Everyone knew that this was going to be the offseason that was lackluster. There was really just one bona fide star, Anthony Davis, on the market and all signs point to him resigning with the Los Angeles Lakers. We just don’t know how much or for how long. Not to mention, the Lakers might have had the best offseason with the deals that weren’t named Anthony Davis.
As for other teams in the league, they used this opportunity to pay or overpay in this case, for free agents. There were some smart teams out there like the New York Knicks that didn’t get trapped in spending too much money on average players. However, these five teams went out of their way to dish out money that was not necessary. With that said, these five players were given the worst contracts in the 2023 offseason.
No. 5: Joe Harris, 4-year, $72 million
Harris is a playsugarhouse and nobody ever knows the odds of his commitment to the Brooklyn Nets. Signing him for $18 million per season just does not make sense. The Nets gave Harris, who is coming off a season with an average of 14.5 points per game, nearly as much money as Zach Lavine. The Chicago Bulls star may not be on a winning team, but he can get you nearly 26 points a night.
Harris is a spot shooter that can’t create his own shot. Harris has spent the bulk of the last two seasons playing without Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant. This feels like the Nets are paying a great value to Joe Johnson. That $18 million could have been spread out across two role players.
Instead, the Nets made a “Nets move” and dished out way too much money because Harris was considered a top free agent in this year’s class. Any other general manager would have known that Harris would have not cracked the top-10 in any other season. Not the Nets though.
No. 4: Davis Bertans, 5-years, $80 million
Which team is really good at overpaying for one good season? If you guessed the Washington Wizards, you would be correct. In 2018, Otto Porter Jr. was coming off a season that saw him average 14.7 points, 6.4 rebounds, and shooting 44.1% from the three-point range. That rewarded him a four-year, $106 million contract. You would have thought that the Wizards would have learned their lesson.
Bertans spent one season with the Wizards after three years with the Spurs. Bertans went from scoring eight points a game to scoring 15.4 points and shooting 43% from three-point range. This smells like Porter’s contract from those years ago. There’s a reason that not many teams were going after him.
The Wizards are likely hopeful that a healthy John Wall, a Bradley Beal in his prime, and the sharpshooting of Bertans can lead the team back to the Eastern Conference Finals. That team was different than this team on so many levels. Between Wall and Bertans, the Wizards have so much wasted money.
No. 3: Jerami Grant, 3-years, $60 million
The agent for Grant conducted a masterpiece by swinging this deal for Jerami Grant. The Detroit Pistons are trying to shore up their bench but did an overall horrible job. The team added Mason Plumlee (honorable-mention worst deal for 3-years, $25 million), Jahlil Okafor, and Tony Bradley. None of these players provide much offense, so the team thought bringing in Grant to be their sixth man could trump these bad moves.
For the Denver Nuggets, Grant averaged 12.0 points and 3.5 rebounds. He shot less than 40% from the three-point range but did have productive playoffs which included scoring point totals of 26 and 20 points respectively against the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference Finals. It appears that this series propelled Grant to making $20 million per season. The Pistons are in purgatory and aren’t coming out anytime soon.
No. 2: Marcus Morris, 4-years, $64 million
Imagine you are talking to the front office of the Los Angeles Clippers and you could ask one question. That one question should be: Why was Marcus Morris worth this money, but not Montrezl Harrell. The Sixth Man of the Year (Harrell) left the Clippers to sign a two-year, $10 million contract with the Los Angeles Lakers. He claims the Clippers did not want to resign him, which makes virtually no sense if the team is willing to give Morris $18 million per season.
Morris’ stats did not suggest that he was on the superfoods list on the market. Before he was traded from the New York Knicks, he was averaging 19.6 points per game, but that number dipped to 10.1 points when he landed in L.A. The Clippers choked away a 3-1 series lead against the Nuggets, overpaid on Morris, and could trade away Lou Williams. The Clippers are losing this offseason in all sorts of ways.
No. 1: Gordon Hayward, 4-years, $120 million
Let’s just be blunt. How can Michael Jordan be the best basketball player of our generation, but also the worst owner in sports too? The Charlotte Hornets will never win with Jordan at the helm and its moves like these that support that claim. The Hornets are willing to spend $40 million per season on an “injury-prone,” post-30, average swingman.
Ever since Hayward suffered his horrific leg injury in 2017, Hayward has not been the same. Hayward went from averaging 11.5 points in 2018 to 17.5 points in 2019, but he lost his starting spot multiple times. His ceiling crashed when he sustained his injury, so given his age and injury history, it doesn’t make sense to pay this much to a guy who likely won’t make another All-Star game ever again.
The Hornets are one of the smallest markets in the league and will have to overpay for talent. However, this was not an A-list player and the team significantly capped themselves for another four years.