The NBA’s 68 worst contracts

The economy is really starting to take its toll on professional sports, and the NBA is no different. Bad contracts are bad even when the economy is pumping, but they really stand out in tough times like these. So I decided to look through the payrolls team-by-team to try to identify the worst contracts in the NBA. I expected to list 15-20 names, but I ended up scribbling down 68. That’s right, there are no fewer than 68 bad contracts in the NBA.

I didn’t include any of the players that are in the final year of their contracts because…well, what’s the point? They’ll be off the books in a few months anyway. Instead, I wanted to focus on those contracts that are going to haunt teams for years to come, so to be eligible, players have to have at least a year left on their current deals.

It’s tough to compare someone making superstar money to an average, everyday role player, so I split these 68 contracts up into three groups: the Overpaid Role Players, the Not-So-Super Stars and the Injury-Prones. I will rank them from least-worst to most-worst with the thinking that I wouldn’t trade the player for anyone further down the list but I would trade him for anyone previously mentioned. So, for example, if a guy is listed #7 within a particular group, I’m not trading him for anyone ranked #6-#1, but I would think seriously about moving him for a guy that is ranked #8+.

So let’s start with the role players and go from there…

(Note: In most cases, I don’t blame the player himself for his outrageous contract. The fault lies with the general manager that inked the guy to the deal. However, this rule goes out the window if the player has a history of only producing in his contract year – I’m looking at you, Tim Thomas.)

Read the rest after the jump...

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Jeff Van Gundy to stay in the booth…for now

Jeff Van Gundy says that he isn’t going to return to coaching for the foreseeable future.

“Without question, I miss coaching,” Van Gundy said. “I miss the competitiveness, the camaraderie there is no doubt about that. With that being said. I’m just happier with what I am doing.”

He wasn’t afraid to criticize a couple of players in the same interview.

Van Gundy was mostly complimentary of the Knicks’ new regime during an interview for Friday’s NYP TV Sports, but did criticize a couple of players who are weighing down the team’s future.

“Where as Isiah Thomas believed in the post offense, Mike D’Antoni has a much different style, obviously and has little use for [Eddy] Curry,” Van Gundy, who turned 47 yesterday, said.

“Here you have a guy that has a bad heart and a big contract and he would be very hard to move to another team, whose plan he would fit into. And Jerome James Jerome James , I don’t know whose plan he would fit into. And they also drag down your work ethic. You have guys that are out of shape it’s a drag on your team. Because what’s that saying to the other players is that they don’t care as much about the team.”

Van Gundy has developed into one of the top color commentators in all of basketball. I don’t have much use for Mark Jackson, but Van Gundy is knowledgeable and self-deprecating, and along with Mike Breen, the trio makes for good announcing. Van Gundy and Jackson tease each other and argue about hoops, while Breen plays the straight guy. It works.

That said, I’d like to see what Van Gundy could do with a few of the teams on the cusp of success. His brother, Stan Van Gundy, is the frontrunner for Coach of the Year honors with what he’s doing in Orlando, and I think Jeff would have similar success.

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