The 20 worst free agent signings in NBA history

Derrick Rose, Chicago Bulls NBA (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Derrick Rose, Chicago Bulls NBA (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /
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#6. Timofey Mozgov: 4 years, $64 million

The summer of 2016 has proven notorious for the number of awful contracts that were given out. This came about after the salary cap jumped by a record $ 24 million, resulting in several teams having more cap space than they knew what to do with. The Lakers were one of those teams, and, man, did they screw up. One of the bad contracts they signed was a 4-year, $64 million deal with Timofey Mozgov.

Mozgov played a fairly big role on the Cleveland Cavaliers’ 2015 NBA Finals team, but his role was reduced during their 2016 championship season. Despite that, the Lakers decided to bet against themselves and offer a low-end starting center $16 million a season. Obviously, it didn’t work very well. He played just 54 games for Los Angeles before they shut him down.

They then compounded their mistake by dumping him on the Brooklyn Nets and including then-recent former second-overall pick D’Angelo Russell, only to watch Russell become an All-Star. To their credit, they did get the pick that became Kyle Kuzma, only to later trade him to the Wizards as a part of the Russell Westbrook deal.

Westbrook was, of course, traded along with the Lakers’ 2027 and 2029 firsts in a deal to bring Russell back to Los Angeles. Had they not signed Mozgov, then they wouldn’t have had to dump him, and the Lakers may have had Russell develop into an All-Star, resulting in them not trading for Westbrook and later dumping him for the cost of two future firsts. Full circle.

Ultimately, Mozgov was only a Laker for a season. Still, his contract was disastrous enough that its ripple effects will continue to dramatically alter their team for at least 13 years after he was initially signed.