Let’s take a look at the 10 most overpaid players in the NBA this year. Some players listed below have the work ethic and heart to compete but are physically limited by injuries. A few of the most overpaid NBA players appear to lack the desire and ability to live up to their current contracts. Either way these players are paid extremely well while performing far below team and fan expectations.
Emeka Okafor is one of the highest paid players in the NBA this year with a salary of $13.5 million.(Photo/culhanen/Flickr)
Emeka Okafor, Washington Wizards
Emeka Okafor was the No. 2 overall pick in the 2004 NBA draft. Okafor has actually been a solid player this season for the Washington Wizards, but he is being paid like a perennial All-Star. The six-year, $72 million contract that Okafor signed with the Charlotte Bobcats in 2008 is paying him $13.5 million this year. Okafor is averaging 9.6 points and 9.0 rebounds per game for the Wizards.
Andrew Bogut, Golden State Warriors
Andrew Bogut is a productive player when he is healthy but his absence due to injury has become an all too common sight for the Golden State Warriors. The last time Bogut played more than 70 games in a season was in 2007-08. Bogut was expected to be healthy by this point in the season, but his injuries have limited him to only 13 starts for the Warriors.
It is clear that injuries have affected his play as well when he is on the court. Bogut is averaging only 6.8 points and 6.6 rebounds per game, well below his career averages of 12.5 points and 9.3 rebounds per game. Unfortunately for the Warriors, he is on the books for $13 million this season.
Ben Gordon, Charlotte Bobcats
The same Detroit Pistons team that overpaid Charlie Villanueva during the 2009 offseason also signed free-agent shooting guard Ben Gordon to a five-year, $50 million contract. Gordon was coming off a season in which he averaged 20.7 points per game and had developed into a clutch scorer for the Bulls.
Since signing his contract, Gordon has averaged less than 14 points per game. The Pistons traded Gordon to the Charlotte Bobcats during the off-season but the change of scenery has done little for Gordon’s game. Gordon is averaging 11.9 points and 2.1 assists per game for the lowly Bobcats while making $12.4 million this year.
Kris Humphries, Brooklyn Nets
While the Nets are enjoying a solid debut in Brooklyn this year, it has nothing to do with forward Kris Humphries. Humphries has slowly become invisible in Brooklyn as he has seen a drastic decrease in his minutes per game under Nets head coach P.J. Carlesimo. The Nets signed Humphries to a one-year deal for $12 million this past off-season and are only getting 5.5 points and 5.9 rebounds per game in return.
Hedo Turkoglu, Orlando Magic
Hedo Turkoglu is having the worst season of his 12-year NBA career. Turkoglu has struggled with a hand injury, a performance-enhancing drug suspension and incredibly poor play. When Turkoglu has been on the court he has been woefully ineffective, averaging only 2.9 points and 2.4 rebounds per game.
Turkoglu has only averaged 17 minutes per game and with a shooting percentage of 26.4 it is no wonder he cannot muster any offense. Turkoglu‘s 2012-13 salary is a whopping $11.8 million.
Richard Jefferson, Golden State Warriors
Richard Jefferson was once a dependable source of offense for the New Jersey Nets. Jefferson was an athletic scorer who averaged 22.6 points per game during the 2007-08 season. Unfortunately for Jefferson his scoring has decreased every year since then.
Jefferson has bottomed out this season, averaging only 3.5 points per game. The Golden State Warriors are paying Jefferson $10.2 million this year for his minimal productivity.
Andris Biedrins, Golden State Warriors
Golden State Warriors center Andris Biedrins is making $9 million this season but averages less than one point per game. Biedrins is now a backup that only plays only 9.4 minutes per contest and rarely looks to shoot. The Warriors have an early-termination clause on the last year of Biedrins contract that they will surely exercise this off-season.
Tyrus Thomas has gone from a potential cornerstone player to one that is seldom used for the Charlotte Bobcats. (Photo/joshuak8/Flickr)
Tyrus Thomas, Charlotte Bobcats
Tyrus Thomas received a five-year, $40 million contract from the Charlotte Bobcats in 2010. Thomas was seen a key player that would help a rebuilding Bobcats franchise that desperately wanted to win. Things have not gone as planned for Thomas or the Bobcats this season.
Thomas is enduring his worst season in the NBA, averaging only 4.8 points and 2.8 rebounds per game. Thomas missed 30 games earlier this season due to leg injury and is now missing games due to his poor play. He has been terribly inconsistent this season and Mike Dunlap has chosen not to use him at all with increasing frequency. Thomas is young enough that he can hopefully salvage his career with continued hard work.
Lamar Odom, Los Angeles Clippers
For the second straight season Lamar Odom is being paid handsomely while contributing very little. Odom is having another lackluster season, as he is averaging only 4.1 points and 5.8 rebounds per game.
Odom was once a key contributor for two Los Angeles Lakers championship teams. However, that Lamar Odom exited stage left a few years ago. The current version of Lamar Odom is a sub-par backup with no offensive range for the Los Angeles Clippers. Odom will be a free agent this offseason and will find it difficult to command a fraction of his current annual salary of $8.2 million.
Charlie Villanueva, Detroit Pistons
Charlie Villanueva is averaging 7.2 points and 3.8 rebounds per game for the Detroit Pistons. This would not be terrible for a role player, but Villanueva is making more than $8 million this season. Villanueva is also shooting just 39 percent for the second straight year. The Pistons signed Villanueva as a free agent after the 2008-09 season, in which he averaged a career high 16.2 points and 6.7 rebounds per game for the Milwaukee Bucks. Villanueva has never lived up to five-year, $35 million contract that he received after his career year in Milwaukee.
The NBA’s new collective bargaining agreement will limit the number of high-dollar, long-term contracts that teams hand out during the offseason. The luxury tax penalties are much more severe than they were in the past and teams will have to carefully decide what players are worthy of a long-term financial commitment. The teams that currently employ the most overpaid NBA players can only wait until they have another chance to spend their money in free agency. This time around teams will try to exercise more caution than they have in years past to avoid a costly mistake that could limit their teams flexibility for years to come.