The NBA season is winding to a close. While many are focused on the playoffs and what’s in store for the offseason, we think it’s worth taking a look at some of the worst contracts the league currently has to offer.
Here’s our list of the NBA’s 10 worst contracts right now.
10. Kevin Love, Cleveland Cavaliers
After losing LeBron James to the Lakers this summer, the Cleveland Cavaliers splurged to retain Kevin Love long-term. The Cavs handed him a four-year, $120 million deal that won’t kick in until 2019. It was a terrible idea.
Love promptly got injured and has missed all but 21 games this season. The 30-year-old is averaging 17.6 points, 11.2 rebounds and 2.2 assists in 27.9 minutes per game. His PER of 19.49 is at a three-year low. And his extension hasn’t even started yet.
The oft-injured forward will make an average of $30.1 million over the next four years. There’s no doubt this is an awful deal.
1. John Wall, Washington Wizards
Here’s the thing about the four-year, $169.3 million extension John Wall and the Washington Wizards agreed to in July of 2017: It’s not just the worst contract in the NBA right now, it may be the worst in the league’s history. Oh, and it hasn’t even begun to kick in yet.
That’s right, Wall’s huge extension doesn’t even begin until the start of the 2019-20 season. Over the next four years, he’ll average an insane $42.3 million a year; in 2021-22 he’ll make $43.8 million and in 2022-23 he’ll make a ridiculous $46.87 million.
So what will the Wizards be getting in exchange for the GDP of a small island nation? A diminishing, oft-injured point guard whose teammates don’t really like him. Sounds great, right?
Wall only played in 41 games last season and has only been on the floor for 32 this year. When he did see the floor his numbers weren’t great. He averaged 20.7 points, 8.7 assists and 3.6 rebounds in 34.5 minutes per game. His PER (18.11) is at its lowest since 2012, his VORP (0.5) ranks 167th, his box plus/minus (-0.2) would rank 111th if he qualified and he ranks 279th in win shares (1.2).
This deal is so bad it’s untradable. In a league where bad trades are made all the time, that’s an incredible accomplishment.
The Wizards are going to have to pay Wall every cent of that deal. And it’s going to prevent them from seriously competing any time soon.
9. Gordon Hayward, Boston Celtics
Look, I like Gordon Hayward, you like Gordon Hayward, we all like Gordon Hayward. But facts are facts, and his current deal looks terrible.
Hayward signed a four-year, $127.8 million deal with the Boston Celtics in the summer of 2017 and immediately suffered a devastating injury during his first game in a green jersey. In his first year back, Hayward has been nowhere near the same player.
Hayward is averaging just 11.3 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.4 assists in 25.7 minutes per game. His PER of 15.39 his the worst since his rookie year in 2010-11. He currently ranks 92nd in win shares (4.6) and 104th in value over replacement player (1.1).
He’s due to make nearly $67 million over the next two years on a deal that averages $31.96 million over its four-year life. Unless he makes a huge recovery, this contract looks awful. Here’s hoping he recovers.
8. Ian Mahinmi, Washington Wizards
In the season before he was signed, Mahinmi averaged just 9.3 points, and 7.1 rebounds in 25.6 minutes per game for the Pacers. Somehow that convinced the Wizards to back up the Brinks truck for the Frenchman simply because…he’s tall?
Over the first three years of this contract, Mahinmi has averaged 4.8 points and 4.1 rebounds in 15.4 minutes. He’s due another $15.45 million next season and will have averaged $16 million a year over the length of the deal. Oh, and he’s only made six starts in his first three years with the Wizards.
If this deal didn’t expire after next season, it would be far higher on the list.
7. Otto Porter Jr., Chicago Bulls
Otto Porter Jr. inked a four-year, $106.5 million deal as a restricted free agent in 2017. The Wizards were forced to match that huge offer sheet after the Brooklyn Nets made a run at Porter in free agency. Since then, the contract has not been anywhere near worth it.
Things have gotten so bad that the Wizards traded Porter to the Chicago Bulls this season. This year he’s averaging just 13.9 points, 5.6 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game. His PER of 15.91 ranks 98th in the NBA and is his lowest since 2016, and his true shooting percentage of 55.1 is his lowest since 2015. On top of that, his VORP (1.1) ranks 107th and his win shares (3.3) rank 132nd.
The deal will average $26.6 million over its four years, which is an insanely high price to pay for someone to fall short of expectations.
Porter is still just 25 years old, is talented and can shoot, so there is a chance he could grow into that contract. But he’s due a massive $55.7 million over the next two years before hitting free agency in 2021.
6. Hassan Whiteside, Miami Heat
This is a classic “re-sign a guy so your fans don’t get mad” contract. Hassan Whiteside got a four-year, $98.4 million deal from the Miami Heat in 2016 and hasn’t come within miles of living up to it.
This season, Whiteside is averaging 12.3 points, 11.5 rebounds and 1.9 blocks in 23.5 minutes per game. His PER of 23.21 looks good on paper, but it’s lower than his numbers from the past. Meanwhile, his VORP (1.1) ranks 104th in the NBA, while his box plus/minus (0.6) ranks 88th and he ranks 57th in win shares (5.9). He’s also missed a number of games over the last two seasons due to injuries.
Whiteside is 29 and has a player option for $27 million that he will absolutely exercise. The Heat are stuck with that contract unless they can find someone to take it off their hands this offseason.
He’s an aging center who mostly relied on his athleticism to get by. That’s not a good recipe for future success. Whiteside has been a terrible investment for Miami.
5. Andrew Wiggins, Minnesota Timberwolves
When Andrew Wiggins was the No. 1 pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, many expected him to be the league’s next big thing. When the Minnesota Timberwolves handed him a four-year, $147.7 million extension in 2017, they clearly believed it too. Well, it’s safe to say, he isn’t.
Wiggins’ extension started this season and things haven’t gone well. He hit career-highs in points per game (23.6) and PER (16.62) in 2016-17 to earn that contract. It’s been all downhill from there. This season Wiggins is averaging 17.9 points per game, shooting a career-low 40.5 percent from the field and just 33.1 percent from 3-point range. His PER (12.19) and true shooting percentage (48.7) are also at career-lows.
Wiggins is just 24 years old but it’s hard to see him getting any better. This season his VORP (-0.7) ranks 509th (!!!!!) in the league. He ranks 359th in win shares (0.5) and his box plus/minus (-3.1) ranks 183rd.
Minnesota owes the former No. 1 pick $122.2 million over the next three years and, according to advanced stats, he’s one of the NBA’s worst players.
4. Nicolas Batum, Charlotte Hornets
On July 7, 2016, the Charlotte Hornets re-signed Nicolas Batum with a five-year, $120 million contract. That deal came after Batum set career-highs in points (15.1), rebounds (6.2) and assists (5.9). Since that time he’s been little more than a disaster.
Batum has bottomed out this season, averaging 9.8 points, 5.3 rebounds and 3.4 assists in 31.9 minutes per game. The 30-year-old’s PER has dropped to a career-low 12.13. It’s been a bad year.
Batum’s advanced numbers don’t look much better. This season his VORP (1.7) ranks 72nd in the NBA, his box plus/minus (0.9) ranks 77th and he ranks 116th in win shares (3.7).
Batum is owed $52.7 million over the next two seasons and his five-year deal has cost an average of $24 million a year and has been a complete mess for Charlotte from the beginning.
3. Chris Paul, Houston Rockets
Yeah, I put Chris Paulon here, so what? When the Houston Rockets signed the 33-year-old to a four-year, $160 million contract you bet I thought it was a horrible move. Paul is one of the best players of his era, a nine-time All-Star, eight time All-NBA pick and a nine-time NBA All-Defensive pick. But he also spent a significant chunk of the last seven seasons battling injuries. It’s happened again this year.
Paul is arguably having his worst year as a professional. He’s averaging career-lows in points (15.7), field goal percentage (41.7 percent) and PER (19.52). Meanwhile, his turnover rate is at a career-high (10.7).
Paul has always posted solid advanced stats, but he’s taken a nosedive this year. His VORP (2.2) ranks 54th, his box plus/minus (2.8) ranks 47th and he’s 50th in win shares (6.1). His win shares per 48 minutes (.166) have also bottomed out as he ranks 37th.
Paul is an aging guard in a league full of young and talented ones. He’s also in the first year of a contract that will pay him an annual average of $39.93 million a year. He has three years and $124.1 million left on the deal and in 2021-22 he’ll be 36 and making an insane $44.2 million.
I know, I know, he’s Chris Paul. He’s one of the best point guards of this generation. But he’s also wildly overpaid and there’s no way around saying that. This was a terrible deal from the moment it was signed.
2. Blake Griffin, Detroit Pistons
Blake Griffin may have been an All-Star this year, but that doesn’t mean his contract isn’t terrible. Griffin inked a five-year, $171.2 million max extension with the Los Angeles Clippers in 2017, and the deal was so bad they traded him away half a season later. Now he’s the Detroit Pistons’ problem.
Griffin is in the second year of a contract that will pay him an average of $34.2 million per season. He has three years and a ridiculous $109.8 million left on this current contract. In the final year (a player option for 2021-22 he’ll definitely exercise), Griffin will turn 33 and make $38.957 million.
On the surface, some of Griffin’s numbers look good. He’s averaging a decent 24.7 points per game while pulling down 7.7 rebounds an averaging 35.2 minutes. But his PER (20.95) ranks 33rd in the league and his turnover rate (11.4) is at a career-high. And while his VORP (4.2) ranks 14th, and he’s 17th in box plus/minus (4.6), he’s fallen to 28th in win shares (7.6) and 51st in win shares per 48 (.144).
Griffin’s numbers aren’t as bad as some on this list, but it’s also clear he’s not going to be the key piece of a championship roster. Unfortunately for the Pistons, he’s being paid like one. And will be for the foreseeable future.