Worst free agent signing in OKC Thunder history: Vin Baker
7 years, $86 million
For a handful of players on this list, the team did not make a huge misstep at the moment of signing or re-signing a player. There will always be signings that look good at the time, but are illuminated by hindsight.
That is likely how the major contract giving to Vin Baker should be viewed as well. In 1997 after four years with the Milwaukee Bucks, he was traded to the then-Seattle SuperSonics in a three-team deal. His first year in Seattle was his fourth-consecutive NBA All-Star nod, and he won a gold medal for the United States as well. He was a really good player.
The contract he was offered in 2000 was steep but not insane, and Baker seemed wholly capable of playing up to it. Unfortunately for all parties involved, that was not to be. Baker had some nagging injuries that led him to greater and greater quantities of alcohol and weight issues that largely derailed his career.
After a few seasons of trying to make it work, the SuperSonics moved on, sending him to the Boston Celtics for a package of players. He lasted another six years in the league and has taken steps to get his life and career in order since, which is great. It came too late to save any of the SuperSonics’ investment.