NBA teams have been known to offer questionable contracts for as long as player and agent negotiation has been possible. Players with a single good season can be offered massive extensions when in actuality it was just a fluke year. Similarly, we have seen teams sign a player to a massive extension just to keep themselves competitive, when the player is nowhere near as talented as the money suggests. You can't go a single season without having a player in the league signed on a terrible contract, earning ridiculous amounts of money for average play.
Throughout NBA history, there have been a select few that truly stood out as the worst we have seen to date. By ranking the top ten worst contracts in NBA history, it is time to discover which players signed the most ridiculous and underserved contracts that left franchises in financial turmoil.
10. Gilbert Arenas - 2008 (6 years, $111 million)
To kick off the list of the most hilarious contracts in NBA history, it is only fitting to start with Gilbert Arenas. Arenas is known as the guy who inexplicably brought a set of guns to an NBA locker room, but that isn't the only reason why this contract ranks in at number 10. Arenas was coming off a knee injury in the 2007 season which saw him suit up for only 13 games before the Wizards extended the former All-Star for 6 years.
This was an utter disaster as Arenas lasted 2 seasons before being traded a few times before his retirement. The gun incident made this deal even worse as he brought guns to the locker room after a gambling spat with former teammate Javaris Crittenton (who is now in jail), and Arenas didn't seem to be too apologetic either during the NBAs investigation.
9. Ben Wallace - 2006 (4 years, $60 million)
Ben Wallace is a Hall of Famer, and like many great players in NBA history, he received a big contract that he simply didn't deserve. Big Ben was 31 years old when the Chicago Bulls thought it was best to offer him a 4-year deal worth $60 million. While a prime Ben Wallace was certainly worth this money thanks to his All-NBA Defensive Team capabilities and floor leadership, he was way past his prime by the time he put pen to paper.
Wallace didn't last with the Bulls before getting traded to New Orleans and later the Cleveland Cavaliers. Wallace was never an offensive threat by any means, and once his defensive capabilities began to decline due to age and attrition, this deal has to be one of the worst ever.
8. Allan Houston - 2001 (6 years, $100 million)
Allan Houston was an All-Star player for the Knicks who might have deserved this deal a few years before he actually did sign a contract. At the time of the deal, Houston was 30 years old and was mainly a complementary star rather than a franchise player. Still, the Knicks felt they were better off signing Houston to a whopping 6-year deal. Nobody knows if the Knicks knew he would be 36 by the end of the deal, but they proceeded with it anyway.
After 2 good seasons, Houston began to decline after a major knee injury that derailed his career. Rather than being the franchise player, the Knicks hoped he would be, Houston became a massive burden to the franchise as a player in his 30's. The Knicks were fortunate that the league included an amnesty option known as the "Allan Houston" rule which considers injury insurance payments with regards to contractual obligations.
7. Timofey Mozgov - 2016 (4 years, $64 million)
The first worst of insane contracts handed out in 2016 was Timofey Mozgov for a 4-year deal worth over $60 million. The Los Angeles Lakers also gave Luol Deng a $72 million deal in the same offseason, which is shocking considering the amount of cap space they had after Kobe Bryant retired. While it is easy to include Luol Deng here, Mozgov was just plain unacceptable. Deng was an All-Star at some point in his career, while Mozgov was always a backup center who was only known for getting posterized by Blake Griffin and not for his play.
Mozgov started the 2015 Finals out of necessity for the Cleveland Cavaliers, but he wasn't the guy the Lakers needed after Kobe Bryant retired. Mozgov has a career average of 6.8 PPG and 4.9 RPG which is embarrassingly low for a player making $64 million. Thank the heavens that the Lakers are run properly again because a deal like this should never happen again.
6. Bismack Biyombo - 2016 (4 years, $68 million)
Another bad contract in a string of laughable deals handed out in 2016 was the 4-year deal of Bismack Biyombo. Biyombo looked like a dominant player for the Raptors in the NBA Playoffs in 2016, as he grabbed a monster 26 boards in Game 3 against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Raptors fans thought they had the second-coming of Dwight Howard in the ranks, but that was simply not the case. Biyombo has no offensive ability, and even his 1.3 BPG average is not up to a standard of a hyped defensive player.
Biyombo has a career average of 5.1 PPG and 6.2 RPG, which just goes to show that consistency is a major factor in determining a player's value. As bad as this deal is, the year of 2016 had even more deals to scratch your head about.
5. Joakim Noah - 2016 (4 years, $72 million)
Unsurprisingly, the New York Knicks appear on this list yet again (and expect them to come up again later). Noah played only 29 games in 2015 yet the Knicks tried to build a "Superteam" by signing former All-Star center Joakim Noah. Everybody who knew anything about the NBA knew Noah was finished as a starter, yet the foolish Knicks signed him up for $72 million. As expected, Noah went on to play under 100 games for the Knicks and didn't move the needle one bit.
Noah's body was already beaten up after his years with the Chicago Bulls, but to make matters worse, he made it known to the media he partied a little too much during his Knicks days. The fact that a massively paid player cannot be kept focused is just an indication of how absurdly backward the Knicks organization is run. Noah's contract wasn't even the worst in 2016, as one player takes that title.
4. Chandler Parsons - 2016 (4 years, $94 million)
By far the worst contract in the shocking year of 2016 was Chandler Parsons. Parsons was a nice prospect with the Houston Rockets before the franchise decided not to pay him and Parsons later became a member of the Dallas Mavericks. Parsons was looking really good with Dallas before a knee injury ended his playoff run with the Mavericks in 2015. Parsons actually underwent knee surgery, before opting out of his deal to sign an insane $94 million deal with the Memphis Grizzlies.
Parsons went on to play less than 100 games over 3 seasons and was nowhere near a productive player for the amount of money he was earning. Parsons essentially killed the Grizzlies Grit N Grind era as the franchise moved on from franchise stars Michael Conley and Marc Gasol. Parsons' deal rubbed a lot of people the wrong way (hint Stephen Jackson) and the fact he got paid nearly $100 million to not play makes this a top-5 worst contract ever.
3. Eddy Curry - 2005 (6 years, $60 million)
Unsurprisingly, the New York Knicks appear on this list again. Out of pure desperation to appease Knicks fans and create hope, the franchise signed Eddy Curry to a 6-year deal despite problems with an irregular heartbeat. Clearly not a joke, the Knicks looked past that and also gave away their number 2 pick to make the deal happen. Fast forward to the event of Curry's Knicks career and it is one hot mess. Curry was not the man the Knicks needed and it was frustrating to see.
Curry fell out of rotation only 3 years later after hitting the scales at over 300 lbs, and he clearly couldn't be trusted to be any sort of impact player. Curry was a nice post scorer but he was extremely slow on defense and seemingly had no desire to be a dominant big man. This period is Knicks' history was in complete shambles and it has not looked any better today either.
2. Joe Smith - 1999 (7 years, $86 million)
Joe Smith's contract is the 2nd worst in NBA history mainly due to the extreme controversy it received. By essentially receiving money under the table from Timberwolves management worth $86 million over 7 years, Smith was in the center of a big problem in the NBA. The news leaked out and Smith and the franchise were severely punished by league officials. The Timberwolves lost four out of their five first-round picks which killed the franchise desire to build a winning team around superstar Kevin Garnett.
Smith was punished because he lost all that dough and had to settle for a smaller deal worth less than half that by Minnesota. Joe Smith was the number one pick in the 1995 Draft but his inability to control his agent killed his chances of achieving any sort of NBA greatness. This contract was the worst ever, but one player usurps the Timberwolves - Smith fiasco in the end.
1. Bryant Reeves - 1997 (6 years, $61.8 million)
Without a shadow of a doubt, the contract of Bryant Reeves in 1997 is the worst in NBA history. As the saying goes, never judge a book by its cover, and perhaps the Memphis Grizzlies should NOT have followed that. Reeves looked clearly out of shape and not in any NBA condition to be earning anywhere near 8 figures. As the number one pick in the 1997 draft, perhaps the Grizzlies felt obliged to keep their pick locked away and signed him for 6 years. But it turned out horribly for the Grizzlies.
Reeves was not in NBA shape by any means and ended up retiring after only 395 career games with the team. Reeves was decent for his first 3 years in the league, averaging a career-high 16.3 PPG in his third year, before tapering off to only averaging 8.3 PPG in his final year. In terms of overall payout and production received, this has to be the worst contract in NBA history.