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.
Faried’s career year came during the 2013-2014 season when he averaged 13.7ppg and 8.6rpg in 27.7mpg. Since then, his minutes per game have seen much of a decrease. Last season, Faried averaged 9.6ppg and 7.6rpg in 21.2mpg. After, spending much of his career as a starter, many of his games played came off the bench. 47 games into the season, Faried has played 30 games and only 7. He is averaging 6.1ppg and 4.8rpg while shooting .525% from the field and .735% from the free throw line in 14.9mpg (all career lows besides shooting % and free throw %). Faried doesn’t look to be included with the Nuggets plans moving forward and at age 28, he doesn’t fit into the long-term plans of a rebuilding team either. Faried is making $12,921,348 this season and $13,764,045 the next and the Nuggets would love to move him if they can. A team lacking frontcourt depth could be interested in acquiring the big man if the asking price is not too steep. If not, then he will continue to waste away on the Nuggets bench.
Dieng has seen a dramatic decrease in playing time this season compared to last season. Last season, Dieng played and started in all 82 games. He averaged 10.0ppg, 7.9rpg, 1.2bpg, and 1.1spg while shooting .502% from the field, .372% from the three-point line, and .814% from the free throw line in 32.4mpg. Over the offseason, the Wolves went into win-now mode and acquired Jimmy Butler, Jeff Teague, Jamal Crawford, and Taj Gibson to add to the core already in place of Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins. These moves have seen Dieng’s role decrease. He has still played in 46 of the teams 48 games but has started none of them. He is averaging 6.4ppg and 4.7rpg while shooting .489% from the field, .310% from the three-point line, and .754% from the free throw line in only 18.2mpg. That is a 14.2mpg decrease. The 28-year-old is scheduled to make 14,112,360 this season, 15,170,787 next season, 16,229,213 in 2019-2020, and 17,287,640 during the 2020-2021 season. The Wolves would be smart to listen to any trade offers come their way about him but it is quite likely that they will be stuck paying his contract.
Oklahoma City Thunder
Roberson provides a solid defensive option at the two-guard spot in which he posts a +2.8 Defensive Box Plus/Minus and has contributed 1.4 Win Shares defensively for the Oklahoma City Thunder. What does he provide other than that? Well, that is why he makes the list. Roberson has played and started in 36 games for the Oklahoma City Thunder this season averaging 5.1ppg, 4.8rpg, and 1.1spg in 26.8mpg. He shoots .532% from the field, an atrocious .222% from the three-point line, and, a so bad that is almost not even funny, .290% from the free throw line. Offensively he posts a -1.4 Box Plus/Minus and contributes 0.7 Win Shares for the Thunder. Other than defense, Roberson lacks the ability to fill some of the needs the Thunder have. At 26, growth offensively might not be coming and he would have to overcome the mental barrier first before he could even grow. He is scheduled to make $9,259,260 this season, $10,000,000 in 2018-2019, and $10,740,740 in 2019-2020. The shooting guard spot has been a tough one for the Thunder as Dion Waiters has failed to fill the void and Oladipo wasn’t enough either (though he is having a fantastic breakout season in Indiana this season). The Thunder can only hope that his offensive woes change because then he can be an asset but until then, this is a contract that they quite possibly wish they didn’t have.
Portland Trail Blazers
Harkless has seen a dip in playing time since last season. Last season he played in 77 games, starting 69 of them. He averaged 10.0ppg, 4.4rpg, and 1.1spg in 28.9mpg. He shot .503% from the field, .351% from the three-point line, and .621% from the free throw line. This season, his minutes per game have dropped from 28.9 to 20.5. He’s played in 37 of the Blazers 47 games so far, starting in 19 of them. His stats have dropped to 5.4ppg and 2.7rpg. While discouraging, Harkless is still intriguing at only 24 years old. While the Trail Blazers might not want to move on from Harkless, the fact that he is the fourth highest paid player on the Blazers for the kind of production they are getting back from him is alarming. Harkless is scheduled to make $9,662,921 this season, $10,337,079 next season, and $11,011,236 during the 2019-2020 season.
There are a couple people on the Utah Jazz that could fit the bill. For instance, Derrick Favors was considered but has an expiring contract after this season so he does not hurt the Jazz much at all. Joe Ingles was considered but his shooting is something valuable to the team. With an injury to Dante Exum who has yet to play this season, this left a void for the Jazz at the point guard spot that led the Jazz to make a trade. On July 1 of 2017, ESPN reported that the Minnesota Timberwolves have traded Ricky Rubio to the Utah Jazz for a 2018 protected first round pick via the Oklahoma City Thunder. Last season for the Wolves, Rubio averaged 11.1ppg, 9.1apg, 4.2rpg, and 1.7spg. A change of scenery might be good for Rubio, right? Wrong. Rubio posts a -1.3 Box Plus/Minus and contributes 0.7 Win Shares. Rubio has started and played in all but one game so far posting averages of 11.1ppg, 4.8apg, 4.0rpg, and 1.6spg, a dramatic decrease in what made Rubio’s career so far. Rubio is set to make $14,100,000 this season and $14,800,000 next season. After acquiring Rubio, the Jazz still have a void at point guard that 27 year old Rubio does not seem to be able to fill. e.