Predicting how a player is going to react after they receive a big money, long-term contract is pretty hard, especially in the NBA. We've seen time and time again that when some players are signed to big money deals, they don't always live up to their contract either due to injuries, or just a lack of motivation because they already got what they were looking for.
Of course, there are times when teams hand out a big money contract to a player based on what they think their potential is, even if the rest of the league is scratching their heads wondering how a mediocre player has gotten such an expensive contract.
The New York Knicks are probably the worst offenders in this area, as they've signed some of the most ridiculous contracts over the last two decades, brought in role players on big money deals, or signed former All-Stars who are past their prime to long-term contracts that always end up being not worth the price.
Other teams have done this at one point or another, which can be quite frustrating for the front office and fanbase alike. So, with all that in mind here are 30 NBA stars who flopped after signing big money deals.
30 Stephon Marbury - $76 million
Sure, Stephon Marbury put up some pretty incredible numbers during his prime years, but he was never on a winning team. So, it was a bit puzzling back in 2003 when the New York Knicks re-signed the point guard to a four-year contract worth $76 million. During that time, the Knicks made the playoffs just once, where they were swept in the first round back in 2004. The former Knicks point guard was never offered a big money contract ever again after his deal had expired, and he went on to spend the rest of his career as a role player for multiple teams.
29 Vin Baker - $86 million
Former All-Star power forward Vin Baker was a very effective player prior to receiving a seven-year deal, worth $86 million from the Seattle SuperSonics. However, once he signed the contract, he was no longer the player that he once was, as he battled through injuries and weight issues. The team eventually traded him to Boston in 2002, where his career really began to falter in earnest. Baker's personal issues prohibited him from regaining the All-Star form that he had prior to signing the aforementioned seven-year deal with Seattle.
28 Mike Conley - $152 million
Sure, Memphis Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley is an effective player but is he worth the richest contract in the entire NBA? Definitely not. The contract, where he's making over $30 million per year, has made him virtually untradeable, as other teams don't want to take on that salary. Furthermore, most teams are already set at point guard, so they don't need to acquire Conley's services. His expensive contract has prohibited the Grizzlies from going into rebuilding mode, which is clearly the direction that the franchise needs to go in.
27 Kenyon Martin - $92 million
Back in 2004, former All-Star power forward and first overall draft pick Martin agreed to a sign-and-trade between the then-New Jersey Nets and the Denver Nuggets. His new contract, which the Nuggets would take on in the trade, was a seven-year deal worth $92 million. However, Martin ended up incurring several knee injuries, which forced him to miss 118 games during his first four seasons with the team. Obviously, Martin didn't live up to the hype, as he was no more than an overpaid role player when he was actually healthy enough to play.
26 Peja Stojakovic - $64 million
Peja Stojakovic is thought of as one of the best shooters in NBA history, and for good reason, as he had some incredible years with the Sacramento Kings. So, when he signed a five-year, $64 million deal with the New Orleans Hornets, aligning him with All-Star point guard Chris Paul, fans were stoked. But injuries and overall ineffectiveness prohibited Peja from living up to the contract he'd signed with the team, and eventually, he went off to Dallas, where he was a role player during their championship season in 2011.
25 Jermaine O'Neal - $126 million
Initially, Jermaine O'Neal signing a seven-year extension worth $126 million with the Indiana Pacers looked like a good thing. However, just a few years later, O'Neal was plagued with injuries, which caused him to be one of the most overpaid players in the league. Of course, no one could've predicted that O'Neal was going to be so injury-prone for the rest of his NBA career. Eventually, the Pacers were able to move the injury-prone former All-Star to the Toronto Raptors, and he subsequently spent the rest of his career as a role player for several different teams.
24 Shawn Kemp - $107 million
During most of the 90s, Shawn Kemp was probably the most exciting player in the league, as he was probably the most athletically gifted power forward in NBA history up to that point. However, after he signed a seven-year contract worth $107 million with the Cavaliers, he quickly fell off. The biggest cause of Kemp's decline was the lockout during the 1998-1999 NBA season, as he showed up to training camp after the lockout in horrible shape, tipping the scales at nearly 300 pounds. Kemp was pretty much out of the league a few seasons later, as he never regained his All-Star level of play.
23 Hedo Turkoglu - $53 million
After a stellar run with the Orlando Magic, the Toronto Raptors signed veteran forward Hedo Turkoglu in the summer of 2009 in an effort to keep All-Star forward Chris Bosh happy. The contract was a five-year deal, worth $53 million. Unfortunately for the Raptors, Turkoglu looked like a shell of his former self when he suited up for the team, which is probably one of the biggest reasons why Bosh left for Miami a year later. The former Magic forward never ended up returning to form, as he bounced around the league as a role player before retiring.
22 Rashard Lewis - $118 million
Even though he had only made one All-Star team up to that point, longtime Seattle SuperSonics forward Rashard Lewis was somehow able to convince the Orlando Magic to sign him to a six-year, $118 million max deal. He went on to have some nice years for the Magic, but he never quite lived up to the contract he signed before the team moved him to Washington in exchange for Gilbert Arenas, who also had an expensive contract. Lewis spent the rest of his career battling injuries before ultimately retiring a few years ago.
21 Joakim Noah - $72 million
In yet another head-scratcher from the New York Knicks, the team signed veteran center Joakim Noah to a four-year deal worth $72 million, despite the fact that the former Bulls center was clearly no longer in his prime. Since signing with the team, Noah has been essentially useless, as he's dealt with injuries that have kept him on the sideline. But even when he's been healthy, he's been one of the least effective players in the entire league. Fortunately for the Knicks, they were just recently able to waive-and-stretch Noah, leaving them with more cap space to hopefully snag a top free agent next summer.
20 Amar'e Stoudemire - $99 million
Initially, it looked like the New York Knicks had made the right move when they signed former All-Star power forward Amar'e Stoudemire to a five-year contract worth nearly $100 million. However, poor conditioning and recurring injury issues prevented the former Suns star from being as good as he once was, which led to the team trading for Denver Nuggets forward Carmelo Anthony, which also didn't turn out the way the organization wanted it to. Stoudemire played several more seasons in the league, but he was no more than a role player for the rest of his career.
19 Ben Wallace - $60 million
Ben Wallace was arguably the most important player during the Detroit Pistons' championship run in 2004, so it was easy to understand why the Chicago Bulls signed him to a four-year contract worth $60 million. But, shortly after signing with the Bulls, who had a ton of potential on paper, he started to slow down, as he became one of the most injury-prone players in the league. Unfortunately, the former defensive and rebounding stud was reduced to being a role player, where his lack of offensive ability combined with his health issues forced him out of the NBA.
18 Penny Hardaway - $87 million
Former All-Star guard Penny Hardaway is one of the players who might've been remembered as an all-time great if he would've been able to stay healthy, so it was no surprise when the Phoenix Suns signed him to a seven-year deal worth nearly $90 million. But, as previously mentioned, Hardaway was never able to return to form, as he battled injury issues throughout the rest of his career. Sure, he showed some flashes of his former self during his time with the Suns, but he never quite showed that he was worth the massive contract that he had signed with Phoenix.
17 Timofey Mozgov - $64 million
In the summer of 2016, the Los Angeles Lakers signed center Timofey Mozgov to a four-year deal that was worth $64 million. This was puzzling for a few reasons, the biggest of which being that players like Mozgov just weren't worth having on your roster anymore, as he posed no offensive threat when he was on the floor. Moreover, the Lakers didn't really need to sign anyone to a big money deal, simply because they weren't going to be contenders anytime soon anyway. Of course, this was before it was known that LeBron James would be joining the team.
16 Luol Deng - $72 million
Sticking with the Los Angeles Lakers' poor summer of 2016, former All-Star small forward Luol Deng signed a four-year deal with the team, which was $72 million. Deng didn't spend much time on the court for the Lakers, and when he was able to play, he totaled averages of 7.5 points and 5.2 rebounds per game, proving that he wasn't quite worth the money that he was being paid, to say the least. Luckily for the Lakers, they were able to get rid of Deng shortly after signing LeBron James, so at least they got his spendy contract off their hands.
15 Elton Brand - $80 million
Most of Elton Brand's career was spent as the best player on bad teams, as he regularly averaged 20 points and 10 rebounds for teams who weren't in the playoff picture. On top of that, he was dealing with some pretty severe knee issues prior to the Philadelphia 76ers signing the former All-Star forward to a five-year contract worth $80 million. During his time with the team, he averaged around 13 points and 7 rebounds per game when he was healthy enough to get on the court, so he clearly didn't deserve the rich contract he was given by the Sixers' front office.
14 Ian Mahinmi - $64 million
Because of the spike in the salary cap, the summer of 2016 saw some teams like the Washington Wizards sign players to some ridiculously expensive contracts, as longtime role player Ian Mahinmi was offered, and signed to, a four-year deal worth $64 million. The former Pacers center hasn't done much of anything for the Wizards since signing with the team, but they simply cannot trade him because no other team in the league is willing to take on his contract. As such, it looks like the team is stuck with him until 2020.
13 Evan Turner - $70 million
In yet another awful signing from the summer of 2016, the Portland Trail Blazers signed former number two overall pick Evan Turner to a four-year deal worth $70 million. During his tenure with the team, Turner hasn't done much aside from stop the team from improving via free agency due to the nature of his contract. Like with the previous entry, Ian Mahinmi, Turner's contract is pretty much untradeable because teams aren't willing to take on his contract, especially when you consider the fact that he's an average player in today's NBA.
12 Larry Hughes - $70 million
During LeBron James' first run with the Cleveland Cavaliers, it was a constant struggle to find another All-Star level player to go alongside "The King." The franchise thought they had found that player when they signed shooting guard Larry Hughes to a five-year deal worth $70 million. While Hughes was a fine player during his run with the team, he never quite lived up to his contract, as it was pretty much a one-man show by LeBron James during his first tenure with the Cavs.
11 Erick Dampier - $73 million
Back in the summer of 2004, the Dallas Mavericks decided to let Steve Nash leave the team in free agency, as he signed with the Phoenix Suns. The reason why? Because the team wanted to sign veteran center Erick Dampier to a seven-year deal worth $73 million. During his time with the team, Dampier was a serviceable player, but that didn't mean much to the team as Steve Nash went on to become the best point guard in the league, winning back-to-back MVP awards.
10 Grant Hill - $93 million
Much like the aforementioned Penny Hardaway, Grant Hill might've ended up as one of the best players in NBA history if he was able to stay healthy. Unfortunately for the Orlando Magic, he wasn't able to do so after signing a seven-year deal worth $93 million. When he joined the team, many believed that he, alongside a young Tracy McGrady, would become the league's new dominant duo, however, Hill battled injuries through most of his run in Orlando, and while he did manage to make an All-Star team during his tenure there, it was only after the team had parted ways with T-Mac.
9 Jerome James - $30 million
In one of former Knicks general manager Isiah Thomas's worst moves during his tenure with the team, he signed former Seattle SuperSonics big man Jerome James to a five-year deal worth $30 million. To put it mildly, James was a major bust as the Knicks new starting center, as he was regularly out of shape. What's even worse is that James was never considered to be an impact player, to begin with, as he simply had a fluke of a playoff run in the postseason prior to his signing a deal with the Knicks.
8 Chris Bosh - $118 million
At the time this deal was made, it did make sense, as Chris Bosh, along with Dwyane Wade and LeBron James, helped the Miami Heat win two championships in four years. But, just 97 games after signing a five-year, $118 million extension with the Heat, he was forced to retire due to blood clots. While Bosh has attempted to get medically cleared in recent years, he hasn't found any team who is willing to let him play for them, so, unfortunately, the former All-Star's retirement ended up being permanent.
7 Brandon Roy - $82 million
Fans of the Portland Trail Blazers franchise quickly became frustrated with the team's front office after they didn't immediately sign All-Star guard Brandon Roy to a max contract after his rookie deal had expired. Just a few years later, we found out why the team was so hesitant to sign him to a big money extension, as knee issues quickly diminished Roy's skills, and he was forced to retire shortly after signing a five-year extension worth $82 million. While Roy did have a memorable moment against the Mavericks during the 2011 playoffs, he never fully returned to form, and while he did attempt a comeback with the Minnesota Timberwolves, it was short-lived, as he was forced to retire yet again.
6 Darius Miles - $48 million
In quite possibly the worst contract given out by the Portland Trail Blazers, small forward Darius Miles was signed to a six-year extension with the team that was worth $48 million. While Miles did have a ton of potential, he never quite showed it prior to joining the Trail Blazers, and after he signed his extension with the team, he was never healthy, as he battled several injury issues that prevented him from being an active member of the team. After his contract expired, Miles went on to play for the Charlotte Bobcats and the Memphis Grizzlies, where he didn't really do anything noteworthy before leaving the league altogether.
5 Allan Houston - $100 million
Prior to his being injured, the New York Knicks decided to give Allan Houston a six-year extension which was worth $100 million, and it looked like a good move. However, just under three years into the extension, Houston went down with a career-ending knee injury and was on the Knicks' payroll for the next two seasons. The Houston contract was largely responsible for the NBA implementing the amnesty clause, which gave teams an opportunity to get one active contract to not count towards their salary cap, as the league knows that teams can't predict if a player signed to a big money contract will get hurt or not.
4 Juwan Howard - $105 million
Back in 1996, the then Washington Bullets signed power forward Juwan Howard, who made the Eastern Conference All-Star team the year prior, to a seven-year extension worth $105 million. To put it in perspective, Howard was making the same amount of money as Shaquille O'Neal and Alonzo Mourning, who both went on to become some of the game's all-time great big men. Meanwhile, Howard never made another All-Star team after he signed his extension with the Bullets.
3 Eddy Curry - $56 million
This was yet another mistake made by the New York Knicks' front office, this time with young center Eddy Curry, who was a good offensive player, but lacked defensive prowess and wasn't much of a rebounder, which isn't a good thing when you're a center in the NBA. The Knicks signed the former Bulls center to a six-year deal worth $56 million, but heart issues slowed down the big man, as he only played in 10 games from 2008 to 2010. In the two seasons that he was active, he was able to pull in a total of $19 million before ultimately retiring from the league.
2 Chandler Parsons - $95 million
This was possibly the worst deal handed out during the summer of 2016. Former Houston Rockets and Dallas Mavericks small forward Chandler Parsons was signed to a four-year deal, which was worth $95 million, with the Memphis Grizzlies. During his time with the team, Parsons has struggled to stay healthy, making him virtually untradeable. When he has been healthy enough to play, he put up averages of 7.1 points, 2.5 rebounds, and 1.8 assists per game, so it's pretty safe to say that Parsons hasn't quite lived up to his end of the bargain.
1 Gilbert Arenas - $111 million
At one point, Gilbert Arenas was one of the most potent offensive threats in the entire league, as he helped lead the Washington Wizards to multiple playoff appearances, and because of that success, the team rewarded him with a six-year deal worth $111 million, which even Arenas has admitted might be the worst contract given out in NBA history. Following the extension, Arenas dealt with several injuries, and the biggest issue of all was when he had an off-court feud with teammate Javaris Crittenton. After that, the Wizards were able to flip Arenas' bad contract to the Orlando Magic in exchange for Rashard Lewis' pricey deal. So, it was a bad experience for all parties involved.