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.
*stats are from ESPN and contract information is from spotrac.com*
It seems like a long time ago that the Hawks had four All-Stars: Jeff Teague, Kyle Korver, Al Horford, and Paul Millsap. None of those players are currently on the team. The Hawks are currently rebuilding and are one of the worst teams in the NBA with a 14-32 record. Since they are rebuilding, Bazemore should be on the outs for many reasons. Due to Bazemore being 28, he does not fit into the long term plans for the Hawks. Last season Bazemore averaged 11.0ppg, 3.2rpg, 2.4apg, and 1.2spg while shooting .409% from the field, .346% from the three-point line, and .708% from the free throw line in 26.9mpg. Bazemore played in 73 games, starting 64 of them. This season Bazemore has played and started in every Hawks game, averaging 12.6ppg, 4.2rpg, 3.6apg, and 1.8spg while shooting .415% from the field, .382% from the three-point line, and 787% from the free throw line. The second reason being his contract on a rebuilding team. He is set to make $16,910,113 this season, $18,089,887 next season, and $19,269,662 during the 2019-2020 season that is a player option. For a team that needs wing depth, Bazemore is readily available by trade.
With a record of 19-26 the Hornets are looking to blow it up with Kemba Walker’s name surfacing in trade rumors. Walker, Howard, and Batum can potentially be on the outs. At 29, Batum is certainly not in the long-term plans for this team. Out of the 45 games played so far for the Hornets, Batum has played and started in 31 of them. His stats have declined since last season. He averaged 15.1ppg, 6.2rpg, 5.9apg, and 1.1spg while shooting .403% from the field, .333% from the three-point line, and .856% from the three-point line in 77 games played. This season though, he has played and started in 31 games and averages 11.0ppg, 4.6apg, 4.3apg, 1.0spg while shooting .412% from the field, .285% from the three-point, and .814% from the free throw line. Batum is scheduled to make $22,434,783 this season, $24,000,000 next season, $25,565,217 in the 2019-2020 season, and a player option worth $27,130,435 during the 2020-2021 season when he will be 31 years old. If a contender would be willing to take on Batum’s contract, he will flourish as a lesser option.
Dion Waiters had a breakout season last yeaer and tricked the Miami Heat into giving him a contract in the offseason. He averaged 15.8ppg, 4.3apg, and 3.3rpg while shooting .424% from the field, .395% from the three-point line, and .646% from the free throw line. He played in 46 games this season and started in 43 of them. This season though, his stats have mainly dropped across the board. He has played in only 30 games and has not started one. He has averaged 14.3ppg, 3.8apg, and 2.6rpg while shooting .398% from the field, .306% from the three-point line, and .739% from the free throw line. I say his stats in the past tense because his season is done for as he received ankle surgery on his left ankle in January. Waiters is owed $11,000,000 this year, $11,500,000 next year, $12,100,000 in the 2019-2020 season, and $12,650,000 in the 2020-2021 season. There was speculation that Waiters looked out of shape this season. With that being said, the Heat might already be regretting paying Waiters over the offseason.
The Magic could be regretting signing Biyombo after what seemed like a break-out year for the Toronto Raptors two years ago. Last season for the Orlando Magic, in 81 games played and 27 games started, Biyombo averaged 6.0ppg, 7.0rpg, and 1.1bpg while shooting .528% from the field and .534% from the free throw line. This year through 47 games he has started 13 of them but seen his minutes drop to 18.6mpg. He has averaged 5.4ppg, 5.9rpg, and 1.4bpg thus far. His defense and rebounding is something that can still be valuable to a team but his contract might not be as appealing. He is set to make $17,000,000 this season through the 2019-2020 season, the final year being a player option. Even though he is only 25 years old, he has likely hit his ceiling. That is what makes his contract to not be worth the production the Magic are receiving back from him, especially as a rebuilding team that needs young players with room to grow.
47 games into the season, Mahinmi has already played more games than last season. Last season in 17.9mpg, Mahinmi averaged 5.6ppg, 4.8rpg, and 1.1spg while shooting .586% from the field and .573% from the free throw line in 31 games played. His minutes have dropped to 14.4mpg and so have a good portion of his stats. He is only averaging 3.8ppg and 3.7rpg while shooting .539% from the field and .710% from the free throw line. That kind of production does not justify the $16,661,641 this season, $15,944,154 next season, and $15,450,051 in 2020-2021 that the Wizards are paying him. At age 31, his peak has been reached and if the trend continues, his minutes will keep dropping. Mahinmi fits the bill of a contract the Wizards wish they were not paying.