Let me make my stance very clear: NBA players deserve to get paid. They bring in tremendous amounts of revenue, and are alone, their own brands. Without them, their franchise flattens economically. The owner and the player are at an equal give-and-take.
But if I’m honest, I sometimes (often) resent these giant contracts. Most of them are guaranteed. Meaning the player will be paid in full, barring injury, a dip in performance, or any other matter. I again, get it. A player deserves to be paid, and shouldn’t, always, hinge that pay, on whether their body gives out.
Except, sometimes it isn’t that. It’s simply a player getting his money and quitting. Going from a workhorse to a sluggish slug. These contracts screw it up for fans. Do so, by clogging the team’s payroll, resulting in a downturn of overall quality.
Essentially one could argue these large contracts screw it for the fans. Unless it’s a slam dunk star, a LeBron James or Michael Jordan. A player we know will be nothing short of brilliant. Below are fifteen major deals that went real sour. Some of them might make you squirm, as the deal represents your favorite team – something you’d long tried to forget.
Rashard Lewis: 6-Years, $118 Million (Magic)
Rashard Lewis could score. We know this. Had that top tier mid-range jump shot, which, if left alone, he’d drill about every time. He also had tremendous size for a more perimeter oriented player, allowing him to post up smaller forwards, face up and get an ample look, if tightly contested. He is one of the few players drafted out of High School, to become a relative star, and attend an All-Star Game.
But be honest. Was he ever really a star? I’d argue no. Look, he was a great piece around a real star player. From 2002 to 2008, he averaged 19.1 points and 6.6 rebounds. But there’s a reason the Sonics didn’t heavily bid for him the Summer of 2007. The year the Magic gave him superstar dollars.
Post-contract, Lewis’s true colors surfaced. He was a solid player, not necessarily the adjective you’d like to hear, when paying a guy nearly 20-million per year. Over three and a half years with Orlando, Lewis averaged 15.8 points and 4.9 rebounds, strangling the Magic with an unnecessary salary cap issue.