NBA free agency: 30 worst free agent signings in NBA history

Gilbert Arenas, Nick Young, Washington Wizards. (Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images)
Gilbert Arenas, Nick Young, Washington Wizards. (Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images
Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images /

7 Years, $87 Million. Penny Hardaway. 11. player. 66. . Phoenix Suns

Worst free agency signings in NBA history: 11. Penny Hardaway, Phonenix Suns

The Orlando Magic were onto something when they took Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway as the No. 3 overall pick in the 1993 NBA Draft. The Magic signed Hardaway to the most lucrative deal in team history and for five seasons, he made true on their predictions.

Hardaway made four NBA All-Star appearances in five seasons in Orlando, while producing 19.0 points, 6.3 assists, 4.7 rebounds and 1.9 steals per contest. Despite a devastating knee injury in 1997-98, he still managed to return for all 50 games of a lockout-plagued season. Coincidentally enough, it was the end of the contract for Hardaway.

The Phoenix Suns, equipped already with Jason Kidd in the backcourt, came calling during the 1999 NBA offseason with a seven-year, $87 million deal that was too good for Hardaway to pass up.

He signed and right away it like as though they’d get the Hardaway of old, as he put up 16.9 points, 5.8 rebounds, 5.3 assists and 1.6 steals per contest through 60 games. The Suns made it to the Western Conference Semifinals in the playoffs, where they fell 4-1 to the Los Angeles Lakers.

In 2000-01, Hardaway appeared in just four games due to two microfracture surgeries on his left knee. He returned healthy in 2001-02 to put up 12.0 points, 4.4 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 1.5 steals per game, but the Suns went just 36-46 and missed the postseason.

Prior to the 2004 NBA trade deadline, Hardaway was traded to the New York Knicks when it was clear he was on the decline. In his final 34 games, he was averaging 8.7 points, 2.9 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game in 25.8 minutes per contest. His glory days behind him, he finished out his contract in New York and retired after the 2007-08 NBA season.