It definitely pays to be in the NBA. When the NBA signed a nine-year television deal with ESPN and Turner Sports worth $24 billion people were stunned. The deal will pay the league nearly $2.4 billion per year. The humungous partnership didn't only line the NBA executive's pockets, but the players pockets as well.
Last summer, NBA free agency was an absolute frenzy. On July 1st, teams bent over backwards to sign a plethora of free agents. The whole process mirrored an appearance of a 19th century land rush. However, instead of racing for land to build a home, teams raced for elite players to build a championship. Just five days after free agency commenced,over $2.35 billion had been spent.
The lucrative TV deal has raised the salary cap to nearly $70 million. This has allowed teams to issue massive contracts to multiple players. In the years to come, the salary cap will elevate even more. Next season, in 2016-2017, it will raise to nearly $90 million. The following year, in 2017-2018 it will be nearly $110 million. With the salary cap continuing to rise, teams will more than likely go on spending sprees.
Players certainly cashed in this past summer. Teams fiercely competed with one another to acquire top name free agents by offering tons of money and numerous years worth of contracts. Even though teams have the money to spend on players. it would be wise to analyze your purchase before buying. Many teams that went over the top dishing out massive contracts have struggled this current season and the players they took on haven't lived up to their contracts. The old saying "buyer beware" applies to an average joe buying a car, but it also applies to a professional basketball team spending hundreds of millions of dollars on a player.
Here is a list of the current most overpaid players in the NBA.
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20 Dwight Howard - Houston Rockets / 2016 salary: $23,359,364
The Dwight Howard that helped the Orlando Magic reach the 2009 NBA Finals is long gone. When he left the Los Angeles Lakers after one drama filled season, he went to Houston on a four-year deal to play alongside James Harden. The former Defensive Player of the Year hoped to re-create a Shaq & Kobe formula in H-Town.
Since Howard's arrival in Houston, his production has gone down, but his salary has remained high. Howard only played 41 games in '14-'15 due to injury and averaged 15.8 points, a major decline from averaging nearly 20 points per game from his days in Orlando. His free throw percentage is still abysmal, often costing the Rockets wins due to his limited success at the free throw line.
19 Amir Johnson - Boston Celtics / 2016 salary: $12,000,000
Amir Johnson has been known for his tough nosed style of play. It's what earned him a five-year deal with the Toronto Raptors back in 2010. When the contract expired in 2015, the Raptors didn't express a strongest interest in brining him back. Johnson tested the market and signed with division rival Boston Celtics on a two-year deal.
Johnson has fallen way short of expectations in Beantown. He is averaging just over seven points per game, his lowest in nearly five seasons. The frequent rebounding total which made him an attractive asset for the Celtics has decreased as well. The sure fire double-double machine is failing to collect even seven rebounds a night.
18 Tiago Splitter - Atlanta Hawks / 2016 salary: $8,800,000
It's rare that the San Antonio Spurs trade away their home grown talent. Therefore, it came as a surprise when they traded Brazilian big man Tiago Splitter to the Atlanta Hawks.
Splitter took on a larger role with the Spurs by taking off some the pressure from veteran Tim Duncan, but finds himself riding the bench with the Hawks. Splitter has only started two games this season.
The big man who averaged 8.3 points per game with the Spurs has averaged just over five points per game in Atlanta. The 6-11 big man's rebounding has dropped as well, averaging around three a game. In February, Splitter had season ending hip surgery.
17 Derrick Rose - Chicago Bulls / 2016 salary: $20,093,064
The Chicago Bulls performance has been determined by Derrick Rose's health. Since the former MVP signed a five-year contract extension in 2011, he has been constantly sidelined due to injuries, so the team hasn't fared as well.
The dynamic point guard who averaged well over 20 points per game hasn't done so since 2011-12. Rose continues to miss significant stretches of playing time each season due to injuries to his knees.
In 2015, the Bulls were rumored to have been looking to trade Rose. The biggest contingency would be the $40 plus million he's owed over the next two seasons. Rose continues to battle injuries in Chicago and will most likely stay there until his contract expires.
16 Lance Stephenson - Memphis Grizzlies / 2016 salary: $9,000,000
It was one of the most memorable moments in NBA Finals history, as Lance Stephenson blew into Lebron James' ear. The former Indiana Pacer attempted to model Hall of Famer Reggie Miller by getting under the opponents skin.
Stephenson's ego followed him to the Charlotte Hornets where he was given a three-year deal worth $27 million. He failed to shoot over 10 points per game his first season in Charlotte and that offseason he was traded to the Los Angeles Clippers. Stephenson is now reduced to a role coming off the bench, but is making a starting player's salary.
His low productivity in L.A. got him traded to the Memphis Grizzlies where he is playing like he did back in Indiana. Who knows, maybe his resurgence with the Grizzlies will earn him another contract he will fail to live up to.
15 Andrew Bogut - Golden State Warriors / 2016 salary: $13,800,000
It's strange to think the Warriors have a player on their roster who would fail to live up to their contract. However, former number one overall draft pick Andrew Bogut has underperformed significantly since being traded to Golden State.
After being traded from Milwaukee, Bogut's scoring and rebounding have gone way down. The scoring seems to be in good hands with Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson in the backcourt, but Bogut's time on the floor has been limited because of injuries and ineffectiveness.
Averaging just over five points per game this season, the Australian big man is a minor contributor, shockingly making more than team captain Stephen Curry who has taken the league by storm.
14 Greg Monroe - Milwaukee Bucks / 2016 salary: $16,407,500
In last summer's free agency chaos, forward Greg Monroe was one of the most sought after players. Big market teams like the New York Knicks and Boston Celtics pitched him contracts, but it was Milwaukee that would end up being the new home for the 6-11 center.
The three-year deal worth over $50 million built up big expectations of Monroe dropping nearly 20 points per night and being one of the best rebounders in the league.
Monroe has failed to meet the expectations of the contract and to help the Bucks get back into the playoffs. The big man averages just over 15 points per night and is barely in the top 20 rebounders in the league. The Bucks are currently 12th in the Eastern Conference with a record of (32-46).
13 Tyson Chandler - Phoenix Suns / 2016 salary: $13,000,000
The Phoenix Suns were a team that went on a spending spree this past offseason and it's come back to bite them.
Tyson Chandler once a Defensive Player of the Year, NBA champion and All Star managed to get another massive contract, a four-year deal worth $52 million.
This season has been an absolute debacle for the Suns big man, just averaging over seven points per game, his lowest in seven seasons. Chandler's rebounding has decreased as well, averaging just under nine a game, which is a steep decline from the nearly 12 per game he averaged last season with the Mavericks.
12 Tristan Thompson - Cleveland Cavaliers / 2016 salary: $14,260,870
When Tristan Thompson turned down a four-year, $48 million contract extension at the beginning of the 2014-2015 season, people thought he was dropped on his head.
Thompson's performance in the NBA Finals was astonishing. He averaged 11 rebounds a game against the Golden State Warriors. It was as if another player came running out of the locker room for warmups. This season however, hasn't, been as electrifying for Thompson on the stat sheets. Since signing the five-year $85 million extension. Thompson is having his lowest scoring season yet, averaging 7.9 points per game.
Thompson is on pace to make $15 million per season through the duration of the contract. In all likelihood, he's only on pace to ride the bench behind Kevin Love and Timofey Mozgov, collecting his gigantic paycheck for his subpar performance.
11 Enes Kanter - Oklahoma City Thunder / 2016 salary: $16,407,500
It's rare to see a Swiss superstar in the NBA. Judging from what center Enes Kanter makes a year, it would seem he would be one of the most pivotal playmakers on his team.
This past offseason, the Thunder matched a four-year, $70 million offer sheet that he signed with the Portland Trail Blazers. The organization wanted to make him a permanent part of the team.
Since signing the big extension, Kanter has been mediocre. He averages just under 13 points per game and his aggressive rebounding has fallen to 8.1 per game. nearly three less per game than last season.
10 Goran Dragic - Miami Heat / 2016 salary: $14,783,000
Max contracts used to be granted to franchise players who lead teams to championships. The Miami Heat re-defined the philosophy by giving Goran Dragic a five-year, $85 million contract.
The Heat needed a point guard to run the offense when LeBron returned to Cleveland and when Dragic was traded mid-season from by the Phoenix Suns to the Heat, it was the perfect fit.
The Heat had expressed interest in retaining the Slovenian point guard but it would cost them a pretty penny. Sadly, Dragic has performed well below the expectations of the massive contract. He averages just 14.1 points per game and under six assists. The Heat may even look to move Dragic before the contract expires.
9 Omer Asik - New Orleans Pelicans / 2016 salary: $9,123,483
It's unbelievable that Anthony Davis' backup makes more than him per season, but oddly enough he does. Because of that fact, Turkish center Omer Asik is one of the most overpaid players the league has ever seen.
Once Asik was traded by the Rockets to the Pelicans, it gave him the opportunity to regain recognition. Asik stood in the shadow of Dwight Howard in Houston and rode the bench the majority of the season. Nothing has really improved for Asik since he arrived in the Big Easy.
The Turkish big man averages under four points per game, he's a horrific free throw shooter and is having his worst rebounding season since his second year in the league, grabbing a lowly six per game.
8 Ersan Ilyasova - Orlando Magic / 2016 salary: $7,900,000
Players who are constantly being moved around from team to team usually have a red flag in their player profile. Ersan Ilyasova has been on the move quite a bit this season, but not on the basketball court running from one end to the other. In the past year, he's played for three different teams.
When he failed to live up to his contract in Milwaukee. averaging just over 11 points per game and barely reaching five rebounds, he was sent to the division rival Detroit Pistons. It didn't take long for Detroit to see his poor production wasn't due to Milwaukee's lack of stardom, but his inadequate approach. He was then sent to the Orlando Magic in exchange for young phenom Tobias Harris.
Now in Orlando, he rides the bench, averaging 7.5 points per game, but continues to be paid a starting player's salary.
7 Nikola Pekovic - Minnesota Timberwolves / 2016 salary: $12,100,000
Paying injured players big salaries can be quite a strain on an organization. The Minnesota Timberwolves are experiencing this first hand with Yugoslavian big man Nikola Pekovic.
When they signed the center to a five-year contract extension back in 2013, they envisioned he would be a prominent rebounder for the team many years down the line. It certainly hasn't been the case since he's barely played 90 games over the past three seasons combined.
Pekovic' has played in only 12 games this season, recovering from surgery on his achilles tendon. In the games played, he's averaged just under five points per game and has barely been rebounding the ball at all.
6 Chandler Parsons - Dallas Mavericks / 2016 salary: $15,361,500
Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has been known for his aggressive behaviour when it comes to building a championship team. Cuban demonstrated this by convincing Parsons to sign a three-year, $46 million offer sheet.
Things didn't go as planned though. Parsons prolific scoring which earned him the contract from the billionaire tech mogul has decreased. This season, he scores only 13.7 points per game and fails to use his 6-10 height advantage over the competition to collect rebounds.
Rumours indicate that he will pass up on the third year of his contract and opt out to test the open market in the offseason.
5 Iman Shumpert - Cleveland Cavaliers / 2016 salary: $8,988,765
Sports teams overpay players all the time. However, sometimes it seems they just throw away money for no good reason. This occurred when the Cleveland Cavaliers signed shooting guard Iman Shumpert to a four-year, $40 million contract extension.
Shumpert was dealt to the Cavaliers mid-season by the New York Knicks in 2015 when they only had five wins on the season. His level of play didn't increase while playing in Cleveland.
This season, Shumpert is averaging under six points per game, which is probably due to his limited playing time, as he is seeing just under nine minutes per game. His inconsistent play on the court may cost him playing time, but he'll take his undeserved paycheck while riding the bench.
4 Wesley Matthews - Dallas Mavericks / 2016 salary: $16,407,500
Just because you have money doesn't mean you should spend it. The Dallas Mavericks have made this mistake a few times over the years, most recently with Wesley Matthews.
It wasn't a secret that Matthews wanted out of Portland once his contract was up. He knew he was going to get more money on the open market. When he went down in March of 2015 with a torn achilles, his value decreased.
However, this didn't stop the Mavericks from giving him a four-year deal worth over $70 million. It's surprising he hasn't been amnestied due to his performance this season. He averages 12.4 points per game and the sharpshooting accuracy he was known for in Portland is long gone.
3 Jose Calderon - New York Knicks / 2016 salary: $ 7,402,812
It's no secret the Knicks are in desperate need of a point guard. It's just puzzling why they've chosen Jose Calderon to fill the role.
The Knicks were stuck with Calderon two years ago when the Mavericks pawned off the veteran guard in exchange for Tyson Chandler and Raymond Felton. His injuries were well known and the Knicks experienced them first hand. In 2014, he missed more than half the season due to a nagging knee injury.
The once great three point shooter averages 7.6 points per game now and is constantly injured.
2 Kevin Love - Cleveland Cavaliers / 2016 salary: $19,689,000
The Cleveland Cavaliers thought they struck gold when they put Kevin Love alongside Kyrie Irving and Lebron James. After signing Love to a five-year contract extension worth nearly $115 million. the Cavaliers struck a match instead that lit a fuse to a complete disaster.
Since being traded to Cleveland from Minnesota, Love's performance has plummeted. The once elite scorer who dropped nearly 30 points a night and grabbed almost 15 rebounds is performing half as good as he once did.
Playing alongside LeBron James is supposed to enhance a player's capability, not damage it. Love has only damaged the Cavaliers payroll and enhanced his bank account.
1 Roy Hibbert - Los Angeles Lakers / 2016 salary: $15,592,216
It really is crazy how much money professional athletes get paid to play a game. But what players like Roy Hibbert make for playing the way they do is absolutely insane.
Hibbert was traded to the Lakers in the offseason by the Indiana Pacers. Sadly, Hibbert has failed miserably in Los Angeles. He scores six points a night and embarrassingly struggles to rebound the ball at 7-2. The money he will earn this season would be put to better use to help fund Kanye West's 2020 presidential campaign.
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