NBA revenues continue to skyrocket. This has resulted in a substantial increase to the salary cap, which has benefitted front offices across the league. The size of contracts for superstar players have reached record-breaking levels.
Most of the league's top players live up to their massive deals. However, there have been multiple instances where a team rolled the dice and it backfired. Here are the worst contracts in the NBA right now.
Some of the reasons why NBA teams get handcuffed to bad contracts is because they have no choice. As a mid-market team, the Charlotte Hornets have to overpay to attract free agents.
Before the 2020-21 season, the Hornets signed veteran forward Gordon Hayward a four-year, $120 million contract. Despite an array of injury concerns, they took a chance on the former All-Star. They hoped that a change of scenery could turn his fortunes around.
Since agreeing to the deal, Hayward hasn't played more than 50 games in a single season. Paying $30 million a season for a player that is constantly in and out of the lineup is not ideal. The Charlotte Hornets have learned that the hard way.
While they didn't sign him to the deal, the Wizards are on the hook for Kristaps Porzingis' $34 million salary this season. Like Hayward, he is a one-time All-Star with a career defined by injuries. He entered the NBA with superstar potential. Instead, he has left everyone wanting more.
The Mavericks signed him to a five-year, $158 million deal in 2019. It didn't take long for them to have buyer's remorse. He never lived up to expectations. When he was healthy, he failed to mesh with Luka Doncic. Hopefully he figures it out in Washington.
During the 2018-19 season, the Philadelphia 76ers went all in by trading for Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris. After being eliminated by the Toronto Raptors in the playoffs, the team had major decisions to make. Both players were entering free agency that summer.
Ultimately, Butler was traded to the Miami Heat. Harris agreed to a five-year, $180 million deal to stay with the 76ers.
While Harris is a reliable player who puts up solid numbers, it's a hefty price to pay for someone who's never been an All-Star. To put it into perspective, Harris earns more than James Harden.
With the emergence of Tyrese Maxey, the 76ers' highest-paid player is now their fourth option on offense.
The Washington Wizards signed star guard Bradley Beal to a five-year, $251 million contract this offseason. He's an All-Star level player in the prime of his career, so the deal seems reasonable at first glance.
However, the contract includes a full no-trade clause. This makes Beal just the 10th player in league have a full no-trade clause in his contract. The Wizards have handcuffed themselves with Beal's contract. Rebuilding will not be a viable option. Beal has complete control over his destiny.
Beal should be applauded for his loyalty in an era where NBA stars are constantly on the move. This was just a bad decision on Washington's part. They are nowhere close to contending with Beal on the roster. Now they are stuck in mediocrity for the next half-decade.
Coming in at the top spot is Russell Westbrook. The nine-time All-Star is in the final season of his contract, but is making over $47 million. He's performing like a replacement-level player.
At his peak, Westbrook was one of the top guards in the NBA. However, he has had a rough fall from grace in recent seasons. After signing a five-year, $206 million deal in 2018, he has been traded three different times. That number could increase to four if the Lakers move him this season.
Westbrook's albatross contract is by far the worst overpay in the league right now. His superstar days are behind him and he's struggled to adjust to a smaller role.
Edited by andrew.tysiak