There are too many factors that come into play to cause an investment to become a negative one. From injuries to players’ development, among other issues off the court, it is always an unpredictable game that managers have to deal with. In recent years, we have seen some mind blowing deals thanks to the cap increase, which got many players paid much more than they are worth.
There have also been teams who overpaid players, believing that they would live up to the price tag once they developed – but that’s not always how it plays out. And of course we cannot forget about teams that shell out so much money to retain their free agent players, especially when they happen to be in high demand. While it is justified at times, we have also seen it backfire with several players. A few years ago, each NBA team was granted an Amnesty Clause, allowing them to release a player from their roster.
There are many teams that would surely love having that option once again as there are have been some awful investments made in the past offseasons. Some of these players will likely remain on their team until their deal expires, while others may be packaged with other pieces to make room for a different player. It is also worth mentioning that some teams may not have a truly terrible contract on their roster, so we went ahead and listed the worst one. Here are the worst current contract investment on every NBA team.
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30 Atlanta Hawks: Kent Bazemore
For the rebuilding Atlanta Hawks, Kent Bazemore isn’t a bad signing, but he happens to have the worst contract on the roster. He has had several decent seasons with the team, and could be on his way out in the near future. With two years left on his contract, Bazemore is set to earn approximately $40 million – but considering that there are much worse investments out there, the Hawks could afford to keep him around until his contract expires in 2020.
29 Boston Celtics: Marcus Smart
The Boston Celtics don’t currently have any bad contracts on the roster, although Gordon Hayward could end up on such list if he doesn’t recover well from his injury. For now, the recent extension given to Marcus Smart has to be the worst investment made by the Celtics, although that doesn’t negate his importance to the team. Now that he has signed a four-year extension, Smart could end up becoming a steal if he makes major strides with his shot.
28 Brooklyn Nets: Allen Crabbe
The Brooklyn Nets aren’t exactly competing for a Playoff spot at the moment as they continue rebuilding. With many young players and short term contracts, Allen Crabbe has to be the worst investment made by the Nets. While he isn’t a bad player by any means, his production doesn’t justify earning $18.5 million per season, although he should be fairly easy to trade if the Nets wish to get rid of his contract, especially once he enters his contract year.
27 Charlotte Hornets: Nicolas Batum
Nicolas Batum has proven to be a good all-around player in the NBA. Although he has failed to assist the Charlotte Hornets in advancing to the next level, and certainly hasn’t lived up to the expectations of a five year, $120 million contract. Batum has three years left with the final season being a player option – and he is unlikely to pass up on $27 million. If the Hornets wish to move him, they will certainly have to take on another bad contract.
26 Chicago Bulls: Zach LaVine
The latest contract given to Zach LaVine is already being questioned by fans of the Chicago Bulls. For the next four years, LaVine will be earning $78 million overall – and he will have to do plenty of work to prove himself worth of such numbers. While it is too early to rule out a possible breakout season by LaVine, his contract was certainly among the worst in the latest offseason. Considering his history of injuries and lack of efficiency, LaVine earns a spot on this list.
25 Cleveland Cavaliers: Tristan Thompson
It is no secret that LeBron James helped Tristan Thompson in receiving a 5-year deal that is worth $82 million. With James gone to the Los Angeles Lakers, and Thompson having two years left on his contract – he is certainly the worst investment on the roster. Thompson is a good role player but you won’t find many teams willing to pay $18 million per season for his services. To make matters worse, he isn’t the only bad contract on the Cleveland Cavaliers, so life post LeBron may not be great for the team.
24 Dallas Mavericks: Wesley Matthews
When the Dallas Mavericks signed Wesley Matthews to a four-year, $70 million contract in 2015, they were hoping that he would replicate his form with the Portland Trail Blazers. He hasn’t been reliable to say the least, struggling to find his place on the team. His shooting percentage has been taking a hit every season, but the good news is that Matthews’ contract expires next summer. With the latest additions of Luka Doncic and DeAndre Jordan, the Mavs may finally return to the Playoffs in the near future.
23 Denver Nuggets: Mason Plumlee
Mason Plumlee has to be the worst contract on the Denver Nuggets, but at least the deal isn’t bad enough to severely affect the franchise. With two years remaining, Plumlee is set to make approximately $13 million per season – and while that is certainly an overpayment for what he provides – the Nuggets aren’t losing sleep over his contract. He could be traded during the season as Plumlee hasn’t exactly been as reliable in his stint with the team thus far.
22 Detroit Pistons: Blake Griffin
Coming off a bad season with the Detroit Pistons, Blake Griffin will have to earn the major contract that he received from the Los Angeles Clippers in 2017. Not only is he expected to lead the Pistons to the Playoffs, but Griffin will have to live up to his contract for the next four years. He is among the highest paid players in the NBA, and based on his decline in recent times – he has become one of the worst investments in the league.
21 Golden State Warriors: Andre Iguodala
There is no doubt that Andre Iguodala is a great all-around player that all 30 NBA teams would love to have. But he also happens to be the worst investment on the Golden State Warriors – which is a credit to management for having many good contracts on the team. While Iguodala is clearly on the decline, he has been paid for his services for the team in the past rather than his expected contributions in the future. His contract is friendly enough to be moved if both sides wish to head for a split.
20 Houston Rockets: Ryan Anderson
Ryan Anderson has a case for being the most overpaid player in the league given his current production. With two years left on his deal – receiving $20 million per season – the Houston Rockets have struggled to find a trade partner. With his minutes seeing a reduction last season, Anderson’s role will certainly diminish if he remains with the Rockets for the season. As one of the worst investments in recent years, Anderson’s contract could end up being the factor that held back the Rockets from overcoming the Golden State Warriors.
19 Indiana Pacers: Doug McDermott
Doug McDermott is on a reasonable contract at the moment, but given the rest of the roster, he happens to be the worst investment for the Indiana Pacers. That’s not to discredit him as a player as McDermott will be a useful addition come next season, but for the sake of this list, he has the most questionable deal at the moment. And if he turns out to flop with the Pacers, they won’t find it difficult to find a trading partner.
18 Los Angeles Clippers: Danilo Gallinari
Over the years, Danilo Gallinari has proven to be a very good yet unreliable player with nagging injuries that cause him to miss time every season. With two years remaining on his contract and approximately $22 million per season, fans have to wonder whether Gallinari is worth the investment at this point. Not only has he been an injury prone, but he didn’t exactly set the court on fire when he dressed up for the Los Angeles Clippers last season.
17 Los Angeles Lakers: Luol Deng
The ongoing situation between the Los Angeles Lakers and Luol Deng is certainly among the strangest in modern history. He only played one game last season before the team decided to shut him down for the remainder of the year, despite earning $18 million per year. With two years left on his contract, Deng has turned out to be the worst investments as he has failed to replicate his old form with the Lakers. The team’s attempts to move him have fell flat so it will be intriguing to see how the situation gets resolved.
16 Memphis Grizzlies: Chandler Parsons
For the past few years, Chandler Parsons has been getting paid to warm the bench as he has been sidelined with various injuries. And whenever he was cleared to play, Parsons has contributed very little on the court to become among the highest paid yet worst players in the NBA. Sadly for the Memphis Grizzlies, they are stuck with Parsons’ deal for two more years especially since no other team seems to have much interest in his services. Based on his performances in recent years, it may end up being his final contract in the league.
15 Miami Heat: Hassan Whiteside
A few years ago, the Miami Heat were pleasantly surprise by Hassan Whiteside’s improvements as a player – earning a place on the 2016 NBA All-Defensive Second Team. It would earn him a four-year, $98 million deal that expires in the summer of 2020. Whiteside hasn’t progressed the way Miami had hoped as he took a step back last season with his overall play. Rumors suggest that the Heat are now attempting to offload him, but it appears that not many suitors are interested in paying him $26 million for two more years.
14 Milwaukee Bucks: John Henson
In his third year, John Henson earned a generous contract to keep him with the Milwaukee Bucks. He hasn’t exactly lived up to the value of a $44 million player, but the Bucks seem to be stuck with him despite their intentions on trading him away. With two years left on his contract, Henson’s minutes are likely to see a significant decrease since he hasn’t been very useful when called upon, as seen in the 2018 Playoffs when he struggled to make any impact.
13 Minnesota Timberwolves: Andrew Wiggins
Fans of the Minnesota Timberwolves may argue that Gorgui Dieng has a worse contract than Andrew Wiggins, but given the difference in salary and expectations – it is easy to see why the latter ended up on this list. The first pick of the 2014 NBA Draft hasn’t lived up to the hype thus far with his performances being questioned by fans and media alike. Timberwolves remain convinced that Wiggins could reach his potential despite being involved in trade discussions, but Wiggins will have to start a new chapter if he wishes to live up to his loaded five-year contract. Next season, he is set to earn $25 million as the deal continues to increase until his fifth year in which Wiggins is set to make $33 million.
12 New Orleans Pelicans: Solomon Hill
The New Orleans Pelicans will be hoping that Solomon Hill can bounce back after having an underwhelming season. Although he was recovering from a torn hamstring in the offseason, Hill never got back on track with his play. Considering his level of production the season before, it still doesn’t justify paying him $13 million per season. With two years left on his contract, Hill may end up being a useful role player, but there is also a chance that he will be getting paid while warming up the bench.
11 New York Knicks : Joakim Noah
From a two-time All-Star and Defensive Player of the Year to a bench warmer, Joakim Noah has had one of the worst declines in recent years. He had always struggled with injuries even during his prime years, but Noah has only played 53 games for the New York Knicks in two seasons. Yet he is set to make $19 million for the next two years where he will most likely continue to warm the bench until his deal expires in 2020.
10 Oklahoma City Thunder: Patrick Patterson
A few years ago, Patrick Patterson was one of the better role players in the league, helping the Toronto Raptors make the Playoffs for a number of years. But he has also been on a steady decline that became much more visible once he joined the Oklahoma City Thunder, where he struggled to be a major contributor off the bench. Patterson has two years left on his contract – one of which is a player option – and he will be earning approximately $5.5 per million. For that salary, OKC could likely invest it into a better player at this point.
9 Orlando Magic: Timofey Mozgov
When the Los Angeles Lakers signed Timofey Mozgov to a 4 year, $64 million deal in 2016, it was already perceived as a terrible investment which turned out to be true after all. Fast forward to 2018. Mozgov is now playing for the Orlando Magic with two years left on his contract.Based on Mozgov’s production on the court, $16 million is a gross overpayment as he hasn’t come close to live up to his price tag. And we don’t see that changing in the next two seasons.
8 Philadelphia Sixers: Jerryd Bayless
The Philadlephia Sixers are fortunate enough to not have a bad contract on the roster. Jerry Bayless is a useful addition to the team but he only has $8.5 million on the books with his deal expiring next summer. It’s not exactly a terrible deal for a back up point guard who has been in the NBA for over a decade. If Markelle Fultz fails to get his career back on track, then he may end up as the worst investment made by the Sixers in recent times.
7 Phoenix Suns: Brandon Knight
Six years into his career, Brandon Knight has yet to find consistency with his player. Following an impressive season in 2014-15, he earned a five year contract that is worth $70 million – but Knight hasn’t been quite as good as his price tag. And now that the Suns have many top draft picks on their roster, Knight’s minutes will be most likely be reduced as witnessed last season. Despite his inefficiency as a shooter, as well as many flaws to his game, Suns should still be able to find a trade partner for Knight.
6 Portland Trail Blazers: Evan Turner
When the Portland Trail Blazers invested $70 million on a four year deal for the services of Evan Turner, they were hoping that he would replicate his form with the Boston Celtics. But he has struggled to fill the role given to him to become the worst contract on their roster. With this season set to be crucial for the future of the Blazers, Turner is among the many players who could be move on the move – depending how the early months play out.
5 Sacramento Kings: Nemanja Bjelica
The Sacramento Kings’ roster consists of younger player who happen to be on reasonable contracts, so there isn’t a single deal that stands out among the rest. Their most recent signing Nermanja Bjelica would have to be their worst investment to date, but he probably won’t have that label for much longer. With many of their players set for extensions soon, there will surely be someone who gets paid more than they are worth. It nearly happened this summer when the Kings made an offer to Zach LaVine – although the Chicago Bulls ended up matching it.
4 San Antonio Spurs: Pau Gasol
Pau Gasol doesn’t get enough credit as one of the best big men of his generation. But now that he is 38 years old and continues to decline, we find it tough to justify paying him $16 million per season. He is on the books for two more seasons and it is likely that Gasol calls it a career as he turns 40. Given his recent performances, Gasol is certainly good enough to remain in the NBA but not in his current role with the Spurs.
3 Toronto Raptors: Serge Ibaka
There is plenty of hype surrounding the Toronto Raptors thanks to the addition of Kawhi Leonard. But the biggest question mark at the moment is whether Serge Ibaka is good enough to feature in such a major role for the team. It is evident that Ibaka has been declining in recent years, and his poor showing in the Playoffs didn’t do him any favors. As he continues to earn approximately $22 million per season for the next two years, the Raptors’ only hope is that Ibaka can turn it around – otherwise he will establish himself as one of the top five worst contracts in the league.
2 Utah Jazz: Alec Burks
Utah Jazz are one of the few teams in the league with the luxury of not having a bad contract on the roster. At the moment, Alec Burks’ remaining one year deal for $11.5 million has to be the worst, but it pales in comparison to players from different teams. Burks is set to become a free agent next season, and he surely won’t command as much money on the market given that his role has diminished in the past two years.
1 Washington Wizards: Ian Mahinmi
Ian Mahinmi was lucky enough to cash on a huge contract with the Washington Wizards following a semi-breakout season with the Indiana Pacers. Two years since then, Mahinmi hasn’t come close to living up to his price tag of $64 million over the course of four years. If the Wizards had been wiser with their cap space, it is very likely that the team would have fared better in the Playoffs, but bad deals such as this one have held them back.