While there are multiple terms used to remove a player from a team, we will simply stick with “cut." Amnesty, waive, or trade, these are all methods used to cut a player from a team. Each term is different from one another and it is hard to explain everything in full detail, so cutting a player just simply means doing one of the three methods listed. Many players perform better than their paychecks suggest they do, but there are also others who are the definition of overpaid, due to their lack of production in relation to the amount of money they make.
This list will exclude rookies, since most of them are expected to struggle early on in their careers, and quite frankly, it is unfair to judge them based off only a handful of games.
Every team has at least one player they wish they never signed, drafted, or traded for and this article will try to show you who these players are. Here is one player every NBA team needs to cut before the season ends.
30 Atlanta Hawks – Miles Plumlee
Earlier, we said that there are players who play better than the amount of money they make, and Miles Plumlee is the opposite of that. Signing a four-year, $50 million deal in the summer of 2016 then traded to the Atlanta Hawks the following year, Plumlee has done absolutely nothing noteworthy. In two seasons with the Hawks, Plumlee's numbers are less than stellar.
It is safe to say that if there is one player the Hawks management wants to cut, it is Miles Plumlee for playing poorly while eating away at the team’s payroll.
29 Boston Celtics - Guerschon Yabusele
The Boston Celtics are one of the best teams in the NBA. In fact they are so good that it was hard to find a player they had to cut by the end of the year. Unfortunately for Guerschon Yabusele, he gets the short end of the stick.
In a contending team like the Celtics it is hard for a player like Yabusele to find meaningful minutes. So far, the French forward has logged minimal playing time.
Yabusele is by no means a bad player and he is still on his rookie contract, but in a team full of great players, he is the most average one on the roster.
28 Brooklyn Nets – Allen Crabbe
The Brooklyn Nets have two players they want gone from their roster in DeMarre Carroll and Allen Crabbe. They both make more money than they deserve and they both have yet to make a big impact on the court. What gives Carroll a slight advantage over Crabbe is the fact that this is the last year of Carroll’s contract, while Crabbe still has a year left.
Crabbe has definitely made more than he deserves. It certainly is not Crabbe’s fault he got overpaid, but the Nets certainly wish they can get the upcoming $18 million Crabbe will make back.
27 Charlotte Hornets – Bismack Biyombo
Originally a Charlotte Bobcat, Bismack found his way back to Charlotte as he was traded this past summer by the Orlando Magic.
Biyombo has never been a starting caliber player in the NBA and with the Hornets’ roster makeup today; they are quite heavy on bigs. Biyombo has failed to crack the rotation of new head coach James Borrego. What’s worse for the Hornets is the fact that Biyombo is barely playing while making a combined $34 million from this season and next season.
If Charlotte wants to make a deeper run in the playoffs they have to sign quality players, and it is hard to do that when you barely have any money left.
26 Chicago Bulls – Omer Asik
In today’s NBA, immobile big men who cannot shoot are being left in the dust. Omer Asik is a prime example of that as he has yet to play more than 20 minutes a game since the 2014-15 season. Asik has yet to play a game this season for the Chicago Bulls and rightfully so as he does not bring anything to the table that Robin Lopez and Lauri Markannen cannot bring.
Playing for at least two more seasons with the Bulls, Asik is bound to make at least $14 million. That's certainly a sight most fans do not want to see especially with how good Zach Lavine and Jabari Parker have looked this season.
25 Cleveland Cavaliers - J.R. Smith
It is safe to assume that the Cleveland Cavaliers are officially starting their rebuild. Gone are the days when LeBron James and Kyrie Irving used to run amok in the playoffs. And while Kevin Love is still there, he mostly provides much-needed star power to attract free agents.
The odd man out is J.R. Smith, as he still has over $30 million on the books for at least two more seasons.
Smith has barely played this year and it is not hard to imagine why Cleveland wants him out. Averaging less than 10 PPG in the past three seasons, Smith certainly does not deserve that kind of money.
24 Dallas Mavericks – Wesley Matthews
Much like the Cavs, the Dallas Mavericks are in full rebuild mode. With a solid young foundation in Dennis Smith, Luka Doncic, and Harrison Barnes, the Mavs have a lot to look forward to going into the next five years. Whenever a team fully rebuilds, they tend to trade away old role-players who have one year left on their contracts for future assets.
Wesley Matthews is still quite young, considering how long he has been in the league. At 32-years-old, he still has a lot to offer especially with his three-point shooting and defense that can help a championship contender.
23 Denver Nuggets - Trey Lyles
Like the Boston Celtics, the Denver Nuggets are looking like title contenders this year as they are off to a fiery start. With that in mind it was hard to find a player worth cutting for the Nuggets since almost every single one of them are on a friendly contract in regards to their play.
Trey Lyles has only a single year left on his contract, but he is playing poorly at the moment, so it had to be him. In his first four games of the season, Lyles went 0-9 from beyond the arc and has 12 turnovers with only seven assists.
Lyles was also part of an awful trade for the Nuggets, as they traded away the 13th pick in the 2017 draft for Lyles; the pick then turned out to be Donovan Mitchell.
22 Detroit Pistons - Langston Galloway
Langston Galloway is by no means an overpaid player. He is making $7 million per year playing a Swiss Army knife role for the Detroit Pistons. Defense, shooting, play-making, and more, Galloway is tasked to be a versatile player that can easily be relied upon by the Pistons.
A Swiss knife is only useful when everything functions properly, and right now Galloway is shooting 16.7% from three. Considering he was an average shooter in his entire career, it is quite the downfall for Galloway as the team needs him more than ever.
21 Golden State Warriors – Quinn Cook
The defending NBA Champions have the best roster in the NBA. From their starters all the way to their two-way players, the Golden State Warriors almost have no dead weight on their roster. It is a bit unfair to name a player they need to cut but in the end it had to be Quinn Cook.
Cook played well last season for the Warriors but it cannot be said for the current season. Providing nothing other than three-point shooting, Cook never really had a proper role for the Warriors as they are heavy with guards.
20 Houston Rockets – Brandon Knight
Brandon Knight has had more downs that ups in his career. Dubbed as the unluckiest player in the NBA, Knight has been a victim of poster dunks, ankle breakers, and unfortunate injuries, it seems like his career is nearing an end.
Part of a trade with the Phoenix Suns, Knight was brought in as a backup point guard for Chris Paul until he got hurt with a knee injury. That shows he's certainly not worth $30 million, as this is another injury added to the string of bad luck he has gone through over the last couple of years.
While he can still turn it around, it is looking grim for Knight and the Houston Rockets.
19 Indiana Pacers – Thaddeus Young
The Indiana Pacers are no means championship contenders, but they certainly have one of the most well rounded rosters in the league. Most of their players play in line with how much money they make, and Thaddeus Young is no exception.
Young is having an okay season so far, but you have to think that the Pacers want to move him before the deadline. Domantas Sabonis and Myles Turner are the frontcourt pairing of the future, and having Young around messes with that.
If the Pacers can find a shooter to help Doug McDermott, then they will surely pounce on a trade.
18 Los Angeles Clippers - Avery Bradley
A team finding its own identity, the Los Angeles Clippers are in full rebuild mode following the departure of DeAndre Jordan. Starting with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, the Clippers have a nice point guard that they can build around for now.
For a rebuilding team, it is hard to find minutes to give a veteran like Avery Bradley. This is Bradley’s ninth season and he certainly looks like he lost a step or two given his play. Bradley only averages around 25% from the field and 10.0% from three while making over $24 million for two seasons.
Bradley is not the player he once was, and unfortunately for the Clippers, it will be hard to move him, given his contract.
17 Los Angeles Lakers – Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope was supposed to be the designated shooter for the Los Angeles Lakers’ starting unit. A career 40% three-point shooter, Pope was the perfect fit next to LeBron James, Rajon Rondo, and Brandon Ingram as Pope provides floor spacing.
Given how poorly the Lakers’ season started, Pope had a similar trajectory with how poorly he shot from the field. KCP's numbers are down all-around as he is on pace to have his worst season since his rookie year five years ago.
If KCP cannot find his shooting back then they might move him and his $12 million out of Los Angeles in favor of Josh Hart.
16 Memphis Grizzlies - Chandler Parsons
It seems like each year Chandler Parsons finds himself on the trade rumor mill. Entering his eighth year in the NBA, Parsons is considered one of the worst contracts in all of the NBA. Over $49 mil this year and next year, Parsons has definitely not played like a $49-million man.
This season is not any different, as Parsons have played poorly for the Memphis Grizzlies. Averaging lower numbers than expected, you have to feel bad for both the Grizzlies and Parsons himself.
If given the choice, there is no doubt in our minds that the Grizzlies would immediately cut ties with Parsons.
15 Miami Heat - Tyler Johnson
You probably have noticed a pattern at this point; if a player plays poorly while making a ridiculous amount of money, he will be on this list.
The same can be said about Tyler Johnson, Miami Heat shooting guard. Johnson is making more than $38 million this year and next season. While Johnson has played good basketball the last two seasons, the same cannot be said this season, as he is only contributing less than 10 points per game.
The season is quite young and Johnson can definitely turn it around but so far it is not looking good for both parties involved.
14 Milwaukee Bucks – John Henson
John Henson has made a career out of being nothing more than a defensive big. Only averaging over 10 points once in his career, Henson has always been one of the more underrated big man this decade mainly because of the lack of scoring.
While Henson and the Milwaukee Bucks have partnered for seven season already, it might be time to move on and find a forward that can actually provide much needed shooting next to Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Not a bad player by any means, Henson just does not fit in very well with this Bucks team as of the moment.
13 Minnesota Timberwolves - Andrew Wiggins
The Minnesota Timberwolves have had quite a roller coaster of a season. Dealing with the whole Jimmy Butler versus the entire organization saga was quite a pain for the team.
While the season has gotten smoother, the Wolves still have to deal with the fact that Andrew Wiggins is making $25 million this year which will only increase in the upcoming years. Wiggins was highly touted as a prospect but has disappointed fans with his play.
“Maple Jordan,” so far is struggling on the court In comparison. Especially in comparison to Karl Anthony-Towns, who has proven to be the true leader of the Timberwolves.
12 New Orleans Pelicans - Jahlil Okafor
If there is one thing we have learned this season, it is that Anthony Davis plays better with a big who can shoot. Nikola Mirotic has been a revelation this year and it is hard to find a better power forward that can pair along with Davis.
Enter Okafor, a throwback big man who needs the ball down in the post with his back to the basket. Like we said earlier, those kinds of players have been phased out the last couple of years in the space-and-pace era.
For some reason Okafor is still given plenty of opportunity even though he has proven that his style just does not work in the modern NBA.
11 New York Knicks - Lance Thomas
The New York Knicks, like most of the other teams, are rebuilding this season. With star player Kristaps Porzingis still recovering from injury, the plan for the Knicks is to develop other young talents that will complement KP in the future.
Lance Thomas is by no means a part of their future given the guy is already 30-years-old and is continually declining in terms of play. Since the 2015-16 season, Thomas has seen a small but meaningful drop in terms of points and minutes.
New York is not a very patient market and it is not a shocker if Thomas is cut anytime now.
10 Oklahoma City Thunder - Andre Roberson
If we get straight to the point, Andre Roberson is a bad player. The guy knows one thing and one thing only, and that's defense. His offensive numbers are remarkably bad considering he plays a position that requires a bit of offensive firepower. Last year, Roberson averaged 31.6% from the free throw line and 22.2% from beyond the arc; those numbers are borderline unplayable, especially in the playoffs.
Making at least $20 million more, Roberson needs to prove he is worth the money. If not then it might be time to move on and let Hamidou Diallo take over Roberson’s position on the roster.
9 Orlando Magic - Timofey Mozgov
Similar to Chandler Parsons, Timofey Mozgov has one of the three worst contracts in the NBA today. Mozgov still has over $32 million left on his contract and he has yet to play a single game for the Orlando Magic.
Injuries have certainly held Mozgov back but even when he was healthy, Mozgov did not deserve that kind of money thrown at him. In his best year, Mozgov only averaged 10.6 PPG and 6.9 RPG for the Cleveland Cavaliers. Living off a good Finals appearance, Mozgov has definitely stolen money from a couple of teams and the Magic is not an exception.
8 Philadelphia 76ers - Jerryd Bayless
Jerryd Bayless has been around for almost a decade now, but the guy is still just 29-years-old. Starting his career with the Portland Trail Blazers, the former high school standout has a lot left in the tank.
Unfortunately, the Philadelphia 76ers has no need for Bayless. With Markelle Fultz, J.J. Redick, and T.J. McConnell, Bayless is out of place in terms of the roster as the team is shying away from isolation offense and morphing into a modern space-and-pace team.
With Bayless still under contract, the team can decide to trade him for much-needed frontcourt depth off the bench.
7 Phoenix Suns - Ryan Anderson
The Phoenix Suns traded for Ryan Anderson this past off-season with the hopes of providing leadership and much-needed shooting. So far, Anderson has yet to find his groove in terms of shooting the ball, as he is struggling from beyond the arc. Anderson is also making $35 million this and next year combined.
While the Suns have a logjam at the small forward spot with Trevor Ariza, T.J. Warren, Mikal Bridges, and Josh Jackson all sharing duties, it is not hard to imagine one of these four stepping in at the power forward spot and replacing Anderson and his awful contract.
6 Portland Trail Blazers - Meyers Leonard
The Portland Trail Blazers have strung together first and second round exits in the last couple of years. This year they want to change that and make a push to at least the Western Conference Finals; with improved frontcourt play from Jusuf Nurkic, Zach Collins, and Al-Farouq Aminu, it is entirely possible that the Blazers make the leap this season.
With that, the writings are on the wall for Meyers Leonard, who has barely improved since joining the league back in 2012. The stretch center has seen limited play this season with the improvement of the other frontcourt players.
Leonard’s contract is not a bad one and there must be at least one team willing to take him in.
5 Sacramento Kings - Zach Randolph
Landing a couple of top-five picks back to back, the Sacramento Kings rebuild is in full swing. Marvin Bagley, De’Aaron Fox, and Bogdan Bogdanovic are the young core of the Kings going forward. With that said, the Kings still have plenty of talent in the power forward spot as Bagley, Harry Giles, and Skal Labissiere all share the position.
If there is anyone the Kings’ would be willing to cut, it is veteran Zach Randolph, whose age (37) has finally caught up to him. The former All-Star still has not suited up for the Kings this year, mostly because they want to focus on developing their young guys.
4 San Antonio Spurs - Dante Cunningham
So far the season has not been kind to the San Antonio Spurs as they have suffered injuries after injuries. Lonnie Walker, Dejounte Murray, and Derrick White have all suffered injuries that have kept them sidelined this season.
With injuries to key players, the Spurs are forced to give minutes to Dante Cunningham, a 31-year-old vet who is clearly way past his prime. When the three guards are medically cleared to compete again, expect the Spurs to take back the minutes Cunningham has been given this season; it won’t be a surprise if he gets cut as well.
3 Toronto Raptors - C.J. Miles
There is a breath of fresh air in the City of Toronto. Kawhi Leonard has led them to a strong first half in the season and the team looks better than previous Raptors lineups.
With that in mind, it is hard to find a place for C.J. Miles, a scoring wing who needs the ball in his hands to succeed. In fact, so far this season, Miles is averaging low numbers while shooting terribly from three.
The Raptors are looking to win the East this year and you have to imagine they would give more minutes to guys like OG Anunoby instead of Miles.
2 Utah Jazz - Royce O'Neale
If you do not know him, Royce O’Neale is a defensive-minded wing that is entering his second year in the NBA. Last year was not a spectacular rookie season for O’Neale, as he only averaged 5.0 PPG, but his defense was enough to prove he can stay in the NBA.
Unfortunately, much like the other guys listed before, O’Neale is the most likely to get cut from his team. Competing with good to great role players, O’Neale is the least impressive player currently on the Jazz.
There is no doubt he can turn out to be a good role player but for now, O’Neale is only average.
1 Washington Wizards - Austin Rivers
There are a lot of things wrong with this current Washington Wizards team. John Wall unable to find his shot, Otto Porter seemingly regressed, and Dwight Howard injured are all factors that contribute to the disappointing season the Wizards currently have.
It is unfair to put any of the blame on Austin Rivers as he was brought in as a backup scorer and nothing more, but so far he has not lived up to the scoring prowess he briefly showed with the Clippers. While he is scoring close to 10 PPG, keep in mind he is being given 25 minutes per game and his shooting splits have been worrying as he is shooting low percentages from the field, three-point area, and the free throw line respectively.
If the Wizards want to turn this around, they need to find an upgrade for their bench.