2020 free agency saw a lot of players secure the bag, but it’s nothing when you compare it to the contracts signed in 2016.
That offseason featured a spike in salary cap that had many teams eager to secure long-term, high-paying contracts to players who hadn’t necessarily earned them. Role players that included Timofey Mozgov, Nicolas Batum, Hassan Whiteside, Chandler Parsons, and Evan Turner combined to ink contracts totaling $455 million. And while they there all coming off decent performances in the season leading up their free agency, it’s unusual for role players to be offered such sizeable contracts.
In total, at least 13 players without a single All-Star appearance signed contracts of at least $45 million.
2016 Free Agency, what a time
Evan Turner-4Yr/$70 M
Ryan Anderson-4Yr/$80 M
Allen Crabbe-4Yr/$75 M
Solomon Hill-4Yr/$48 M
— Hoop Central (@TheHoopCentral) November 27, 2020
Even at the time, the deals were raising eyebrows of those within the community, especially in Los Angeles, where the Lakers spent an insane $136 million on Luol Deng and Timofey Mozgov, who combined to average 14 points per game during their first season in LA.
Perhaps most amazing of all is the fact that just four and a half years later, only one player on the list outlined in the tweet above still gets regular minutes in the NBA.
Needless to say, the summer of 2016 was full of mistakes, many of which they are still paying for today. Despite Deng having left the team in 2018, the Lakers are still required to pay him $5 million a year, and will remain on the team’s books until the 2021/22 season. Batum, who turns 32 next month, will be getting paid about $9 million annually through the 2022/23 campaign.
Bad contracts still happen all the time, and this current free agency period has been no different. But to have so many role-players earn superstar money in the span of a few weeks really says a lot about the situation in 2016. If there was a time machine, you can bet many GMs would love to go back to that summer and change a few things.
Kudos to those players, though, for fattening up their wallets.