As the saying goes, desperate times call for desperate measures. For NBA teams that are desperate to get good quickly, that desperation sometimes leads to handing out bad contracts to players who never live up to the money they were paid. Of course, other times, there are injuries or other circumstances that derail a player’s career, leaving the team holding the short end of the stick. Either way, we have compiled some of the worst contracts in NBA history that look downright dumb in retrospect.
Grant Hill, 7 Years, $93 million
It’s hard to blame the Magic for this contract. They thought they were getting Hill for the prime of his career and that he and Tracy McGrady could do amazing things together in Orlando. However, he only played four games in his first season because of ankle problems that would plague him the rest of his career. In fact, Hill could have died after getting a post-surgery infection.
To his credit, Hill played in over 60 games in two of his last three seasons with the Magic. But Orlando never got $93 million worth of production out of Hill because of the injuries.
Amar’e Stoudemire, 5 Years, $99.7 million
After one outstanding season with the Knicks, everything fell apart for Stoudemire. But injuries and personal issues would hinder him during the rest of his time in New York.
He played as few as 29 games for the Knicks one season and was little more than a role player who usually came off the bench. Outside of that first season, he was never the superstar who signed the massive contract in the first place.
Joakim Noah, 4 Years, $72 million
The Knicks can blame injuries for Stoudemire’s bad contract but they’re on the hook for Noah’s terrible deal. By the time Noah got to New York, he was already in his 30s and had a lot of miles on him. The guy played with so much intensity that he was always going to break down. Even during his best years with the Bulls, it’s debatable whether he would be worth $72 million over four years.
The Knicks paid big money for a player who was used up and missed a lot of time due to injuries and a suspension. Eventually, they let him go early and saved a little money, but only after they wasted a lot of money on a player well past his prime.
Rashard Lewis, 6 Years, $118 million
One could argue that Lewis was never worth anywhere close to the contract he got from Orlando in 2007. Even if he was getting paid $20 million per year during his last few seasons in Seattle, he would have been overpaid.
He was a good scorer but only made the All-Star Team twice. More importantly, his numbers plummeted as soon as he got to Orlando. He was also suspended for testing positive for a banned substance. Eventually, the Magic were able to trade him so that Lewis could finish his backloaded, six-year deal with another team.
Chandler Parsons, 4 Years, $94 million
How the Grizzlies could think that Parsons would ever be worth an average of $23.5 million per year is anybody’s guess. He missed time due to injuries in the two years before he signed with Memphis and never averaged more than 16.6 points per game in a season.
There was no reason to give a player like him a contract that made him the NBA’s 15th-high-paid player. The injuries continued and Parsons played in just 95 games for the Grizzlies over three years, barely averaging seven points per game. It doesn’t get much worse than that.