Worst free agency signings in NBA history: 7. Erick Dampier, Dallas Mavericks
Big man Erick Dampier was an interesting case during his NBA career. He’s one of the primary sources of the term “contract season” with the way he maneuvered his way into a lucrative free agent deal with the Dallas Mavericks.
The term is reserved for those who use the final year of their contract to boost their production. In Dampier’s case, it worked wonders to extend his career longer than it should have.
Dampier used the 2003-04 NBA season with the Golden State Warriors to parlay it into a seven-year, $73 million deal in the 2004 NBA offseason. He produced a career-high 12.3 points and 12.0 rebounds per contest and 1.9 blocks per game with the Warriors prior to signing the deal.
Prior to the season, Dampier hadn’t averaged more than 11.8 points per game, which came during his rookie year back in 1997-98. He compiled a career-best 42 double-doubles, while earning a big payday in the long run. Though for the Mavericks, they would find out in a hurry it was fool’s gold.
Dampier compiled a total of 50 double-doubles across six seasons with the Mavericks. He didn’t achieve more than 9.2 points or 8.5 rebounds per contest after his first season with Dallas either. In fact, his production declined each year or fluctuated during his time with the team.
He averaged 6.5 points, 7.6 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per contest through 424 appearances in the lineup. By his final season, he was traded to the Miami Heat in a five-player deal for Tyson Chandler and Alexis Ajinca.