Top 10 Worst Management Decisions in NBA History

Many players find free agency one of the most exciting times in their NBA careers. Why? Well, it might mean more money in contract deals. During this finger-biting time, the fans and players wait anxiously to see who will be traded, what deals will be executed and which coaches will be hired. The team’s front office and general managers don’t usually make the wisest choices in players and coaches. There are many proven deals that didn’t work out. In retrospect, it has many managers shaking their heads in disbelief, hoping that they had another chance to fix it. The words, ‘if only,’ come into play.

There is not a cut and dry answer to this because no one can predict the future of a NBA player or coach. Of course, there were many ideal signings that worked out for team, player and coaches such as the Lebron James signing for the Miami Heat where he won his first NBA title. He proved that he was the best player in the game and deserved a big contract (probably deserved more). Not everyone fit their role and many ended up being disappointed in their own performances. This is how the game of professional basketball plays out. There are many factors into deciding trades, contract deals, coaching changes and new signings. Physical fitness, age, existing team roster, team’s future plans, playing style, the length of the contract deal, and the funds to be paid over the contract period are the main deciding factors for general managers. The GM has to take the entire team’s perspective into consideration as well. Many of the NBA contracts are band-aid deals, but no one knows until the game is played out on the basketball court. In this article, we will discuss trades that have backfired, coaches not doing so well and bad contract signings.

10 Marcin Gortat Signing

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Polish born, Marcin Gortat received a five year contract deal with the Washington Wizards for $60 million. The deal looked strong at first because he was thought to be an important element to the team’s dynamics. According to, his record was 11.4 points for every 100 ball possessions. $12 million for each season seemed to be reasonable for a center turning age 31 in mid-2015. In addition, he seems to have some good rim-protection skills, anchoring the defense. He has proven to be consistent in his offense to add a solid pick-and-roll component alongside players like Bradley Beal and John Wall.

9 Juwan Howard Signing


8 Grant Hill Trade For Ben Wallace


In 2000, Grant Hill was traded to the Orlando Magic for Ben Wallace. In hindsight, this was a bad deal, even though it seemed like a good opportunity at the time. Grant Hill had proven to be a good player in the NBA in the past. Wallace was not drafted but although limited, he had potential. The plan was for Grant Hill to carry the Orlando Magic to NBA title contention.

7 Gilbert Arenas Wizards Signing


6 Rasheed Wallace, Detroit Pistons


5 Kenyon Martin: 7 year, $92.5 million contract with Nuggets


4 Billy Donavan: Orlando Magic coach

Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

3 Frank Vogel: Indiana Pacers coach

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Frank Vogel, coach of the Indiana Pacers placed a lot of trust in Roy Hibbert, a big man player who went from being good to being bad to almost cartoon-like awful during the past basketball season. The coach was often the only one sheltering struggling Hibbert from the media’s firing squad. When Hibbert was confronted by the media about his terrible offensive game, Vogel was quick to come to his defense, reminding the media and everyone within hearing range that Hibbert’s defense never skipped a beat.

2 Brad Stevens – Boston Celtics coach

John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

1 Derek Fisher: New York Knicks coach

Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

Derek Fisher is the new coach for the New York Knicks. Many think that he is a better player and locker room leader than coach. Many also think that Phil Jackson is really coaching behind the scenes and telling Fisher what to do. He runs the triangle plays without a center, real playmakers or real low-post presence. Yes, he is new, but he has always been better as a facilitator and dealing with big personalities like Carmelo Anthony hasn’t been easy for him. Fisher has the huge job of developing the younger guys while Phil Jackson oversees him. Since Anthony signed a huge contract last summer, he really doesn’t have to listen to Fisher. It seems he can do whatever he wants.

Lots of money, dissatisfactions and high expectations is the result of many bad deals, bad coaching picks and bad trades. NBA history has shown the demise of so many teams as a result of free agent signing and trades. Signing the right coach can be the difference between reaching the NBA finals and gaining a championship. However, it is a hit or miss decision. The wrong guy can cost the franchise millions of dollars and embarrass the team. The guys discussed above fall in this unfortunate category. Do they learn from experience?

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Top 10 Worst Management Decisions in NBA History