Joakim Noah

10 worst contracts in NBA history

Home » NBA » 10 worst contracts in NBA history

The worst NBA contracts ever involve players who didn’t perform at a level that justifies the salary given to them. While there are players who lived up to their lucrative contracts and bring a championship to their teams, there are some players who didn’t simply meet the expectations.

Some of these players underperformed due to injuries and other off-court factors.

Worst NBA contracts ever

Signing a player is an investment. Teams are banking on the player to perform up to the team’s expectations and hopefully, bring a championship to their franchise. However, there are times when these players don’t pan out well after signing their contracts. This affects the team negatively since it limits their flexibility in signing quality players and making roster moves in free agency.

Here are the most overpaid NBA players of all time…

10. Timofey Mozgov

Timofey Mozgov was a huge part of the Cavaliers team that upset the Warriors in 2016. This attracted the Lakers to sign him on a 4-year, $64 million contract despite the limited production and injury history.


Mozgov had measly production in his first season with the Lakers, averaging just 7.4 points and 4.8 rebounds per game in 54 games. After just one season with Los Angeles, they traded him to the Nets along with D’Angelo Russell in exchange for Brook Lopez and a first-round pick.

9. Eddy Curry

Eddy Curry was a solid player with the Bulls when he averaged 16.1 points and 5.4 rebounds per game in his final year. The Knicks took notice and decided to sign him to a 6-year, $60-million contract.

Curry was productive in his first two seasons with New York, averaging a career-best 19.5 points and 7 rebounds in one season. However, injuries contributed to Curry’s decline in the next few seasons. He also had weight issues that kept him out of the rotation.

Eventually, the Knicks decided to trade him to the Wolves. However, they need to give up several draft picks for the trade to push through.

8. Jerome James

The Knicks decided to sign Jerome James on a 5-year, $30 million contract after a strong playoff performance in 2005 with the Sonics. However, James didn’t live up to the expectations after signing the contract. He played in just 90 games over the next five years, averaging not more than 3 points and 2 rebounds per game.


James’ injuries and inability to stay in shape contributed to why he didn’t crack the rotation. His contract was massive which limited the Knicks financially for the next few years.

7. Jim McIlvaine

Jim McIlvaine‘s $33.6 million deal is one of the most overpaid NBA contracts ever. Despite averaging 2.1 points and 2.5 rebounds per game with the Bullets, the Sonics still signed him to a 7-year, $33.6 million contract in 1996. That was a massive amount back then.

Over the next two seasons with Seattle, McIlvaine averaged 3.5 points and 3.7 rebounds per game, which was abysmal production for someone with that kind of contract. His lack of offensive skills limited him from producing at a consistent level.

After two years with the Sonics, they eventually traded him to the Nets but they have to give up several draft picks to complete the trade. McIlvaine’s contract ultimately contributed to the team’s financial problems in the years to come.

6. Jon Koncak

Jon Koncak’s $13 million deal in 1989 is one of the worst contracts in NBA history. Despite being a regular starter for the Hawks, Koncak wasn’t a star-caliber player. Still, Atlanta decided to sign him on a 6-year, $13 million contract. He was infamously called “Jon Contract” because of this.

This contract made him the highest-paid player on their roster, despite the fact that he was not one of their best players. What’s worse is that his production didn’t improve after he signed the deal. He averaged over 4 points and 4 rebounds per game over the next six seasons.

5. Allan Houston

In 2001, Allan Houston signed a 6-year $100 million contract with the Knicks, making him one of the most overpaid NBA players of all time. It was a bad decision for the Knicks as Houston was already 30 years old at the time and not a superstar-caliber player.

Houston turned out fine in the first two years, averaging over 20 points. However, Houston quickly declined in years to come as his age caught up. He had a major knee injury and was never the same player after that. Over the final three years of his contract, Houston only played a total of 70 games.

His huge contract made it difficult for the Knicks to make other roster moves. This ultimately contributed to the team’s financial problems in the mid-2000s.

4. Luol Deng

Luol Deng‘s 4-year, $72 million contract with the Lakers is one of the worst NBA contracts ever. Despite being a productive player with the Bulls, he was already 31 years old at the time of his signing.

Over the next two seasons with Los Angeles, Deng averaged just 7.5 points and 5.2 rebounds per game in 57 games. This is far from the level of production he had with Chicago.

The Lakers had difficulty moving his massive contract to other teams. There was no team willing to take on his contract due to his age and injury history. Eventually, he was waived in 2018 with two years and over $36 million remaining on his contract.

3. Joakim Noah

One of the worst NBA contracts ever is Joakim Noah‘s 4-year, $72-million contract with the Knicks in 2016. After missing several high-profile free agents in the offseason, the Knicks decided to sign Noah to a massive contract despite his declining production and injury history.

Noah’s decline was evident as soon as he signed the contract. He played in just 53 games over the next two seasons with the Knicks, averaging just 4.6 points and 7.9 rebounds per game.

Eventually, New York waived Noah with two years and over $37 million left on his contract in 2018. This continued on their payroll since there were no teams willing to take his contract and Noah didn’t agree on a buyout. As a result, this impacted the Knicks’ financial flexibility in the next few years.

2. Chandler Parsons

Chandler Parsons was a solid scoring option in Houston and Dallas, averaging over 14 points per game across five seasons. Given his ability to shoot the three-ball well, the Grizzlies believed that he could seamlessly fit with Mike Conley, Zach Randolph, and Marc Gasol. This resulted in Memphis signing him to a 4-year, $94-million deal in 2016.

However, Parsons didn’t live up to the expectations due to the numerous injuries he suffered. He played just 95 games over three seasons and averaged only 7.2 points per game, just half of his previous averages. The contract severely limited the Grizzlies’ chances of winning the championship in the next few seasons.

Eventually, the Grizzlies traded him to the Hawks in exchange for Solomon Hill and Miles Plumlee. This trade signified the end of the Parsons era, which was a nightmare for Grizzlies fans.

1. Gilbert Arenas

Gilbert Arenas‘ 6-year, $111 million is considered one of the worst NBA contracts ever. The Wizards offered him this contract after averaging over 25 points per game and becoming a three-time All-Star. Who could’ve thought that his career would go downhill after signing that contract?

After signing the contract, Arenas’ performance declined drastically due to the injuries he suffered. This limited his quickness and explosiveness, which he relied on most of the time. Moreover, he had a plethora of off-court issues, including bringing a gun to the Wizards’ locker room.

This limited Washington’s flexibility in surrounding Arenas’ talent and making other roster moves. For the next six years, the Wizards struggled.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *