We're past the midway point of the 2021-22 NBA season and things have begun to come into focus. One thing we've focused on heavily this season is player contracts, especially with the Ben Simmons trade drama playing out in Philadelphia. While Simmons' deal is prohibitive, he doesn't have the worst contract in the league. We decided to compile the 10 worst deals in the NBA below. Hint: Simmons didn't even make the list.
The NBA's 10 Worst Contracts
10. Tobias Harris, Philadelphia 76ers
Here's the thing, Tobias Harris is not a bad basketball player. He's just a guy making way too much money for what he does on the court. He's making $35.9 million this season, will make $37.6 million next season and $39.2 million in 2023-24. For that money you expect a superstar, not a 29-year-old averaging 18.7 points and 7.5 rebounds per game while ranking 63rd in PER (17.98). To make matters worse, Harris is only hitting 47.6 percent from the field and 34 percent from 3-point range.
The Philadelphia 76ers are trying desperately to unload Harris and his awful deal but there's a reason they aren't finding any takers.
9. Al Horford, Boston Celtics
Luckily for the Boston Celtics, Al Horford's deal will be over after this season. He's making $27 million as a 35-year-old, so I'm not sure what anyone was expecting, but he's a shell of his former self. Horford is averaging 10.1 points and 7.2 rebounds in 28.6 minutes per game. His PER has fallen to 16.02 and he's hitting a career-low 43.4 percent from the field. His 3-point shooting has also bottomed out as he's hitting only 29.3 percent of his shots from beyond the arc.
Horford provides veteran leadership and everyone loves him, but this is still a terrible contract.
8. Gordon Hayward, Charlotte Hornets
Gordon Hayward is another guy who isn't a bad player, but is making way too much money. The Hornets are paying him $29.9 million this season, will owe him $30.1 million next year and $31.5 million in 2023-24. Hayward only played in 44 games last season and has dealt with a foot injury this year. He's averaging 17.0 points, 4.7 rebounds and 3.7 assists in 33.1 minutes per game and his PER of 16.42 ranks 86th in the NBA.
This was a terrible contract when it was signed. The oft-injured Hayward is 31 and the Hornets owe him big money over the next few years.
7. Derrick White, San Antonio Spurs
Derrick White isn't a bad player, he's just making way too much for the production he provides. He's in the first year of a four-year, $73 million deal and is playing ... OK basketball. He's a useful player, but not at that price.
The 27-year-old guard is averaging 14.2 points, 3.5 rebounds and 5.7 assists in 30.4 minutes per game. His PER of 16.32 ranks 90th in the league. He's shooting only 41.9 percent from the floor and 29.8 percent from beyond the arc. Yikes.
White is making $15.2 million this season, will make $16.4 next season, and is due $17.6 million in 2023-24 and $18.8 million during the 2024-25 season. This is a bad contract for a guy who isn't going to get any better and could definitely get worse.
6. Kristaps Porzingis, Dallas Mavericks
Kristaps Porzingis puts up counting stats (19.2 points, 7.7 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game) but there's little evidence he's helping the Dallas Mavericks win games. The Mavs gave up two first-rounders to get Porzingis in January of 2019 and if they could take that move back they would. They'd certainly want to get in Doc Brown's DeLorean to go back and stop themselves from handing him a five-year, $158 million contract while he was recovering from ACL surgery.
On paper, he should be great. Porzingis is a 7-foot-3, 240-pounder who can move, run the floor, rim protect and knock down 3-pointers. Unfortunately, it doesn't always work that way in practice. He's only hitting 28.3 percent of his shots from beyond the arc this season and his true shooting percentage has dropped to 56.1 as a result.
Porzingis is making $31.7 million this season, is due $33.8 million next season and holds a player option for $36 million for the 2023-24 campaign. He'll definitely pick up that option. For those prices a team should expect a perennial All-Star, and he isn't that.
5. Jonathan Isaac, Orlando Magic
Maybe this is harsh because of the level of talent Jonathan Isaac has, but being available is also a talent and he simply doesn't possess it. Isaac has only played in 37.4 percent of Orlando's games since the franchise made him the sixth pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. And he hasn't played since August of 2020 after tearing his ACL. The 24-year-old is nearly 18 months removed from surgery and still hasn't returned. Despite being injured, the Magic gave Isaac a four-year, $80 million extension in December of 2020.
In the 34 games he played during the 2019-20 season, Isaac averaged 11.9 points, 6.8 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 2.3 blocks and 1.6 steals per game. The 6-foot-10, athletic forward clearly has a ton of upside, he's just barely been able to show it.
The Magic had better pray he gets healthy, since he's making $17.4 million to not play this season and is due $17.4 million in each of the next three seasons.
4. Kevin Love, Cleveland Cavaliers
Give Kevin Love credit, he's shown himself to be a valuable bench piece for the Cleveland Cavaliers this season just when everyone thought his career was over. It's been inspiring to see him resurrect his career. Unfortunately, for what he's making, a nice bench piece isn't what's expected.
Love signed a four-year, $120 million extension in the summer of 2018. That means he's making $31.3 million this season and is due to make $28.9 million during the 2022-23 season. So far this season, he's averaging 14.1 points and 7.2 rebounds in 21.5 minutes per game. He's hitting 40.2 percent of his 3-point attempts, and his PER is 22.57, which ranks 17th league-wide. That's fantastic efficiency, but the 33-year-old can only play 21.5 minutes a game.
Again, it's been fun to watch Love be reborn and rediscover himself this season. But that contract is horrible given his relatively paltry production.
3. Davis Bertans, Washington Wizards
When the Washington Wizards handed Davis Bertans a five-year, $80 million deal in 2020, it raised some eyebrows around the league. That reaction was justified. Bertans is a 6-foot-10 three-point specialist and in the second year of that massive deal he's only hitting 32.4 percent of his shots from beyond the arc. Things have gotten so bad that the 29-year-old is only averaging 15.3 minutes per game and hasn't started once this season. He's only putting up 6.0 points and 1.9 rebounds when he does play.
Bertans is making $16 million this season, will make $16 million next season and $17 million during the 2023-24 campaign. The final year of the deal (2024-25) is fully guaranteed for $5 million. What an absolute mess of a deal.
2. Russell Westbrook, Los Angeles Lakers
Russell Westbrook's contract is truly untradeable, which makes it one of the worst in the league. The former MVP is making $44.2 million this season and holds a player option for an absurd $47 million for the 2022-23 season. For that money, the Los Angeles Lakers are getting the worst season of Westbrook's career.
So far, the 33-year-old is averaging 18.9 points, 7.8 rebounds and 7.7 assists in 34.8 minutes per game. That may not look terrible, but he's only hitting 44.5 percent of his shots from the field and 30.9 percent from beyond the arc. Westbrook's PER of 15.97 ranks 95th league-wide and is his lowest since his rookie season.
We've said all along that adding Westbrook and importing his contract was a terrible decision by the Lakers. We were right, as he's been a horrible fit with LeBron James and Anthony Davis. And his massive contract is preventing the Lakers from adding anything to their disappointing roster.
1. John Wall, Houston Rockets
Not only does John Wall have a horrific contract, he's not even playing. Wall has decided to sit out the season rather than play the role the Houston Rockets have envisioned for him. No one seems to be upset by this arrangement.
Wall is making $44.3 million this season and holds a player option for an insane $47.4 million next year. At 31, there might still be some juice left for him, but it's being wasted on the sidelines. Last season, Wall played 40 games and averaged 20.6 points, 3.2 rebounds and 6.9 assists in 32.2 minutes per game. While those numbers look nice, he only shot 40.4 percent from the field and 31.7 percent from beyond the arc. His PER of 15.46 was the lowest of his career.
Wall's contract has been the NBA's worst for years now, so this is no surprise. The fact that the former No. 1 overall pick isn't even playing just makes it worse.