Even though the 2012-13 NBA season has been officially over since the Heat defeated the Spurs in Game 7 of the amazing NBA Finals on June 20, the free agency frenzy has been almost just as exciting.
Chris Paul is staying with the Clippers. Josh Smith is headed to the Motor City. Andre Iguodala is now a Warrior. And, Dwight Howard took a pay cut to suit up in Houston.
While there are still a number of quality players waiting to sign a deal, the Howard signing was the one that everyone was keeping tabs on. Only time will tell if the Rockets will get the player that was a dominating force with the Magic. Of course, even casual basketball fans were aware of the drama Howard caused in Orlando. After leaving town, like he wanted, he floundered with the Lakers. Then again, the reported four-year deal worth about $88 million sounds extremely reasonable for one of the best big men in the game.
But, the same can’t be said about Andrew Bynum.
Bynum was sent to Philly last summer, and expectations were high. The City of Brotherly Love welcomed the Jersey native with open arms, especially during his welcoming party at the Constitution Center. Then, right before training camp, the knee problems kept Bynum off the court. Fans, and the Sixers, waited for Bynum’s debut until it was obvious that he wasn’t ever going to play as a 76er.
Six weeks after having season-ending arthroscopic surgery, Bynum continued his sabbatical with a trip to Spain where he was caught flamenco dancing. And, now he’s looking to find a new team.
When healthy, Bynum is one of the best centers in the NBA. Which is why a number of teams, like the Hawks and Mavs, are interested in the player. The Cavaliers have even offered Bynum a two-year deal that could be worth as much as $24 million. The deal would also include playing-time incentives and a team option in 2014-15.
For a team that is still desperately trying to rebuild itself after the departure of LeBron James, this is a huge mistake.
Say what you will about Howard, at least he’s been seen on the court. Bynum hasn’t played since 2012 and seems to enjoy being a celebrity rather than a ball player. Maybe if he does go to Cleveland and play again under coach Mike Brown that will change. But, we just don’t see it happening. Whatever unfortunate team signs Bynum, it could end up as one of these disastrous free agent signings.
10. Ben Wallace
Wallace was an important piece during Detroit’s championship run in 2004, but his production was already in decline when he signed a four-year, $60 million contract with the Chicago Bulls in 2006, which came out to $15 million a season. His numbers continued to slope downhill, for example his rebounds went from 11.7 11.3 to 10.7 to 8.4 to 6.5. After a season and a half, he was sent to Cleveland then to Phoenix who bought out his contract.
9. Vin Baker
Baker made the All-Star team for four consecutive seasons with the Milwaukee Bucks before he landed a seven-year, $86 million deal with the Seattle SuperSonics. Baker battled alcoholism issues while with Seattle and his on-court performance suffered. He was sent to Boston and was later released.
8. Raef LaFrentz
Denver drafted LeFrentz with the third overall pick in the 1998 Draft. He was traded to Dallas during the 2001–02 season after four alright seasons and was re-signed by the Mavs with a seven-year, $70 million contract. During his first full season in Dallas his numbers fell to 9 points and 5 rebounds a game.
7. Jerome James
During his final season in Seattle, James had averaged an impressive 4.9 points and 3.0 rebounds per game. With those kinds of stats it’s no wonder why Isiah Thomas brought James to the Knicks with a five-year, $30 million contract in 2005.
6. Larry Hughes
There was a lot of potential with Larry Huges, which is why Cleveland signed him to a five-year, $70 million million deal. Hughes was set to become LeBron’s right-hand man that would be the final piece in taking the Cavs to the Finals. Injuries plagued his time in Cleveland, and that $70 million contract prevented the Cavs from becoming buyers for years to come.
5. Jim McIlvaine
Seattle needed a big man to join superstars Shawn Kemp and Gary Payton in 1996. They went after Washington’s Jim McIlvaine, who blocked over two shots per game. Worst yet, he only averaged less than three points and three rebounds a game. Needless to say, that seven-year, $33.6 million contract didn’t get the SuperSonics any closer to a NBA title.
4. Eddy Curry
Curry was a solid player while in Chicago, but not so much after the Knicks inked him to a six-year, $60 million deal in 2005. Curry celebrated his huge signing by packing on the pounds. During his last two season in New York, Curry played a total of 10 games and he was sent to Minnesota during the 2010-11 season.
3. Darius Miles
Miles deal with the Blazers may not be that expensive, but it was a complete train wreck. Miles was a standout in high school and went immediately to the NBA. The Clippers drafted him third overall in 2000, and he spent two uneventful seasons in L.A. His career continued to be forgettable in Cleveland, but for some reason, Portland signed him to a six-year, $48 million deal. As a Trail Blazer, Miles got into a fight with head coach “Mo” Cheeks, blew out his knee and then the team had to pay him $18 million after he departed.
2. Jon Koncak
Would you put Jon Konak in the same category with MJ, Magic, or Larry Bird? Didn’t think so. However, in 1989 he earned a six-year, $13 million contract from the Atlanta Hawks, which gave him a bigger deal than those elite players mentioned. Jon “Contract” only averaged 4.7 ppg, 6.1 rpg and 1.3 bpg the season before he landed this ridiculous contract. This deal also pretty much ruined the NBA pay scale as well.
1. Gilbert Arenas
During the 2007-08 campaign, Arenas played only eight games because of knee problems. But that didn’t stop the Wizards from re-signing him to a six-year, $111 million contract. The following season, he was on the court for just two games. Arenas then suffered setbacks during his knee rehabilitation and was suspended for a majority of the 2009–10 season for bringing a gun into the locker room. He was then shipped off to Orlando, then signed by Memphis and spent 2012 playing over in China.
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