Buyer Beware: The Worst Free Agent Contracts In NBA History
Free agency is nearly upon on us … Fans are waiting to see what their favorite players and teams will do … But is free agency all it’s cracked up to be? … Signings can backfire, decimating franchises for decades … Don’t believe me? … Check out some of the worst free agent contracts in NBA history …
When the clock hits on June 30th, NBA GMs and agents will engage in hi-stakes poker, negotiating multi-million dollar player contracts.
They’ll barter over the dollar amount. They’ll argue over escape clauses. And they’ll haggle over the length of the contract.
Fans will log-on to the internet and hit re-fresh constantly, hoping their team signed the best players for the cheapest price. After all, fans know the salary cap-even if some GMs don’t.
But free agents don’t always improve teams. In fact, they often do the exact opposite.
Entire franchises have been destroyed by one bad contract. So with free agency just a day away, I thought it would be appropriate to re-visit some of the worst summertime contracts in NBA history.
GMs should read this list and consider themselves warned. After all, free agency is a buyer beware situation.
1) The Player: Jon Koncak,
The Damage: six years, 13 million dollars.
The Legacy: Believe it or not, haven’t always been the NBA’s biggest joke. There was a time when
In the late eighties, nobody could touch Dominique Wilkins, Moses Malone,
Their downfall began with one transaction: the Jon Koncak signing. In 1989, the Celtics had started to fade, and the Hawks and Pistons were dueling for Eastern Conference supremacy. Koncak, a back-up center with
Koncak found himself making more money than NBA greats like Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson and Larry Bird. This was a huge mistake.
The Hawks are still recovering from the legacy of Jon Koncak.
2) The Player: Bryant Reeves,
The Damage: six years, 66 million dollars.
The Legacy: Good teams make smart decisions, while bad teams make terrible decisions. For example, the Vancouver Grizzlies, the worst team in NBA history, gave Bryant Reeves a 66 million dollar contract extension.
After signing his new contract, Reeves went on to lead the NBA in two categories: cheeseburgers devoured and all you can eat buffets. His 66 million dollar deal took up a large portion of the Grizzlies’ salary cap. This made it difficult for the team to bring in talented players. Eventually, Michael "I am committed to keeping the team in
3) The Player: Jim McIlvaine
The Damage: 5 years, 35 million dollars.
The Legacy: Jim McIlvaine destroyed the . Who? Jim McIlvaine! His contract set off events that destroyed the great Sonic teams of the 1990’s.
In 1995-1996, McIlvaine averaged a measly 2.3 points per game for
Kemp was so frustrated with McIlvaine’s contract that he skipped the team’s training camp in October of 1996. The "Reign Man" poisoned the Sonics with his bad attitude and off the court issues. Kemp was soon traded to as part of a three-way trade.
All in a day’s work for Jim!
Honorable, or not-so honorable, Mention:
Juwan Howard: 108 million dollars
hasn’t done much since scoring a huge deal with the Bullets/Wizards in 1996. There’s always
Keith Van Horn: "Max Contract "
He was the NBA’s version of Where is Waldo? Van Horn did time in
Raef LaFrentz: 63 million dollars
Dan Issel tortured him in
Anfernee Hardaway: 87 million dollars
Yogi Stewart: 24 million dollars
After a solid rookie year with the Kings, Stewart landed a massive contract with the Raptors. Yogi went MIA in
Erick Dampier: 63 million dollars
‘Damp’ had some decent years in
Allan Houston: 100 million dollars
After inking a mega-deal with the Knicks, Houston injured his knee. The fan favorite was never the same and retired a few years ago. Apparently, the former sharp-shooter is scheming on a comeback.
Brian Cardinal: 37 million dollars
He makes nice money for a 12th man. Cardinal’s contract wasn’t one of Jerry West’s finer moments. Even The Logo makes mistakes-just don’t tell Kobe Bryant!
Howard Eisley: 41 million dollars
A career back-up, Eisley struck gold on the open-market. However, nobody told Eisley that a raise in pay means a raise in play. After inking this deal, Eisley bounced around the league before retiring somewhere warm. Again, the NBA is nice work if you can get it.
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Parts of this article has appeared in hoopsvibe before. However, the article was updated and modified for the reader.