The current landscape in the NBA is better than ever for the athletes. Contracts are becoming sweeter every year with the success of the league and the importance of star players making pay increases. Salary cap figures rose over the past two years thanks to the new television deal for the league bringing all of the money in. This has however led to a huge discrepancy in pay between some of the stars with contracts from before these changes to the lackluster players to benefit from it after. For example, John Wall is currently making less money on his contract than Evan Fournier and Stephen Curry is making less than Solomon Hill.
Most of the highest paid players actually do deserve it. LeBron James, Russell Westbrook and James Harden have three of the top four salaries, each making between $28 million to $33 million per season, and they likely deserve more given what they provide for their franchises and the league. Some names that earn in the $15 million to $25 million range have less successful results. We'll take a look at some of the worst contracts in the league with the fifteen most overpaid NBA stars that currently make over $15 million per season.
15 Dwyane Wade: $23.5 Million
The decision to leave the Miami Heat for Dwyane Wade stemmed from feeling underpaid. Wade took pay cuts many years during his prime to help the team get better, especially during the “big three era” that allowed the Heat sign LeBron James and Chris Bosh. The Chicago Bulls offered Wade $23.5 million per year for two seasons and offered the perk of playing for his home city.
14 Derrick Rose: $18.8 Million
Another former Superstar with a huge fall from grace is Derrick Rose. The Chicago Bulls signed him to a contract following his years leading them to huge success that would earn the point guard $18.8 million per season. Brutal knee injuries would change the career of Rose for the worst making him downgrade from a MVP Award winner to a role player.
13 Allen Crabbe: $18.7 Million
Allen Crabbe is one of the younger players on this list at just 25 years old. The Portland Trail Blazers signed Crabbe to a four year contract at $18.7 million per season. Portland did not want to lose out on the potential of a future star and overpaid big time. Crabbe was a solid bench player but did not make a big difference in the Blazers having a good season.
12 Victor Oladipo: $21.2 Million
An underrated move in the decline of the Oklahoma City Thunder roster last year actually took place before the Kevin Durant departure. Oklahoma City traded the superb defensive power forward Serge Ibaka to the Orlando Magic for Victor Oladipo. The plan of the Thunder was to have two fast guards in the back court with Oladipo and Russell Westbrook.
11 Timofey Mozgov: $16 Million
Timofey Mozgov shocked the world when receiving one of the biggest contracts in the NBA last summer. The Los Angeles Lakers wanted a new starting center and decided to pay Mozgov $16 million per season. Mozgov benefited from the free agent market changing to benefit secondary players, but he didn’t even get to have much of a role in his first season.
10 Enes Kanter: $17.5 Million
The Oklahoma City Thunder have been one of the best run franchises in the NBA for many years now, but they have made their fair share of awful decisions regarding long term contracts. Enes Kanter is an offensively gifted big man and the Thunder decided to pay him $17.5 million per season. This was back during the Kevin Durant era with the hopes of Kanter being the missing piece to a title.
9 Evan Turner: $17.5 Million
One of the role players to receive a massive contract for his services is Evan Turner. The hard work of Turner on the Boston Celtics for a few seasons landed him the opportunity to cash in during the summer of 2016. Turner signed with the Portland Trail Blazers for $17.5 million per season. Portland had momentum following last season and hoped the addition of Turner could get them further in the playoffs.
8 Gorgui Dieng: $15.7 Million
The Minnesota Timberwolves are looking to rebuild around talented young assets. Karl-Anthony Towns, Andrew Wiggins and Zach LaVine are their biggest prospects, but Gorgui Dieng is actually the highest paid player on the team. Dieng signed a contract that makes him nearly $16 million per season. Minnesota looked to find a consistent power forward but paid him way too much.
7 Bismack Biyombo: $18 Million
Bismack Biyombo has been a forgettable player in the NBA for six years now as a role player at best. One terrific postseason run with the Toronto Raptors completely changed his life. No one expected Biyombo to have any relevance in last year’s free agent class until he played the best basketball of his life at the right time. Biyombo excelled both offensively and defensively for a deep Raptors playoff run to add value to his status as an upcoming free agent.
6 Luol Deng: $18 Million
The Los Angeles Lakers signing veterans in recent years has led to disappointing results. Another bad move came in the form of signing Luol Deng to a four year contract for $18 million per season. Deng is a solid player that proved to be very valuable in the right system. Those teams usually featured Superstars leading the offense with Deng playing good all-around basketball as a secondary option.
5 Nicolas Batum: $24 Million
Nicolas Batum is a talented player enjoying the perks of the current NBA landscape. The Charlotte Hornets signed Batum to a five-year contract earning $24 million per season. Batum played very good all-around basketball to land an opportunity to take advantage of the market. A team like Charlotte is struggling for talent and they made the move to lock up the potential of Batum.
4 Ian Mahinmi: $16 Million
The Washington Wizards gave Ian Mahinmi one of the most shocking contracts in recent memory. Casual NBA fans likely don’t even know who Mahinmi and he has never averaged double digits in points per game during any season of his career. Mahinmi did look solid on the Indiana Pacers for one season averaging nine points and seven rebounds per game before entering free agency.
3 Steven Adams: $25 Million
The Oklahoma City Thunder signing Steven Adams to a four year contract for $25 million per season did actually make a little sense on the surface. Adams is young, contributes to the team in many ways and is a great teammate. The problem is he's now one of the top fifteen highest paid players in the league. Adams was the second best player on the Thunder this past season behind Russell Westbrook but only averaged 11.3 points and 7.7 rebounds.
2 Chandler Parsons: $23.6 Million
Chandler Parsons made a name by becoming one of the better three-point shooters and great small forwards in the league on the Houston Rockets. A move to the Dallas Mavericks saw bad luck start to strike Parsons. The injury issues shortened Parsons two seasons in Dallas despite putting up good numbers.
1 Joakim Noah: $18.1 Million
The dumbest contract in the NBA right now has to be what the New York Knicks gave to Joakim Noah. We all remember the better days of Noah’s career during the Chicago Bulls’ great seasons along with Derrick Rose. Noah made a huge difference on the defensive side as one of the best big men in the game. That quickly fell apart over the past few years with Noah becoming arguably the weakest link on the Bulls.
New York signed Noah to a four year contract at $18.1 million per season. The hope was becoming a contender with Noah and Rose joining the duo of Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis. However, the Knicks missed the playoffs altogether with Noah being a huge bust. Noah averaged just five points per game before suffering an injury and getting suspended for violating the NBA’s drug policy. The Knicks may attempt to rebuild by trading Carmelo, but Noah’s contract will still hurt them over the next three years.
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