Offseason Recap - Top 5 Worst Contracts
The summer spending bonanza of 2017 wasn’t quite as egregious as the summer prior. That year part-time players like Ian Mahinmi & Solomon Hill got paid like All-Stars as NBA general managers made it rain millions. This summer saw some serious fireworks but mostly in the form of trades involving ‘Melo, Jimmy Buckets, CP3, PG 13 and the weird/awesome Kyrie miniseries. The free agency period involved B, C & D level players either shuffling off to a new squad or re-upping with their current team.
The T-Wolves spent solid money on a middling point guard in Jeff Teague. Teague is a one-time All-Star; who, unfortunately, has completely forgotten how to play defense. He still has some offensive punch (13 points and 7.5 assists, 42% from 3) and is playing the most minutes per game of his career; however, his PER has plummeted nearly four points to 15.6.
This is a player that had an annual salary of $8 million on his last contract and now makes $19 million for the next three years. Teague’s contract is only going to look worse and worse after extensions for Jimmy Butler and Karl Anthony-Towns kick in. Leaping into repeat luxury tax territory, in Minnesota no less, for Teague is a hard pill for any owner to swallow.
The Miami Heat appear to be a team without a plan at this time. Reeling from the losses of LeBron, D-Wade and Chris Bosh’s medical retirement, Pat Riley is seemingly just throwing truckloads of money at detritus. This off-season, they inked Josh Richardson to a 4 year, $42 million dollar deal to be an undersized small forward and eat up Justise Winslow’s minutes. The Heat also gave Kelly Olynyk $50 million over 4 years to, what, annoy other Eastern Conference teams in the playoffs? Olynyk is 7 feet of 3 point shooting and not much else. He is hitting 48% of his triples but is only taking 2.5 per game because Miami does not currently employ a real point guard. They also gave James Johnson $60 million over 4 years for 11 points and a PER of 15. None of those moves make any sense. If the option is paying all these players to maybe make the 8th seed or bottom out...hello lottery!
Because numbers matter: the Heat are playing Josh Richardson and Tyler Johnson for a nearly 60 combined minutes per game while paying them $92 million for 4 years and a cumulative PER of 19.1. For comparison, players that no one is voting for the All-NBA team with a PER around 19 are Otto Porter, Dennis Schroder, 36 year old Z-Bo, and Kenneth Faried. Richardson is scoring 10 points and shooting 30% from 3. That shooting percentage is on par with renowned sharpshooters Rajon Rondo, Michael Carter-Williams and Lance Stephenson. Luckily, in 4 years the Heat will be free of all these contracts and Pat Riley will be retired to Malibu on the opposite coast as Miami.
The 76ers were desperate to add some veterans to their very young core and needed to meet the salary cap floor. For these reasons they doled out 1 year deals to J.J. Redick and Amir Johnson for $23 and $11 million respectively. Is it true that in today’s NBA market 5 points and 4 rebounds per game with a +/- of 2.4 is worth $11 million? Anyone watching Boston last year knew that Amir Johnson was D-O-N-E as a rotation player. He was worthless in the playoffs and looked like he wouldn’t make another NBA roster; this assumption was way off as Bryan Colangelo gave him a solid retirement fund to play 15 minutes per game. Redick is at least playing 33 minutes per game and scoring 16 points but shooting 10% worse than last year in Clipperland. $23 million will be worth every penny if J.J. can convince Ben Simmons to be right handed and learn how to shoot or rehabilitate Markelle Fultz’s tragically broken jumpshot.