There have been some amazing contracts signed in NBA history, perhaps none more so than when Michael Jordan was given permission by the Chicago Bulls to play basketball literally anytime, anywhere. The famous “For The Love of the Game” clause was handed to the consensus best player in the NBA because he was so dedicated to the sport he wanted to be able to take it to the rim at any moment. And the team was so grateful to have had MJ on their side, they gave him carte blanc to put himself at injury risk in any way he saw fit, an unheard of leniency.
Of course not every player can be in the short conversation for “greatest of all time”, most don’t even come close to being the greatest on their team in a single game. More often than not, notable salary numbers are backed up with stories of twists and turns, injuries and criminal acts, that make you look back and wonder just what the team, or player, was thinking when they signed on the dotted line.
With that in mind, here are… 15 Crazy NBA Contracts You Won’t Believe Were Signed.
Shawn Kemp: 7 years, $107 Million
The “Reign Man” was coming off five straight All-Star appearances and seemingly, at 27, in the prime of his career when he was traded to and signed an extension with the Cleveland Cavaliers in September of 1997. That’s right, twelve-year-old LeBron was probably amongst those that thought his hometown team was destined for greatness twenty years too soon. There were signs of cracks in the marble though; Kemp’s coach at the time of the trade for instance, George Karl, remarked “’I think in a lot of ways our mental health got better today.” Kemp was clearly disgruntled with the Seattle Supersonics organization, whom he felt had leaked to the media that he had a drinking problem.
The Cavs though hoped Kemp would put some butts in seats and bring some drive to an offense that had averaged a league low 87.5 points per game the year previous. But after a sixth All-Star appearance led Cleveland to a five win improvement and a playoff berth, Kemp showed up badly overweight to camp in 1998-99. He was unloaded on Portland after two straight years without sniffing the postseason, and was soon thereafter in rehab for cocaine abuse.