he put up the lowest numbers in three years, he became expendable.
Thanks to LeBron James, Kevin Love, and Kyrie Irving, the Cleveland Cavaliers have not had many signings that they considered a regret due to the cost.
24 Dallas Mavericks: Dwight Powel (2016)
After being selected 45th overall in the 2014 NBA Draft, Dwight Powell spent the first seven months of his career becoming a nomad. He was originally drafted by the Charlotte Hornets but was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers two weeks later. He then joined the Cavaliers summer league team and preceded to play for the next two months before signing with the Cavs in late August.
A month later, he was part of a deal that sent him to the Boston Celtics, along with multiple other players, and was sent down to the NBA Development League. By December 18th, he was once again traded, but this time, he was heading to the Dallas Mavericks, where he would remain.
But he spent a few seasons showing us his talents but never being able to harness them into a consistent stretch. The Mavericks signed him for $37.3 million over four years because of the potential he has and what he can become one day.
23 Denver Nuggets: Darrell Arthur (2016)
If you needed one example of how the NBA's influx of cash in 2016 caused many franchise's to severely overpay for players, than look at Darrell Arthur and his three-year deal with the Denver Nuggets that was worth $23 million.
He signed a deal that might seem small but compared to what he has done throughout his career, it was a monster contract that he has yet to live up to. In fact, he has spent most of his time in Denver and has never played better than the season before he signed that deal.
Even then, he was only averaging 7.5 points and 4.2 rebounds per game. Those numbers apparently led to a deal that could cause the Nuggets salary cap problems next summer.
22 Detroit Pistons: Jon Leuer (2016)
The deal that the Detroit Pistons put together for power forward Jon Leuer in 2016 remains one of the most puzzling deals we have ever seen. Unlike the Darrell Arthur contract, Jon Leuer's deal was for four years and was valued at $42 million dollars.
He makes about $10 million per season and is nothing more than a backup that averages 16.3 minutes a game while averaging 6.6 points and 3.9 rebounds. The Pistons were desperate for a big man that could defend in the low post and must have thought Jon Leuer was going to be that guy coming off the bench.
Halfway through his deal, however, he has continued to struggle and has watched all of his numbers nearly cut in half each of the last three years.
21 Golden State Warriors: Andre Iguodala (2017)
The Golden State Warriors need to save all the money they can if they want to keep players like Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant, and Draymond Green for the foreseeable future. So when they signed Andre Iguodala in 2017 to a three year deal worth $48 million, it shocked many fans and sports analysts.
His value was well worth the contract a few years ago, not today. Today, he does very little on the court and is averaging career lows in points, rebounds, and steals while playing 23.3 minutes a night. At 35 years of age, he might be waiting for a chance at grabbing another couple of NBA rings before calling it a career.
But to give him almost $50 million to sit on the bench and cheer on his teammates, that means he could end up being released by next summer when they need to start signing their superstars.
20 Houston Rockets: Ryan Anderson (2016)
The Orlando Magic saw what they had in Ryan Anderson but failed to use him properly. They unloaded him after the 2011-12 season, which became his breakout year, for nothing more than the New Orleans Pelicans Gustavo Ayon. The trade landed the Pelicans with one of the NBA's hottest shooting big men but he sustained from multiple injuries and a personal tragedy that shocked us all.
So when it was time to become a free agent, he received an offer from the Houston Rockets that was worth $80 million dollars for four years. It was tough to turn it down and he immediately signed the deal and moved to Texas.
Two years into the deal, he wound up being shipped off to the Phoenix Suns and looks as if he might end up heading towards retirement very soon.
19 Indiana Pacers: Monta Ellis (2015)
Without taking his rookie season into account, Monta Ellis averaged 20.3 points, 5 assists, 3.6 rebounds, and 1.8 steals per game until he got to Indiana in 2015. After they signed him to a four-year deal at $44 million dollars, he paid them back by having his worst two years of his career since his second season.
He got progressively worse in the first two years of his deal with the Pacers and ended up being waived in the summer of 2017 using a stretch provision that allows them to pay him just $11.2 million over the next five years instead of having to give him double that for two.
His shooting failed him and caused him to become a bigger liability than an asset. That was all the motivation the Pacers needed to make the decision.
18 Los Angeles Clippers: Spencer Hawes (2014)
Most of these deals seem a bit odd from the moment they are official but this one actually made sense when they offered it in 2014. The Clippers were in need of a big man that they could use to back up DeAndre Jordan and give him much needed rest. So they ended up slightly overpaying for a 7'1" power forward from Seattle, Washington named Spencer Hawes.
The long-haired big man was able to string together a couple of good seasons before signing with the Clippers. But once he got his $22.7 million deal, he let his numbers drop in half, in just one season.
After just one year, he was traded to Charlotte where he was later sent to Milwaukee before ending his career after 2017.
17 Los Angeles Lakers: Timofey Mozgov (2016)
One of the worst contracts ever belongs to the Los Angeles Lakers after they signed a guy named Timofey Mozgov, who became famous for playing with LeBron James in Cleveland. They offered him a four-year contract worth $64 million and he signed it before the ink was even dry. He won the lottery and knew it.
At the time, his contract would have paid him $4 million more per season than Stephen Curry was making, before he signed his max deal not long after it. In other words, the Lakers were drunk and made one of the biggest goofs in NBA history. They shipped him across the country to Brooklyn the next season.
16 Memphis Grizzlies: Chandler Parsons (2016)
At what point did Chandler Parsons turn into the NBA's next big superstar? Who is responsible for driving up the value of his game which turned him into one of the highest paid players in the entire league.
For a guy who has never averaged more than 16.6 points, 5.5 rebounds, and four assists per game for a season, it is surprising to see that he makes more money than Kawhi Leonard, Jimmy Butler, Kyrie Irving, John Wall, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, and another 40 guys who could run circles around Parsons.
Yet, the Grizzlies thought they had something special but all they wound up with was a guy who has played 73 games over the past three seasons with Memphis. Oh, and he has not averaged more than 7.9 points per game in any of those years.
15 Miami Heat: Kelly Olynyk (2017)
The NBA has so much cash right now that teams have had issues trying to sign players for their actual value. Instead of signing a player like Kelly Olynyk for his true value, which would be around $22-$26 million over four years, they end up signing him for $50 million over four-years instead or he will go somewhere else.
Kelly Olynyk is a seven-footer that can shoot from all over the court, especially from the outside, but has never been able to land somewhere where he can become a star and really shine.
Miami thought it would be South Beach but after a season and a half, he continues to display mediocrity and underperform based on the contract he signed in 2017.
14 Milwaukee Bucks: Greg Monroe (2015)
When Greg Monroe became a free agent after the 2014-15 NBA season, he was made several offers but only one of them was so irresistible that he could not pass it up.
The Milwaukee Bucks offered him $51.4 million over three-years, making him one of the top earning centers in the NBA back then. So he signed it and had a great first season, averaging 15.3 points, 8.8 rebounds, and 2.3 assists. But something happened and Jason Kidd decided to turn him into a role player, coming off the bench instead of starting.
That move led to his decline and eventual trade to the Phoenix Suns during the final year of his deal.
13 Minnesota Timberwolves: Kevin Martin (2013)
The only thing Kevin Martin can do is score points. He does not play defense, he cannot pass the ball, and he is not strong enough to get near the basket and grab rebounds. The only thing he can do is provide you with 20 points per game.
That is still a valuable commodity in the NBA and many teams are willing to excuse the lack of all the other aspects as long as he can drop 20 or more points per game. The biggest downside to Kevin Martin's game is that he was never a winner. He was always worried about scoring and not so much winning, as evident by his career path.
So that four-year, $27.8 million dollar deal he signed with the Minnesota Timberwolves, might sound like a bargain but turned out to be a bigger problem than anything else.
12 New Orleans Pelicans: Omer Asik (2015)
The New Orleans Pelicans traded for Omer Asik during the summer of 2014, knowing they would have to re-sign him the following offseason. So they did just that and gave him $58 million over five-years.
But they made the move after he spent his first season scoring 7.3 points and 9.8 rebounds per game. Those are not the type of numbers that should warrant a big contract.
The year after they signed him, he began to rapidly decline and eventually became a huge liability with a massive $10 million per season salary cap issue. No one would take on his contract until they were finally able to unload him as part of the Nikola Mirotic deal with the Chicago Bulls.
11 New York Knicks: Joakim Noah (2016)
Joakim Noah's game was never pretty. He was never the guy you would look for when needing the game-winning shot. He was great at defending and finding any way he could to contribute and help his team win games. He would make big blocks, steals, and protect the rim on offense which led to many second chances on offense.
As his career progressed, he also added another element that went unnoticed. He became a passer that averaged as many as 5.4 assists per game in a season, in 2013-14. He was a fighter that could get under the skin of his opponents and use psychology to get them off their game.
But in 2016, he was 31 years old and was coming off a pretty rough injury. So it was a surprise to see the Knicks offer him $73 million for four-years, knowing he would probably struggle to make it the full contract.
10 Oklahoma City Thunder: Alex Abrines (2016)
When the Oklahoma City Thunder entered the 2013 NBA Draft, they had multiple picks as a result of the James Harden trade. One of their biggest gapping needs was for a reliable scoring guard that could help replace the offensive power left behind from Harden. So they went after Alex Abrines, a talented 19-year old from Spain that was already becoming a star for the FC Barcelona Basquet.
Even though he was drafted by Oklahoma City, he chose to stay in Europe and he spent the next three years playing in Spain before finally deciding to sign with the Thunder in 2016. The deal was just $17.2 million over three years but he has yet to provide any return on their investment.
He stayed in Europe to improve his game before coming to the NBA but he has still managed to struggle and has not yet become the star they imagined he would some day.
9 Orlando Magic: Bismack Biyombo (2016)
Just because a franchise is willing to shell out $72 million for a four-year contract does not mean that they are looking for someone who can average 25 points a game. They could also be looking for a rim protector and a defensive machine that can help them on an end of the court that usually gets overlooked in the NBA.
Bismack Biyombo has only ever been a defender but even as one, he does not average more than 6.4 rebounds per game, and a little over a block per game either. Statistically speaking, the Orlando Magic will never see a statistical return on their investment.
But since they are still a struggling defense, where did the money they spent really get them?
8 Philadelphia 76ers: Markelle Fultz (2017)
The Philadelphia 76ers headed into the 2017 NBA Draft with the number one overall pick and an already stacked roster featuring Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid, Robert Covington, J.J. Reddick, and Dario Saric.
So they decided to go with University of Washington's star point guard, Markelle Fultz, and immediately signed him to a 3-year deal worth $25.1 million. But injury after injury, and delay after delay, and the only thing the 76ers have to show for him is 33 games over two seasons.
They passed on players like Jayson Tatum, Donovan Mitchell, Kyle Kuzma, De'Aaron Fox, and Lauri Markkanen to draft the one player that has caused so many issues, he could end up ending his career earlier than he should.
7 Phoenix Suns: Brandon Knight (2015)
Since entering the league, Brandon Knight has always been a scorer that lacked the passing skills to become a star point guard. But since that is his natural position, he has found himself struggling to find a place he could stick with and so he spent his first four years playing for three teams.
Then he landed in Phoenix where he put together his best season in 2015-16 with 19.6 points, 5.1 assists, and 3.9 rebounds per game the year after they signed him on a five-year deal worth $70 million. But that would be the best they would ever get out of him before he started dealing with multiple injuries, including tearing his ACL, which caused him to miss the entire 2017-18 season.
He has tried to make a comeback but has still been unable to recover from the injuries.
6 Portland Trail Blazers: Allen Crabbe (2016)
The value of Allen Crabbe's monster 2016 contract was a result of the Brooklyn Nets offering him a four-year deal worth $75 million. Since Allen Crabbe was a restricted free agent, the Portland Trail Blazers had a chance to pass on matching the offer or signing him for that same deal, and they decided to keep him around.
A year later, he was traded to the Brooklyn Nets, who were still begging for him for some odd reason. The best thing he has going for him is that he is still very young and has a lot of time ahead of him to improve on his horrible averages, which are barely worth a quarter of that amount.
5 Sacramento Kings: Arron Afflalo (2016)
During the spending spree of 2016, many NBA players walked away with massive paydays because of the influx of cash and teams willing to overspend simply to fill a need on their roster.
The Sacramento Kings thought they could land a legit starting point guard at a good price even after Arron Afflalo spent his first 10 seasons playing on five different teams. Instead, they got a often injured guard that struggled to get on the court, even though he started 45 games. He simply did not fit in with the Kings and wound up getting waived the following summer.
He only ended up costing them $25 million over two years but they could have easily used that to acquire an actual starting point guard.
4 San Antonio Spurs: Pau Gasol (2016)
The San Antonio Spurs need to rebuild or they will be battling mediocrity for several years to come before they finally can start winning games again. One of their biggest mistakes was signing Pau Gasol for 2-years, $31.7 million dollars. He was coming off of back-to-back All-Star appearances and was still showing that he can play the low post defense but that did not translate into much when he get to Texas.
Since he got there, he has seen a steady decline in his production and is now basically useless while costing the Spurs a very large amount of cash each season. This season has shown that the Spurs need to fix their roster quickly because 6.8 points and 6.1 rebounds is not worth $15 million per year.
3 Toronto Raptors: Landry Fields (2012)
As a rookie, Landry Fields spent his first two seasons in the NBA playing for the New York Knicks where he grew into a very hot commodity during the summer of 2012. His development heading into his third season was setting him up to become a major contributor for his new team, the Toronto Raptors.
But after signing with the Raptors for $18.8 million over 3-years, things changed as he battled various injuries including a severe right arm injury to repair the ulnar nerve which caused so much damage he had to change his shooting form. That was the end of his career as he would never be able to bounce back. He was out of the league by the summer of 2016.
2 Utah Jazz: Dante Exum (2018)
As the 2018-19 NBA begins to hit its' stride, the Utah Jazz are quickly starting to recall why Dante Exum was assigned to their G-League affiliate, Salt Lake City Stars, for the past two years. He has a ton of raw talent that he simply cannot seem to harness into a consistent performer.
So it makes for a very confusing sentiment when the Utah Jazz signed him prior to the season for $33 million over 3-years. It was nothing more than a hopeful deal that they must have imagined would keep him around as he developed into the talented 5th overall pick they drafted back in 2014.
But all they have now is a guy earning $11 million a season for the next three years and nothing to show for it but a third string point guard.
1 Washington Wizards: Ian Mahinmi (2016)
There are a lot of players on our list that can play basketball but some of them have more talent than the others, it is just so raw and undeveloped that it has turned them into projects that a team would have to be willing to take on.
Ian Mahinmi is one of the most undeveloped talents on our list that we have all been waiting for since 2007 but have yet to see any progress. All we have is a guy from France who has let down team after team, each one of them hoping they would be the next team to get him to finally break out.
The Washington Wizards decided they would be the team to finally get him to that next level and they signed him for $64 million over four years and have yet to see any return on their investment.