Mostly every team in the NBA contains a player with a large contract that is not living up to it. There are three main causes for why this may be. Players are not living up to the hype surrounding them, injuries are taking a toll on their body physically and mentally, and aging players find themselves amidst a rebuild. This is not a trade rumor article. This is more of an in-depth analysis of certain players’ contracts that teams might wish they didn’t have. Many of the players about to be named in this set of articles will not and cannot be moved due to their contracts. This does not pertain to every player as there is a good chance that some of them will be donning new jerseys by seasons end. This article is my purely my opinion.
Golden State Warriors
Looking at the contracts that the Golden State Warriors contain, it was difficult to find one that the Warriors could quite possibly want to get rid of. None of these contracts looked detrimental to this team. Trying to be picky for the sake of the article, you could say the $3,477,600 next to Zaza Pachulia’s name could qualify him for this spot but he’s an unrestricted free agent after the year. He’s not a bad contract. This makes the Warriors the second team on this list, along with the San Antonio Spurs, that are exempt from this article.
Los Angeles Clippers
The Los Angeles Clippers are a confusing team thus far. They started off the season hot, got cold, and are currently on a hot streak once again. They look to be a fringe playoff team and could be reportedly shopping DeAndre Jordan and Lou Williams. Any impending trades involving those two certainly change the dynamic to possibly that of a rebuilding one. Enter Danilo Gallinari. The 29-year-old is averaging 13.4ppg, 4.4rpg, and 2.5apg while shooting .345% from the field, .258% from the three-point line, and .972% from the free throw line in 11 games this season. The Clippers have currently played 43 games so far, showing that, he has played less than half of their games. This lack of games played so far has defined his career. Gallinari is currently in his tenth season. In his previous nine seasons, only two of them has he played more than 70 games (though we cannot count the 2011-2012 season that was reduced to 66 games due to a lockout). That is especially troubling for the Clippers that are set to pay him $20,559,599 this season, $21,587,579 next season, and $22,615,559 the season after that. This situation is Chandler Parsonsesque as the talent is there but the injuries have kept both these players from fulfilling their duties. Paying this money to an oft-injured Gallinari, as a complete tear down of the roster could be coming soon, could soon make the Clippers cringe.
Los Angeles Lakers
At 32 years old, Luol Deng is a shell of his former self that saw great individual success in the Chicago Bulls days. Deng is currently in his second season with this young Los Angeles Lakers team in where he is the oldest player on the roster. Last season, he suited up for 56 games in which he started 49 of them. He averaged 7.6ppg, 5.3rpg, and 1.3apg while shooting .387% from the field, .309% from the three-point line, and .730% from the free throw line. This season is a completely different story. Through 43 games thus far for the Lakers, Deng has suited up for only one game. Obviously, he does not fit into the long-term plans of the Lakers and his play has declined dramatically forcing him into more of a mentor role for the Lakers. This mentor makes $17,190,000 this season, $18,000,000 next season, and $18,810,000 the season after. That is an expensive mentor. The Lakers would love to shed this money as they hope to make room for one, maybe two stars but it’s hard to see another team taking on Deng’s contract. You can never say never though.
Tyson Chandler is still a serviceable big man in limited minutes but the rebuilding Phoenix Suns would like to see him go. During the Eric Bledsoe fiasco, the Suns wanted Chandler involved in the trade talks. If you pay attention to the NBA at all you would know that Bledsoe got traded to the Milwaukee Bucks and Chandler remained in a Suns uniform. At age 35, Chandler has played in 34 games this season, averaging 6.6ppg and 9.8rpg in 25.6mpg. For a team that feels like depth is an issue, taking a flyer on Chandler is not unreasonable even given his age. Chandler is scheduled to make $13,000,000 this season and $13,585,000 next season and will become an unrestricted free agent after that (which could possibly lead into his retirement from the league). The Suns have been shopping him since the beginning of the season (more than likely even longer than that) and that will not change. There’s a possibility that Chandler will be wearing a new jersey after the deadline.
Over the offseason the Sacramento Kings tried to blend youth with experience by signing Vince Carter, Zach Randolph, and George Hill. We are in January now and the Kings are arguably the worst team in the NBA with a 13-32 record. The old guys are now going to be losing playing time in favor of the young guys in Sacramento which is not sitting well with Hill and uncertainty between Kings and Hill continue to grow with his name being linked to teams such as the Cleveland Cavaliers. In 27.2 minutes of play per night, he is averaging 10.5ppg, 3.0rpg, and 2.7apg while shooting .461% from the field, .452% from the three-point line, and .774% from the free throw line. Those are solid numbers for Hill that can easily fit into a backup point guard role elsewhere where he could shine. At 31 years old, there’s no place for him on the Kings anymore. He’s set to make $20,000,000 this season, $19,000,000 next season, and $18,000,000 the season after that (and only $1,000,000 is guaranteed that season). The Kings would be smart to ship him out before the trade deadline and get whatever they can out of him back. Losing that contract would be something congratulatory as well.