10 Worst NBA Contracts

Philadelphia 76ers v Brooklyn Nets
Philadelphia 76ers v Brooklyn Nets / Jim McIsaac/GettyImages

The 2023 NBA free agency frenzy is underway. A lot of cash will be handed out over the next few weeks, so we decided to get out in front of those deals and list the worst contracts currently on the books across the NBA.

What follows is our list of the 10 player contracts in the league right now.

1. Ben Simmons, Brooklyn Nets

This is easily the worst contract in the NBA at the moment. Ben Simmons is a three-time All-Star and a has made three All-Defensive teams, but those days are long behind him. The Philadelphia 76ers signed the former No. 1 overall pick to a five-year, $177 million extension back in 2019 and it has been a disaster. The Sixers unloaded him on the Nets in February of 2022, in the middle of a year-long holdout. He finally got back on the court this season and averaged career-lows in points (6.9), rebounds (6.3), assists (6.1), steals (1.3) free throw percentage (43.9) and minutes (26.3). He's a shell of his former self and has had repeated back issues.

Simmons has two years and $78 million left on his contract and it will be nearly impossible for the Nets to ship him out because no one wants to touch that deal.

2. Davis Bertans, Oklahoma City Thunder

Bertans looked like a rising player when the Washington Wizards gave him a five-year, $80 million extension in November of 2020. A 6-foot-10, floor-stretching forward, Bertans looked like a great fit in the modern NBA. He got that contract coming off a career-year in which he averaged 15.4 points, and 4.5 rebounds per game while hitting 42.4 percent from 3-point range. He's never gotten close to that level again.

Things got so bad the Wizards shipped Bertans to Dallas as nothing more than salary ballast in the Kristaps Porzingis trade. With the Mavericks this past season he averaged 4.6 points and 1.2 rebounds in 10.9 minutes per game. The Mavs sent him to the Thunder on draft night, allowing OKC to jump from No. 12 to No. 10 by taking on the 30-year-old's contract. He's set to make $33 million over the next two seasons.

3. Rudy Gobert, Minnesota Timberwolves

In December of 2020, the Jazz signed Gobert to a five-year, $205 million extension. At the time, it was the third largest deal in NBA history. He was coming off back-to-back Defensive Player of the Year seasons and had been an All-Star for the first time in 2020. But many questioned the deal, given Gobert was limited offensively at center and didn't fit the modern NBA. Those detractors wound up being right. Gobert's defensive ability began to wane with age, and the Jazz traded him to the Timberwolves after the 2021-22 season.

This past season in Minnesota, Gobert's numbers were down across the board, as he averaged 13.4 points, 11.6 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game. The 31-year-old is a rapidly declining player and Minnesota is on the hook for more than $131 million over the next three years. It's an ugly deal.

4. Gordon Hayward, Charlotte Hornets

Back in 2020, the Hornets signed Hayward to a four-year, $120 million contract and precisely no one thought it made sense. He had never lived up to the big deal the Celtics gave him in three seasons with Boston thanks to injuries, and it felt like a crazy overpay. That turned out to be true. Hayward has put up some solid numbers in Charlotte but has been declining for years. During the 2022-23 season, he averaged 14.7 points, 4.3 rebounds and 4.1 assists in 31.5 minutes per game while only hitting 32.5 percent from 3-point range. He's putting up numbers on a terrible team.

The 33-year-old Hayward is due to make $31.5 million in the final year of his deal and it's a painful one for Charlotte.

5. Tobias Harris, Philadelphia 76ers

After landing Harris in a trade from the Clippers in 2019, the Sixers panicked that summer and gave him a five-year, $180 million extension so as not to risk losing his services. It was a mistake. Don't get me wrong, Harris has been an effective player -- particularly as a perimeter scorer -- but he's not worth an average of $36 million a year. Last season, Harris averaged 14.7 points, 5.7 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game while hitting 38.9 percent from 3-point range. That scoring average is his worst since 2016 (four teams ago) and the rebounding number is his worst since 2018.

Harris is due to make $39.3 million for the 2023-24 season. That's superstar money for a guy who has never made an All-Star or All-NBA team.

6. Bradley Beal, Phoenix Suns

Beal is still really good, but the Washington Wizards have to be thrilled they got out from under this contract by shipping him to the Phoenix Suns. The 30-year-old is about to enter the second year of a five-year, $251 million deal. The final season of that contract is a player option for $57.1 million. He'll almost certainly be opting in to that. During the 2022-23 season, Beal averaged 23.2 points, 3.9 rebounds and 5.4 assists in 33.5 minutes per game, while hitting 36.5 percent from 3-point range. That's a far cry from the 31.3 points per game he averaged back during the 2020-21 season.

The Suns are on the hook for $208 million over the next four seasons for Beal. It's a massive deal for a player who will likely be the third option behind Kevin Durant and Devin Booker.

7. John Collins, Utah Jazz

The Atlanta Hawks drafted and developed Collins so it was hard to let him go when he was up for a contract extension. Despite the forward not really fitting in with the long-term vision of the franchise, the Hawks signed him to a five-year, $125 million contract during the summer of 2021. It didn't take long for them to sour on that decision. Collins' play has fallen off rapidly since then, mostly because he doesn't fit the roster. During the 2019-20 season, he averaged 21.6 points and 10.1 rebounds per game. Last season those averages dropped to 13.1 points and 6.5 rebounds per contest. Atlanta finally found someone to take Collins of their hands, as the Jazz traded Rudy Gay and a future second-rounder to bring the 25-year-old on board.

The Jazz are now stuck paying Collins $78 million over the next three years, so they had better hope they can revitalize his career.

8. Kyle Lowry, Miami Heat

The Heat acquired Lowry via sign-and-trade back in the summer of 2021, inking him to a three-year, $85 million deal. It has been a terrible decision. A six-time All-Star with the Toronto Raptors from 2015 to 2020, Lowry hasn't been the same player since the trade. During his final season in Toronto (2020-21) he averaged 17.2 points, 5.4 rebounds and 7.2 assists, which made him a solid point guard. During the 2022-23 campaign in Miami, those numbers dropped to 11.2 points, 4.1 rebounds and 5.1 assists, and his 3-point percentage has fallen to 34.5. Not great.

Lowry has fallen off so far, the Heat have actually considered just waiving his contract and stretching it over multiple seasons to ease the hit on their books. He's 37 and is owed $29.7 million for the 2023-24 season, the final year of his contract.

9. Duncan Robinson, Miami Heat

Robinson had some big moments during Miami's run to the NBA Finals this season but before that, his play had fallen off significantly. He had become a reliable starter and elite 3-point shooter when the Heat signed him to a five-year, $90 million deal in the summer of 2021. That followed a season in which Robinson set career-highs in points (13.1), rebounds (3.5), assists (1.8) and minutes (31.4) per game. He also hit 40.8 percent of his 3-point attempts. He hasn't been the same player since.

During the 2022-23 campaign, Robinson averaged 6.4 points and 1.5 rebounds in 16.4 minutes per game, while only hitting 32.8 percent from 3-point range. In the postseason he did hit 44.2 percent of his 3-pointers and got his average back to 9.0 points per game, but he's still way off his career-highs.

The Heat owe Robinson $57.4 million over the next three seasons and they'll need to see a huge uptick in his numbers or this deal will be a complete bust.

10. Zach LaVine, Chicago Bulls

This is a tough one because LaVine was an All-Star in both 2021 and 2022, but it's more about the contract than his ability. He just finished the first season of a five-year max deal worth $215 million. He's due to make $40 million in the second year of the pact and it will escalate to $49 million when he's 31 during the 2026-27 campaign. That's an insane amount of money for a guy who doesn't look like a No. 1 on a championship-level squad.

During the 2022-23 season, LaVine averaged 24.8 points, 4.5 rebounds and 4.2 assists, while shooting 37.5 percent from 3-point range. While those are good numbers, they're down from his career-highs from the 2020-21 campaign. That year he averaged 27.4 points, 5.0 rebounds and 4.9 assists while hitting 38.9 percent from beyond the arc.

LaVine is a really nice player, but the Bulls are in way too deep on this contract for a guy whose numbers are declining and who would likely be a nice No. 2 on a contender.