NBA Free Agent Contracts A Race for Ridiculousness

The 2010 NBA Free Agency is like the nuclear arms race. Teams are racing to sign free agents first so the other teams don’t get them. The problem is, the money being thrown out there is absolutely ludicrous. The list of highly overpaid players is growing by the minute.

The following is a list of bad contracts thus far:

Drew Gooden, Milwaukee Bucks, 5-year $32 million, career average: 11.9 ppg 7.9 rpg
Amir Johnson, Toronto Raptors, 5-year $34 million, career average: 4.7 ppg 4.2 rpg
Darko Milicic, Minnesota Timberwolves, 4-year $20 million, career average: 5.6 ppg 4.1 rpg
Channing Frye, Phoenix Suns, 5-year $30 million, career average: 8.9 ppg 4.7 rpg
Hakim Warrick, Phoenix Suns, 4-year $18 million, career average: 10.1 ppg 4.3 rpg

NBA teams cleared up all kinds of cap space in order to get their piece of the pie in this record-breaking free agency, but paying this kind of money for bench warmers is not exactly prudent.

Okay, Gooden isn’t really a bench warmer, but his 14.8 ppg and 9.4 rpg in 24 games last year came as a Los Angeles Clipper. Someone had to get stats on that team. Before that, he was averaging 8.9 ppg and 6.9 rpg for Dallas. Extremely average numbers for a guy who is about to average more than $6 million a year.

In addition, he hasn’t been on the same team for more than three years. Are the Bucks really investing five years in Gooden? They’re essentially saying that there is no one better who will come along in the next five years who could start or be the first big man off the bench. For that money? You must be joking. In fact, I thought the deal was a joke when I first heard about it.

The Johnson and Milicic deals are self-explanatory. I feel like I’m making the most rhetorical and obvious statement when I point out how awful both of their offers were.

The Raptors are losing Chris Bosh so they looked for the next guy on their team who most closely resembled Bosh physically. Spotted: Amir Johnson, 6’9″, 210 lbs., power forward.

“Let’s offer him a 5-year, $34 million deal even though he averaged less than five points and five rebounds for his career and only averaged 17.7 minutes for us last year,” the Raptors said. Johnson thought to himself, “How fast can I sign the paper before they change their mind and figure out that I’m not really Chris Bosh Lite?”

As for Milicic, no one even wanted him. Since he got drafted second in 2003 (over Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade), Milicic has been floundering around with terrible numbers. With the New York Knicks this past season, Milicic couldn’t even get off the bench most nights. His DNPs depressed him so much that he stated that he wanted to leave the NBA for Europe after the season.

Enter David Kahn, president of basketball operations for the Minnesota Timberwolves. His mysterious (insane?) bromantic love for Milicic earned Milicic $3 million more per year on average than any other front office NBA personnel was willing to give.

Losing Amare Stoudemire clearly had the Suns scrambling so they hastened into terrible deals with Frye and Warrick. Frye’s career numbers are mediocre at best and Warrick is a career backup. In addition, the five years and four years, respectively, are just too long. Both are unproven, and if neither is producing, the Suns will be stuck with their contracts for multiple years.

The Suns will be stuck with the same situation that they are in now with Leandro Barbosa. Barbosa signed a five-year, $33 million extension in 2006. He is scheduled to make almost $15 million over the next two years, a contract I’m sure the Suns regret offering now.

Speaking of Stoudemire, he is the most overrated max-contract free agent (five-year, $100 million deal). Not only can he thank Steve Nash for his stats, his knee is a problem and he wears goggles. Soon, the entire world will finally realize that he has no post moves and can only shoot jumpers. New York fans, your problem now.

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