View Full Version : CNNSI: NBA's Biggest Bargains, Salary Disasters

01-13-2006, 05:04 PM

Money men
Who's offering biggest bang for buck, and who isn't
Posted: Thursday January 12, 2006 11:29AM; Updated: Thursday January 12, 2006 5:28PM

Whenever I would engage my late father-in-law in a conversation about sports, the topic would inevitably turn to money. Frankly, I don't like the subject; it blurs the real reason for sports, which is this: Athletes play games so guys like me, who can't do anything else, can themselves make a living.

But Don Kisselbach, who earned every blessed dollar he ever made, was fond of judging the worth of jocks purely by the legitimacy or illegitimacy of their salaries. In his eyes, all of them came up wanting -- pro athletes were almost by definition over-earning.

Everything is relative, though, and so, in honor of Don, I hereby dedicate this week's five-pack -- biggest NBA bargains and biggest NBA salary disasters -- to his memory. I have no doubt he's resting in peace, but I'm also sure it took him a while to get over the announcement that Alex Rodriguez was making $252 million.

Note that I've ignored rookie scale contracts; we can concede (though I can't speak for Don) that LeBron James, whose rookie deal expires after next season, is a bargain at $4.6 million annually.

Also note that, regarding the salary disasters, I've looked at long-term deals. We can all pretty much agree that the $15.8 million Penny Hardaway and the $13.9 million Antonio Davis are earning in New York; the $15 million Keith Van Horn is earning in Dallas, and the $14 million Tim Thomas is earning in Chicago are horrendous deals for their teams. (I know Don agrees.) But those contracts are finished at the end of this season.

Biggest Bargains

5. Kyle Korver, Philadelphia 76ers
The total worth of his deal is $27.5 million, which ain't peanuts. (Though it is when compared to, say, the $62 million the Sixers owe to Chris Webber over the next three years or the $60.6 million they owe to Samuel Dalembert through 2011.) But Korver is signed through '11, and his long-range shooting will make that seem like a bargain.

4. Eddie House, Phoenix Suns
The quick-talking, quick-on-the-trigger jump-shooter is now with his sixth team. That explains how the Suns got him for $1.8 million over the next two years. He's averaging 10.8 points off the bench and is keeping the Suns on fire with his assassin's swagger.

3. Maurice Williams, Milwaukee Bucks
The free agent out of Alabama, who is getting just $3.7 million over the next two seasons, is averaging over 15 points and is an exciting player to boot. He's not a starter, but look for him to be on the floor at crunch time.

2. Robert Horry, San Antonio Spurs
How many players make $3.3 million per season (he's signed through 2008), own six championship rings, will undoubtedly win a playoff game or two all by himself this season, and has a nickname (Big Shot Rob) that comes from his clutch shooting? Only one.

1. Chauncey Billups, Detroit Pistons
We have a nickname competition going here because Billups, formerly known as Smooth, is now Mr. Big Shot. Hey, there's room for two, particularly attached to guys who can shoot it like Horry and Chauncey can in June. Largely because he's never hung around long enough with one team to get a big deal, Billups is due just $19 million over the next three years, though the final year is $6.8 million, at his option. Look for that number to go up.

Biggest Salary Disasters

5. Carlos Boozer, Utah Jazz
Since bolting from the warmth of LeBron's bosom in Cleveland after the '04 season, the injury-plagued frontcourtman has played in just 51 games. And his free-agent deal pays him close to $12 million per year over the next five years, including a player option year at $12.7 million.

4. Kwame Brown, Los Angeles Lakers
No. 1 picks always get these kind of deals, we suppose, but the Lakers owe him almost $25 million over the next three seasons. If he stays with the club, he may learn to hold onto a ball in the pivot by then.

3. Brian Cardinal, Memphis Grizzlies
Much was made about Cardinal's being in the right place and the right time to get a deal worth $45.4 million through 2010. He has been injury-plagued (offseason knee surgery, another knee injury, sprained right shoulder), but even a healthy Cardinal wouldn't be worth that chunk of change.

2. Adonal Foyle, Golden State Warriors
He's a gentleman and a scholar, but the Colgate product has never played like the dominant defensive center he was supposed to be. Nor has he ever averaged six points a game. Nevertheless, he's into the Warriors for $34.2 million over the next four years, with a fifth (for $10.6 million) at team option. (We doubt they'll be biting at that.)

1. Jerome James, New York Knicks
He had one good playoff series -- last year against the Sacramento Kings, not exactly the barometer for demonstrating interior toughness. Off that, the Knicks gave the former Seattle Super Sonic $30 million over the next five seasons. Right now, Larry Brown wouldn't accept a check for that much to get James into the rotation.

01-13-2006, 05:59 PM
They forgot Bender.


Roy Munson
01-13-2006, 06:56 PM
I think Freddy Jones belongs on the bargain list.

01-13-2006, 07:03 PM
I think Freddy Jones belongs on the bargain list.

From the article:

"Note that I've ignored rookie scale contracts;"

You could make a good argument for JAMES Jones being on that list, though. :grumble: