Blogtable: Big-Money Busts (So Far)

Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes to weigh in on the three most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.

Week 10: The best team in the NBA | Show us you’re worth it | Best, worst: ‘Cats, Cavs or Wizards

Deron Williams isn’t living up to his big contract yet? Who else has to show you some more for the money in 2013?

Steve Aschburner: Let’s assume Carlos Boozer is too old an answer here, that JaVale McGee is too early an answer here and that Andrew Bynum is too obvious an answer here. Ersan Ilyasova is too below-the-radar for most folks, and I’m assuming that Rudy Gay soon demonstrates his true value either on the court for Memphis or in a trade package when the Grizzlies face some hard economic reality. So I’m going with New Orleans guard Eric Gordon, a player who has missed 112 of a possible 179 regular-season games over the past two-plus seasons. Gordon was handed a $58 million contract last summer despite his knee problems and has been accorded “franchise guy” treatment by two organizations and a suitor or two. He remains a potential star and, remember, in the NBA staying healthy isn’t just luck, it’s a skill.

Fran BlineburyRoy Hibbert. After getting his big money, he’s down across the board in points, rebounds, field-goal percentage and even free-throw shooting.  He gets a run for his money from Dwight Howard, who for all the noise, the drama and the diva tendencies, has just not played like a guy who will be offered the keys to the Lakers’ franchise.  But he’ll get them anyway.

Jeff CaplanMichael Beasley is tremendously under-performing his contract, but the Suns should have known better. So, hellooooo, Roy Hibbert. With Danny Granger down, Hibbert’s numbers are have taken a hit across the board. He’s not even shooting 40 percent from the field — inexcusable for a traditional big man, after being near 50 percent last season. Maybe expectations were too high simply from Hibbert being offered the max by other teams. The Pacers had to match, but they need more than Hibbert’s bringing.

Scott Howard-Cooper: If you are going strictly on contract, and rightly take Dirk Nowitzki and Andrew Bynum out of the mix because of injury, it’s Pau Gasol. But if this is about regressing in urgent ways, say hello to DeMarcus Cousins. His behavior is worse than before, his play is backsliding, and the Kings are going down with him. Cousins is the most important player on the team. That’s a measure of value beyond salary.

John Schuhmann: Amar’e Stoudemire is too obvious an answer, right? Jeff Green is probably an obvious answer too, but he’s my answer. Green deserves a ton of credit for coming back from heart surgery, but that doesn’t mean he deserved $36 million guaranteed. The Celtics need Green to keep their vets fresh and to keep things from falling apart when they go to the bench, but that hasn’t happened. He’s shooting 41 percent and he’s got the worst per-possession plus-minus in Boston’s rotation. Green has the physical tools to be a great player, but he’s never really been able to put it together. Now would be a good time.

Sekou Smith: If we go around identifying guys who aren’t “living up to their contracts,” the line around headquarters here could get pretty long. Williams isn’t even the highest paid player on the Nets’ roster — that distinguished honor belongs to shooting guard Joe Johnson. But neither member of the Nets’ starting backcourt, easy targets in light of what’s gone on in Brooklyn the past 10 days, can touch Philadelphia’s Andrew Bynum in this category. The former Los Angeles Lakers big man has yet to grace us with his presence this season, due to injury, of course. At least Williams, and Johnson for that matter, are in uniform most every night.


  1. Kamote says:

    @Greenallday18Leon M. Keefe

    Bro, it’s James WORTHY (Lakers, with Magic and Kareem) they’ve drawn the comparisons with. That was after the pre-season games. No worries man, still a Boston fan :). I just hope the Green, Jared, Lee and Bradley would swiftly develop this season, to give ample rest to aging players, give more options to Doc, and give the C’s the core in the next few years.

  2. Smiley says:

    Royce White. Not only is he taking money while not contributing on court, he’s taking shots at the rocket’s public image while doing so.

  3. @ kamote-Green hasn’t been compared to lbj-Green’s a great player in his own right who was in the shadow of durant & westbrook. watch & see he’ll prove you wrong now that he has a chance even after heart surg. If anyone iv’e heard him compared to Pierce & again he’s in his own right!!! GREENALLDAY18BANNER18’sACOMIN”13

  4. Ok so we’re talking about big $ bust-players not living up to their perspective contracts but giving some lead way for injuries, fair enough. Schuhmann i think a 100% healthy Green deserves $36m guaranteed cause he’s an awesome talent & hasn’t had the full opportunity to show it yet. I mean you give him credit for coming back from heart surg then kind of take it back w/ the contract. Mind that he’s not even a year removed from that so gotta give him a lot more ton of credit as his surg seems a lot more serious than some of the other high profile players surg or injuries & he came back quicker than others around the league. As a die hard Celts fan i want to see a lot more out of him too but because i know he has it-he definitely has all star capability, he’ll get there, I’ll say by all star break-when realistically heart surg (of course i’m not a doctor) prob need more than 1 year. I think Ainge made that deal w/ him cause he knows Greens potential & has faith in him. You’ll see, Green will be taking over games down the road-& i think he’s close to doing so. I see everybody’s giving amar’e injury lead way-ok-maybe a lil. I agree that he’s a really good player but not worth 5yr $100mil-no way even w/o injury!!! You only give something like that to Jordon & only Jordon-for one Jordon will still play even w/ a bad case of the flu!!! lol- ny was seriously crazy for that contract to begin w/!!! To me that’s the biggest not even a flop but not worth the contract to begin with!!!

  5. Filipino Idiot says:

    So J Lin haters have been shut out cold. Good to see him performing well and not get included on this discussion.

  6. Willy says:

    Maybe? Just maybe this is the beginning of the end of the big big contracts? With so many great young players now, making whatever they make, much less than D Will and JJ in Brooklyn, the talent pool is bigger than ever. More players to choose from. It would be nice to think so, with ticket prices coming down in the same manner. Ask another question? Who is worth the big salary these days? Would Tim Duncan be playing better than he is right now, in another city, with another group of young players, playing for more money?

    • Shadowspinner says:

      Worth a big salary?

      Durant, James (and I don’t like Lebron), Chris Paul, Kevin Love, Rajon Rondo (arguable) . . . . I’d say that’s about it. James and Rondo are consistent triple double threats, Durant is a scoring machine with solid contributions in other areas and is still improving despite being an MVP contender, Chris Paul is a double double and so smart with the ball he makes the whole team seem better than they should, and Kevin Love has a scary amount of upside and has shown that his potential won’t stay as only potential.

      Current salary busts:

      Dwight Howard – athletically talented but has never proven he’s a winner.
      Bynum – bad attitude, injury prone, checks out mentally at random times . . . it’s too bad potential doesn’t always turn into talent.
      Bargnani – the Raptors right now are pretty inconsequential, but Bargnani is injured, his numbers were down pre injury and he has never shown that he has the physical or mental toughness to merit what he’s been paid.
      Jermey Lin – maybe not a bust, but far overpaid for what he’s given them and for what he has the potential to give them. His PR hype inflated his value far beyond what he should have been paid.

      • Breeezy says:

        Yep, agree on all of that. The only thing I’d say is that Lin has been somewhat of an on-court bust, but he was worth spending the money on, as the Rockets will make up the dividends on marketing to the audience that has fallen in love with him. Gives them further means of marketing in the Asian community following on from Yao. But yes, he is not worth $24 mil based on his on court performance this season.

  7. Ivan says:

    And by far Michael Beasley

  8. Ivan says:

    Joe Johnson, Roy Hibbert, Eric Gordon, and Bynum have the most undeserving contracts in my opinion.

  9. The Beard says:

    How about the entire Lakers Franchise?

  10. Kings4 says:

    Cousins is not paid big money, and that was the question, and besides, look at John Wall and the others picked ahead of DMC, they haven’t produced either. Amare is the bust to me, he is paid huge for being injured, and last year while healthy he really hurt his teams chemistry and hurt the whole teams defence, he is paid like a superstar yet not even producing near an all star level.

    • Breeezy says:

      Agreed, Cousins is not paid big enough and although has shown plenty of bad attitude, there is time for him to fix that and become the star he can be. Guys got talent, and is playing well, but just not to the level he can. I’d agree with Amare as well, simply for the lack of production and the size of his contract. Pretty simple.

  11. Game Time says:

    The most talked about offeseason acquisition(s) to have a sub .500 record. That is the biggest bust.

  12. Kings4 says:

    We are talking big money busts, so take Cousins out of it. I would look at John Wall and others who were picked before Cousins anyway, how are they producing and helping their teams? i would say Stoudamire is the biggest bust, his injury has kept him from being any factor this year, and last year he hurt the team chemistry and they Knicks were better without him, also i dont think much will change as he gets healthu, and the Knicks are paying huge for hardly anything.

  13. ko0kie says:

    Greg Oden? oh wait he is gone… but not without checking in almost 10 mio. $ last year without playing ONE game..

    • bigwes95 says:

      but there’s a difference betweem greg oden and someone like bynum. oden never got to show his full potential and just got the worst luck possible, he was being compared to Bill Russell with his defense. people talk about anthony davis and his defense, his defense can’t stand up to oden’s . oden average 2.3 blocks in 23.9 minutes, averaging more blocks with ten less minutes. bynum is just stupid and blew his chance by not trying to stay healthy at all, oden tried his hardest to get back on the court.


    go kobe! ur the man!

  15. Kamote says:

    Beasley – 2nd pick behind Rose. Heat, T-Wolves, Suns. Everyone knows Darko is a bust in the first year, but this guy just keeps on teasing.

    Green – Been inconsistent after being given the “Big-game-James” comparison

    Amare – NY gave franchise player pay to someone they’d (secretly) wish won’t get healthy to play so that it won’t disrupt team chemistry… WTF?!?!

    Hedo – They can’t even bundle his contract to DH takers

    Bynum – Forget the immaturity. Bynum isn’t able to play a full season for how many years, and he won’t be able to throughout his career

  16. slider821 says:

    A lot of valid names thrown around for biggest busts; I’m going with the lackluster yet wallet breaking combination of underperformers in DWill and JJohnson. They play like good players, that is all, not star players and certainly not stars. I kind of feel bad for BKN, but they are big market so not really.

  17. krespino says:

    Don’t expect anything big from Bynum until the last year of his contract.
    Till then he will be injured most of the time and unwilling the other times.