The Top 5 Worst Basketball Contracts In Tri-State History
New York Knick fans, be prepared to see the team on this list frequently.
In sports, there is a constant arms race to get the best possible players on your team. Some teams choose to get better gradually while drafting well and developing players. Another way teams choose to build their rosters is through spending money on players from other teams through free agency. Some general managers choose wisely and spend their money smartly while others GM’s frivolously throw money around like Floyd Mayweather on a shopping spree.
For teams in the tri-state area, it seems that many of the GM’s throughout history have a tendency to spend money but not always in the right ways. When the discussions of bad contracts in sports come up, New York and New Jersey teams are always near or at the top of those conversations. With that said, we will look at the worst contacts in tri-state sports history in the four major sports in the area. Earlier this month, we looked at hockey contracts and this time we will look at the worst basketball contacts in tri-state history. Obviously New York Knick fans, be prepared to see the team on this list frequently. Let’s start with a star that flamed really quick.
- Jayson Williams- 6 yrs. /$90 million contract in 1998
Williams’ legal issues after retiring aside, he was a great rebounder averaging double digit rebounds in the last four seasons of his career. Besides that, Williams was a good starter but not someone you would think is worthy of a big contract in the NBA. But leave it to the New Jersey Nets to think outside the box and make an ill-advised move against the grain of common sense.
With a gigantic contract, Williams went on to put up numbers that I believe Yinka Dare could have achieved, eight points per game and 12 rebounds a game. That was until Williams suffered a broken leg after running into teammate Stephon Marbury which ended his career. He finished his brief career with career numbers of 7.3 points and 7.5 rebounds per game. The Nets were desperate for stars and in the mid to late-90’s after the sudden death of Drazen Petrovic, they were determined to have Williams with his big smile and great personality become the face of the franchise. How’d that work out for them?
- Allan Houston- 6 yrs. /$100 million in 2001
After the 2000-2001 NBA season, the Knicks seemed to be poised to continue the success they had seen in previous years with Latrell Sprewell and Allan Houston leading the team. They recently appeared in the NBA Finals and were making the NBA Playoffs every season. Prior to the 2001-2002 however, the Knicks decided to take a major leap of faith and give Houston a new contract for $100 million.
That deal was the beginning of the end of good times for the Knicks as Jeff Van Gundy resigned as coach and the team instantly became the laughingstock of the NBA almost overnight. While Houston played well in the first two years of the contract averaging over 20 points a game, his knees began to go during the second year and the deal and his career ended soon after in 2005. From 2003 to 2005, Houston was the highest paid player on the team ($20 million per year) and played in just 70 games. Just one of the bigger mistakes the Knicks made but wait, there’s more.
- Deron Williams- 5 yrs. / $98.7 million
This deal was supposed to be the beginning of the success for the new Brooklyn Nets. Similar to when they were in New Jersey, the Nets were eager for a superstar to start the Brooklyn era of basketball. The problem was that the Nets were pretty much going against themselves when it came to negotiations due to no teams believing that Williams deserved a max contract. The Nets took a leap of faith and signed the former Utah Jazz point guard to a contract just short of $100 million.
After trading for Joe Johnson from the Hawks, Brooklyn believed that they had the Robin to Williams’ Batman and it was successful early. The Nets made the playoffs in the first year of the Williams contract as he averaged 18.9 points per game in that season. The following season, Williams began to break down when both of his ankles began to bother him resulting in Williams missing 18 games in the 2013-2014 season and only averaging 14.3 points a game, his lowest point total since his rookie year. This season, the Nets are out of the playoffs at the time of this article and Williams is now coming off of the bench in Lionel Hollins’ rotation. Williams wasn’t a max contract player three years ago and he has proven through the first three years of this deal that he still is not.
- Eddy Curry- 6 yrs. /$36 million in 2005
The Isaiah Thomas years as coach and president are forgettable and Eddy Curry symbolizes that era and the inability of the franchise to do anything right. Curry refused to adhere to a DNA test in order to test for a heart issue as a member of the Chicago Bulls and he was traded to the Knicks. The first mistake: the Knicks traded their first-round draft pick to the Bulls when everyone and their mom knew that the Knicks were going to have a terrible year. The second mistake: Curry gets a contract extension once with the Knicks and has a career year in that first year scoring 19.5 points a game but showing everyone that he has troubling with rebounding even though he was seven feet tall and had a wingspan of over 7’6”.
With that good year came the major problems. Curry began showing up to camp overweight every year and his knees beginning to break down because of the extra girth he was carrying. I’m convinced he hang out at the Sbarro Pizza across from the Garden and spent a lot of his money there.
New coach Mike D’Antoni began to keep him out of the team’s rotation all together and Curry was pretty much being paid to sit at the end of the bench and take up a lot of space (that was a fat joke). Curry was treaded to the Minnesota Timberwolves in 2011 as part of the Carmelo Anthony trade but the stench of that deal still lingers thanks to Isaiah Thomas…but wait there’s more.
- Stephon Marbury- 4 yrs. /$76 million in 2005
Marbury was signed to this contract by the Phoenix Suns but they soon realized that they needed a better point guard to run the team. So instead of releasing him, they needed a sucker to take on the entire contract…enter the New York Knicks. Isiah Thomas in his infinite wisdom (are you starting to see a theme) traded for Marbury without getting Phoenix to put up any money towards the contract. Genius, am I right?
Don’t get me wrong, Stephon Marbury when he wanted to was one of the best point guards in the NBA. The problem is that with the Knicks, he played when wanted to, was attempting to blackmail coach/president and clashed with every single coach brought in including Hall of Famer Larry Brown. It was also revealed during the Isaiah Thomas sexual harassment trial that Marbury even had sex with a Garden intern in his truck so needless to say Marbury was a cancer to the team. He was bought out of his contract in 2009 and is currently a cultural icon in China. Go figure.
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