Five years and $80 million for Rudy Gay? A few years after you didn’t want to keep paying Pau Gasol? Six years, $119 million for Joe ’12 points a game when it really mattered’ Johnson? Seriously? In 24 hours I already have two new candidates for my worst NBA contracts ever list. Both of these guys are good players and current/potential future All-Stars, don’t get me wrong.
But neither of them is worth that kind of dough right now. Johnson laid a major egg in the playoffs this year against Orlando, and has never proven to be more than a second banana type on a good team. His claim to fame remains getting injured and having to miss a playoff series against the Spurs when he was in Phoenix, when his presence could have put the Suns over the top. That, and being the guy the Suns shouldn’t have let get away. And now, he’s getting a max deal that won’t end until he’s 35 years old. Awesome!
And now to Mr. Gay. 19 points and almost five rebounds a game aren’t bad numbers … if you’re Paul Pierce at 32 years old with tons of playoff mileage on your odometer. But for a guy who hasn’t done anything that matters yet, those numbers don’t mean much of anything. On a different team, a playoff team, Gay might be no more than a sixth man. Yet he’s worth $80 million to a team that didn’t want to pay its best player ever (Gasol) just two years ago, after he’d delivered three playoff appearances as the focal point of the team. That makes plenty of sense. Gay could be an All-Star in a few years, but right now he’s still waiting behind a bunch of guys to get that honor. Were they really that concerned that he’d go somewhere else and take his one dimensional game (scoring is all he’s really good at right now) with him?
And don’t even get me started on Amir ‘he’s going to have that breakout year this coming season…we really mean it!’ Johnson’s five years for $34 million, or Darko ‘worst decision at number two ever’ Millicic’s 4 years for $32 million. Those guys are living proof that functional seven footers are like good looking women; someone’s always willing to give them a chance no matter how lousy they’ve proven themselves to be.
NBA Free Agency: It’s fantastic!