After years of shelling out top dollar to the DeSagana Diops and Jerome Jameses of the league, cash-strapped owners went into the many long, closed-door meetings that made up last year’s NBA lockout searching for a reprieve.
And when both sides emerged in late November with the framework of a new collective bargaining agreement in place, they got just that. Among the many new rules and stipulations hashed out over the five-plus months between NBA players and owners was the amnesty clause, a get-out-of-jail-free card that allowed teams out from under some of their most burdensome contracts. Only it came with a few caveats: Teams could only use it once, on a player already under contract; and while the deals would no longer count against their cap, teams could still wind up paying released players their hefty sums.
But even now, after a large portion of the league has used their amnesty waivers, the NBA still has its share of unsightly deals. (And contracts like the four-year, $40 million one aging swingman Gerald Wallace inked with the Brooklyn Nets this past summer doesn’t exactly provide much hope for future frugality, either.)
So with the help of salary-cap connoisseur Nick Silva, we’ve compiled a list of 10 of the biggest current albatrosses in the sport. For this exercise, we’ve stayed away from most of the players who were sent packing via the amnesty clause, either because their yearly rate wasn’t as bad as the ones that made the list (Andray Blatche, Josh Childress) or because the players themselves are still serviceable (Elton Brand and, to a lesser extent, Brendan Haywood).
But there were some too dreadful to ignore. Which brings us to our first entry ...
1.) Gilbert Arenas, six years, $111 million
2.) Amar'e Stoudemire, five years, $99.7 million
3.) Joe Johnson, six years, $119 million
4.) Andris Biedrins, six years, $63 million
5.) Hedo Turkoglu, five years, $53 million
6.) Tyrus Thomas, five years, $40 million
7.) Ben Gordon, five years, $55 million
8.) Carlos Boozer, five years, $82 million
9.) David Lee, six years, $80 million
10.) Brandon Roy, five years, $82 million