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We already covered the NBA’s 10 Best Value Contracts in a previous piece. Now, it’s time to look at some of the worst value contracts in the league. Full disclosure: Opposite of the best contracts, it’s getting harder and harder to find 10 bad or even questionable contracts. More and more these deals trend towards a “Kind of get it, but don’t like it” thought vs being a truly bad deal.

A few notes:

  • Unlike the Best Values, you will see max contracts and max extensions here. Some of them are just sort of mind-boggling in terms of long-term committed salary.
  • No rookie scale contracts will appear here. Even if we think the pick was bad, the contract is what it is with rookie scale deals.
  • This is a worst value list, so role and production vs contract factor in greatly. The same is true of not only the size of the contract (both per year and in total), but the length of the contract too. And the player’s age is a major factor as well.
  • No expiring contracts, nor contracts that are turning into expiring deals next season will be here. So, you won’t find Ben Simmons or Lonzo Ball on this list. As history has taught us, once a contract is an expiring contract, it always has some level of trade value.
  • This list factors in right now and looking forward. In all cases, total money will include this season, plus what’s remaining on the deal.

Got all that? On to the list!

Honorable Mentions

It was hard enough to find 10 contracts we felt deserved to be here. This time around, we’re not going to include any honorable (dishonorable, maybe?) mentions. They’d all be a stretch, as you’ll see when we get to the final few deals we are including.

On to the 10 Worst Values Contracts!

10 Worst Values Contracts

1. Bradley Beal – Phoenix Suns

Four years, $207.7 million (player option in 2026-27)

This contract was questionable when it was signed, and it’s only gotten worse. Beal isn’t worth an AAV of over $50 million per season. His production isn’t at that level, and he also can’t stay healthy. In addition, the player option here makes this even worse, as Beal has control over what happens in what will be his age-33 season. If that wasn’t enough, he still has his no-trade clause.

2. Jordan Poole – Washington Wizards

Four years, $123 million

It’s kind of funny that the players at the top of this list were effectively traded for each other. Poole’s track record of good health and the fact that he makes nearly $85 million less than Beal is why he comes in below him on the list. But don’t get it twisted, Poole’s production doesn’t match his contract. And, we’ve discovered again, that he’s better in a bench role. $30.75 million AAV is an awfully big contract for a reserve.

3. Zach LaVine – Chicago Bulls

Four years, $178.1 million (player option in 2026-27)

Continuing a trend of shooting guards on tough contracts, we have LaVine. This one is mostly about health. LaVine has missed a lot of this season, and he’s now built a history of knee/leg/foot issues. That’s scary considering how much money he’s owed. And, last but not least, he apparently still wants a trade. That’s a whole lot of negatives going on.

4. Andrew Wiggins – Golden State Warriors

Four years, $109 million (player option in 2026-27)

Wiggins has fallen off since the 2022 NBA Finals. After playing a huge role in the Warriors title that year, Wiggins has missed a lot of time due to off-court matters. We wouldn’t hold that against him as much if he was productive when he did play, but he hasn’t been. That’s a tough combo to swallow. And Golden State still has three more fully guaranteed years left after this one, and Wiggins will turn 30 years old midway through next season. That’s tough to deal with.

5. Khris Middleton – Milwaukee Bucks

Three years, $95 million (player option in 2025-26)

Middleton’s deal would be fine, if he wasn’t visibly breaking down. He’s suffered through three consecutive injury-plagued seasons now. Middleton has also slipped considerably as a defender. As an offensive player, he’s now best as a complementary guy vs being a primary one. That’s good because the Bucks have stars to carry the load. But it doesn’t make Middleton’s contract look any better.

6. Jerami Grant – Portland Trail Blazers

Five years, $160 million (player option in 2027-28)

Grant’s contract is fine right now. It’s probably fine next year too. It’s the final three seasons at over $102 million where things might turn sideways. Grant recently turned 30 years old. That means he’ll be a 34-year-old wing that relies on athleticism at the end of this contract. That’s very worrisome.

7. Draymond Green – Golden State Warriors

Four years, $100 million (player option in 2026-27)

If Green could be relied on to be on the floor, this contract would probably be fine. But between getting himself in consistent trouble with the league, and a mounting injury history, it’s unlikely Green will play many more than half of the maximum games he could on this deal. In addition, he’s openly talked about how retirement is looming. That’s not great for a Warriors team that needs Green to play, and play well, through the life of this contract.

8. Nikola Vucevic – Chicago Bulls

Three years, $60 million

This is where it starts getting really hard to find truly bad contracts. Vucevic’s deal isn’t really all that bad. It’s just sort of…unnecessary. Vucevic is still a nightly double-double guy, but his efficiency is starting to slip. A lot of that is Vucevic being more reliant on his jumper than ever. If that continues, and there aren’t any signs it won’t, the Bulls are under water with this deal.

9. Karl-Anthony Towns – Minnesota Timberwolves

Five years, $257 million (player option in 2027-28) (includes four-year, $221 million extension)

The last two contracts on this list are extensions that don’t seem likely to age very well. Towns is still a terrific offensive weapon, but it’s never been clearer that he can’t anchor the defense for a contender. That means he has to play power forward, and Towns isn’t the same matchup nightmare there as he is as center. In addition, this season is the second in a row where Towns has missed considerable time with a leg injury. Last season it was a calf injury, this year it’s a torn meniscus. That’s worrisome for a guy who hasn’t even started his $221 million long-term extension yet.

10. Damian Lillard – Milwaukee Bucks

Four years, $207.3 million (player option in 2026-27) (includes two-year, $112.9 million extension)

Lillard is still performing at a high level…most of the time. However, the occasional 3-for-17 clunkers are creeping in more and more often. And Lillard’s defense has gone from bad to really bad. Neither of those things are likely to reverse, as Lillard will be 34 years old at the start of next season. And, look, we get it. Lillard got this contract based mostly on past performance. That’s how it works for the late-career max guys. But that doesn’t mean the Bucks won’t be working around this contract when Lillard is making well over $50 million when he’s 35 and 36 years old.