Top 10 Worst NBA Free Agent Signings of the 21st Century

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Top 10 Worst NBA Free Agent Signings of the 21st Century

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

In the spirit of the 2013 NBA Free Agency period, I have decided to re-visit some of the worst contracts given out in the 21st century. This summer we have already witnessed a couple of questionable deals including the likes of Martell Webster getting $24 million from the Washington Wizards.

Washington has made the list for more than one reason, having a couple of guys come into the top 10 here. Remember the guy that decided it was cool to bring a gun into the locker room? Or how about that power forward who was given the first $100 million contract in NBA history? Yep, they both made the cut.

There are some pretty hysterical big men featured in the top 10, most of whom failed to live up to the contracts they were given due to injuries and flat out laziness. Any guesses? You're probably right on.

Most of the guys you will see on this list are pictured as they appear today, which in some cases makes this conversation a heck of a lot funnier. It is a bit intriguing how the tables have turned on some of the players that made the final cut here -- somewhat sad, too.

At one point, there was a guy who could drop 40 points on any given night back in the day. Now, he's hanging out in a suit riding the bench for the Miami Heat just so he can finally say he won it all -- ring a bell? I thought it would.

With that said, enjoy the list and try not to feel too bad for the teams that dished out all the cash.

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10. Corey Maggette, Golden State Warriors: 5 Years $50 Million

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Auburn Hills, Michigan, UNITED STATES

Corey Maggette actually put up decent numbers in the first two years of his deal, but also missed a total of 43 games those two seasons due to injury. Towards the end of his contract, his field goal percentage dropped terribly. Last year, the final year, he shot only 35 percent from the field. Yet, he was paid an average of $10 million per year on this horrendous contract.

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9. Kenyon Martin, Denver Nuggets: 7 Years $92.5 Million

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Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

We all know this story. A thriving power forward with the New Jersey Nets gets a ridiculously long contract worth nearly $100 million and then can’t stay off the injury report. It’s a shame Martin’s health went to crap, because he was the closest thing we’ve seen to Blake Griffin in the past decade.

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8. Juwan Howard, Washington Wizards: 7 Year $105 Million

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Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Being the very first $100 million man in NBA history, Juwan Howard sorely disappointed Washington Wizards fans. He’s never been more than a second option, putting up satisfactory numbers that equated to just one playoff appearance with Washington.

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7. Larry Hughes, Cleveland Cavaliers: 5 Years $70 Million

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Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Inconsistent play and a multitude of injuries are what made this deal one of the worst in NBA history, not just this decade. After signing his deal with the Cleveland Cavaliers, he only was able to start more than 32 games once with the team.

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6. Gilbert Arenas, Washington Wizards: 6 years $111 Million

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Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports

Remember how this one ended? Oh yeah, legal issues. Surprise! Gilbert Arenas was developing into one of the most exciting players in all of the NBA, but after injuries derailed that path he wound up being suspended for having a gun in the locker room and never really got back to his old ways after that.

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5. Eddy Curry, New York Knicks: 6 Years $60 Million

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Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

In his first season with the New York Knicks, Eddy Curry put up nearly 20 points per game – that didn’t last long. After the first year, Curry’s production dropped immensely and the real Eddy Curry stood up. He became a lazy, selfish and incompetent player for the rest of his career which surprisingly is still going today.

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4. Elton Brand, Philadelphia 76ers: 5 Years $80 Million

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Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

$16 million per year got the Philadelphia 76ers 29 games played in the first season of this contract, and a mere average of 13 points and 6.0 rebounds in his second year. Since then, the production has only gone downhill and now he’s a free agent looking for around $1-$2 million per year. It's funny how things change.

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3. Ben Wallace, Chicago Bulls: 4 Years $60 Million

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Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
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2. Jermaine O’Neal, Indiana Pacers: 7 Years $126 Million

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Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Jermaine O’Neal hasn’t played a full season in his entire 16 year career. What did the Indiana Pacers think they were getting into? He’s a likable guy, but was constantly battling injuries every single season. O’Neal could have been one of the best power forwards of the decade had he stayed healthy. Well, at least he’s got the money.

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1. Rashard Lewis, Orlando Magic: 6 Years $118 Million

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Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

Good lord, do the Orlando Magic realize what they’ve done still to this day? Before signing with the Magic, Rashard Lewis was a good player – not great. After signing with Orlando, his production was just about the same and he never developed into the superstar they had hoped for. His career has now gotten so bad that he is riding the bench in a suit most nights for the Miami Heat just to finally win a ring.

Around the Web

  • Bill Morgan

    How about that lazy bum Andrew Bynum who got $16million dollars from the 76ers for playing in exactly 0 games, and only one full court scrimmage..Please go away

  • Arizona Jim

    How about that bum Amar’e?

  • orca343

    How about 35 mil for one season to Jordan………………………………….oh yea

  • Amasa Delano

    Kenyon Martin the “closest thing to Blake Griffin”? How so? They’re both athletic big men, but it ends there. Griffin is a high-percentage, high-rebounding scorer; Martin is a low-percentage, low-rebounding defensive player.

  • DS

    How can Juwan Howard be on this list when his contract was signed in the ’90s?