The NBA is all about star power and as a result, we will see teams make extremely risky moves in free agency. Sometimes it pays off—and other times, well, it is a disaster.
Let’s check out the 10 worst free agent signings in NBA history.
During the first leg of his career, Lewis was one of the best shooters in game, paired alongside Ray Allen in Seattle. The 6’ 10” shoot-first power forward enticed a lot of suitors in free agency and ended up signing with a promising young Magic team on a six-year $118 million dollar deal.
He showed some signs of life early on and was a key contributor during the Magic’s FinAs run alongside Dwight Howard, but he was never able to live up to the massive percentage of the cap he represented. So much so that he didn’t even finish the deal in Orlando, they ended up dealing him to Washington for pennies on the dollar.
The summer of 2016 was a special time for bad free agent signings and the deal that Memphis gave to Chandler Parsons is right up there with the worst of them.
In spite of the fact that Parsons never even earned an All-Star nod, they decided to give him $94 million over four years, thinking he could blossom into a star after averaging just under 14 PPG during his contract year in Dallas.
Memphis made a glorified role player into the 15th-highest-paid player in the league and he rewarded them by averaging 7.1 PPG and missing a ton of time due to injury.
$13.1 million over six years may not look like a huge figure, but in 1989 it sure was. Especially for a player like Jon Koncak, who averaged just 4.1 points and 4.9 rebounds per game as a reserve for the Atlanta Hawks after getting the deal.
Coming out of high school Darius Miles was one of the most exciting young players in basketball, but he was struggling to fully recognize his potential with the Clippers.
Portland, eager to bring a superstar talent to the Pacific Northwest, threw a six-year 48 million deal at him, but unfortunately, knee injuries really limited his progression and ultimately his career.
The Orlando Magic deserve a pass on this one because, at the time they signed Grant Hill, he was one of the best and most complete players in the league. A nagging ankle injury, however, turned into something complex and devastating and turned Hill from a perennial All-NBA caliber player to scrappy contributor that didn’t exactly warrant a $93 million contract.
When the Cavs signed Larry Hughes to a five-year $70 million contract in 2005, he was coming off a monster year in Washington. Cleveland had dreams that he might be LeBron’s “Scottie Pippen.”
Unfortunately, he never came close to hitting those highs again.
Elton Brand was a great player during his prime, no doubt, but it was rather curious when the 76ers gave him a nearly $80 million contract right after he ruptured his Achilles tendon.
He was a solid role player for Philly, but never fully regained form or lived up to the value of his contract.
For seemingly no reason, the Los Angeles Lakers gave lumbering center, Timofey Mozgov, a four-year $64 million contract during the 2016 offseason.
This one looked like a bad decision at the time and aged like milk in July. Within one year, Mozgov was chased out of town.
During his time with the Detroit Pistons, Ben Wallace was one of the most electric defenders in the game.
Which is why the Chicago Bulls were willing to fork over $60 million over four years, despite Wallace having posted just 7.3 points, 11.3 rebounds, and 2.2 blocks per game during his contract year in Detroit.
The error in their ways, however, was that Wallace was already 32 years old and his high-impact, high-effort style of basketball didn’t age gracefully.
The undersized center didn’t even make it two full seasons in Chicago before the Bulls had to trade him at a loss.
There are some unsuccessful signings that are tainted by misfortune or bad luck. Something goes wrong that’s outside of everyone’s control.
This was not the case when the Knicks signed Joakim Noah. There was no reason for them to fork over a four-year $72 million deal to the aging power forward, he was coming off a season with Chicago in which he averaged just 4.3 points and 8.8 rebounds per game.
Granted, scoring was never his M.O. but still, it was clear he wasn’t the same player as he was during their heyday.
Noah, however, was old and injured and never amounted to anything in New York other than a series of depressing snapshots of him on the bench in street clothes.
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