Bernucca: The 10 Worst Offseason Free Agent Signings

DanGilbertPresser100515-300x189Whenever the NBA and the Players Association negotiate a collective bargaining agreement, the media – including Sheridan Hoops – goes to great lengths to understand and explain its rules, exceptions and nuances.

But since the first wave of players began making the jump from high school to the NBA in the mid-1990s, the premise of every new CBA could be summed up in six words: To save the owners from themselves.

Restraint never has been the collective strength of NBA owners. In every CBA, they have installed mechanisms that mandate restraint and prevent them from spending stupidly.

Chris Webber gets a $74 million contract before playing an NBA game? Install a rookie salary scale. Kevin Garnett gets a $126 million extension after two seasons? Make the rookie contract longer, with more team options. Michael Jordan makes $33 million in one season? Establish a maximum salary as a percentage of the salary cap.

Damon Stoudamire gets a seven-year contract at maximum salary with 10 percent raises? Shorten the contracts and lower the raises. Allan Houston suffers a career-ending injury while making maximum money? Institute the amnesty provision. Teams in big markets are outspending opponents? Establish a luxury tax, then make it even more punitive.

With all these mechanisms now in place, it has become increasingly harder for owners to spend stupidly. It also has become increasingly harder for the media to find absurd contracts and make a list out of them.

But we did anyway. Below are the 10 worst contracts NBA teams signed with players this summer. Enjoy.

10. Omri Casspi, Houston (2 years, $2 million): Not all of Rockets GM Daryl Morey’s signings were good Casspi-Isrealones. Casspi’s minutes, points and shooting percentage have been in freefall since he entered the league four years ago. Perhaps he will be rejuvenated by playing for a winner where his sole responsibility will be to stand on the arc and fire 3s, but the belief here is that he is done as an NBA player. He has never defended and has shot under 32 percent from the arc the last two seasons. Yes, he didn’t cost much, and his second year is a team option. But leaving Casspi and Reggie Williams on the market would have freed up $2 million toward retaining Carlos Delfino, a much better player.

9. Jason Maxiell, Orlando (2 years, $5 million): An absolute waste of money by GM Rob Hennigan, even with the second year at a team option. After eight years, Maxiell has maxed out; he is never going to be more than a reserve big, and even that is a stretch. The Magic signed him to be a backup to Nikola Vucevic at center, but at 6-7 Maxiell is barely a power forward, where Orlando has the physically similar Big Baby Davis and kids Andrew Nicholson and Kyle O’Quinn.

8. Carl Landry, Sacramento (4 years, $26 million): When I ran this one past our editor-in-chief, he disagreed, claiming Landry was a good player and a good signing. I totally agree on the first part; Landry can play. But even if the Kings use DeMarcus Cousins and the undersized Chuck Hayes exclusively at center, the power Corey Brewerforward spot still has a logjam of Landry, Jason Thompson ($25 million over four years left on his deal), Patrick Patterson and Luc Mbah a Moute (when they go small). There aren’t enough minutes to justify the deals for both Landry and Thompson.

7. Corey Brewer, Minnesota (3 years, $14.1 million): Brewer certainly can defend and run the floor, two skills the Timberwolves could use. But wings are supposed to be able to shoot a little bit, and Brewer can’t. For his career, he has shot less than 42 percent overall, under 30 percent from the arc and below 70 percent from the line. Additionally, his primary position is small forward, where Minnesota also re-signed Chase Budinger. Did we mention that power forward Kevin Love is expected to be healthy, which pushes Derrick Williams to small forward as well?


  1. steppxxxz says

    let me make clear………Im not sure Orlando needed Maxiell……..BUT…..if you dont trust Nicholson, and I wouldnt, then maxiell makes sense as a back up four. Nicholson is the one maxed out, ALREADY., O QUinn cant play the four, but its a promising five back up banger. I like O Quinn. But maxielll makes sense if you want some experience, and toughness.

  2. steppxxxz says

    agree with all except Maxiell. Your dead wrong here. Maxiell was stuck on terrible teams….and if you look at his play, not his numbers (on genuinely bad teams remember) he actually continued to try to play a team game, defend, and scramble for loose balls. I was surpised he lasted so long. You watch, he will look much better in a magic jersey this year. he is also tough and physical. At worst you get a tyler hansbrough back up type four. That was a good signing considering the price. The worst signing was monta ellis perhaps, josh smith next for that price. Korver was ok….i get it. I wouldnt have done it, but i get it. JJ Hickson was a waste of money. THAT is a what a waste of money looks like. Ugh, boy did they implode in denver.

  3. Rjd123 says

    Agree on most of these. Dallas could’ve and should’ve done a lot more. They should’ve made (and i read they were second in line) for Pierce and KG to team up with Dirk. I feel like people get defensive about the Josh Smith signing. Josh Smith can’t guard 3’s. He is a legitimate power forward. Him going to the pistons was a mistake for them. They’re one of the few teams with legit young bigs who are going to be stars. They didn’t need Smith. They should’ve got a legitimate sg or sf. I think they will regret it comes years end.

  4. PC3 @swhtown20 says

    1ST Off LBJ Is RT The CBA Has Screwed All NBA Players TheyTook A Pay Cut While All Rules Went In The CBAs Favor #Conlusion Any1 #WTH #SMH Looks Like Billionaire Owners Got Richer Why The Players Who Make The NBA/$ R Taking PayCuts HuH RT? ..Next Issue Signing Casspi 2 The League Min.+Team Option For 2nd YR is A Bad Deal Who Was Drafted By Morey #SMH RT…BradonWright Is A Steal JasonFriedman Said Something That Will Always Stick W/me BIg Guys Dont Grow On Trees Wright Is A Role Player Who Does The Little Things For His Team2win #Underratted…JoshSmith Posses LBJ Talent A Steal For Det….So He Cant shoot Shocking For PF s RT..He Blocks,Runs,Rebounds&Dunks On SOFTIES RT..Coach N ATL Let Him Shoot..He Was Used Wrong Now He S Got A Great Coach In Cheeks..Just Like Lakers Took A Big Dip W/out D12 In The West Same For Hawks Will Take A Serious Dip Outta ve Of Playoffs..SuperStars Make This League Ask Ainge&Morey..Missing Monte RT..Everything Else Is RT

  5. jerry25 says

    I agree with Nathan about Josh Smith splitting minutes and besides I see the Pistons fighting the Knicks for 5th place in East. If Pistons become a solid playoff team, then their off season was a success.

    Brandan Wright certainly received a gift. He was a Minimum player for the few teams that might have wanted him.

    ATL did Brooklyn a huge favor to overpay Korver, just when he was about to accept a mini-MLE of about 10 million over 3 years, after being recruited by Deron Williams.
    Nets ended up saving the mMLE for a more needed Andrei Kirilenko and then picked up Alan Anderson, for his shooting, at a Vet Min price. Kirilenko+Anderson >> Korver, besides being cheaper.

    Denver may miss the playoffs even if they finish several games over 500. Ty Lawson was just arrested for spousal abuse.

  6. Nathan says

    If there’s one thing we’ve learned in the NBA the last few years, it’s that defining players as solely a C, PF, SF, SG, or PG is a mistake. It’s much more about wings and bigs. Yet this ranking of the ten worst signings constantly pigeonholes players at a particular position. The writer also doesn’t seem aware that not all starters play 48 minutes a game, in fact none do. Especially when it comes to bigs. Josh Smith will be playing a lot of minutes as a big, not a wing. If anybody thinks Andre Drummond is going to average more than 25 minutes a game, they are in for a surprise. If they’re smart with their rotations, Drummond, Smith, and Monroe can all play serious minutes while sharing the court for a negligible amount of time.


  1. […] When Kyle Korver signed a 4-year, $24 million deal earlier in the off-season, the move was generally met with either tepid reaction or praise. However, not everyone seems to agree that the signing was a positive one, and Chris Bernucca of Sheridan Hoops placed Korver on an inauspicious list on Tuesday. […]

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