The most overpaid players in the NBA

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May 19th, 2020

2020 will be remembered by fans for being the year the NBA season was wiped out by the COVID-19 pandemic. It will also be remembered by a select number of team owners as the year they paid way too much for a bunch of stiffs and scrubs. We’re talking about has-beens and never-weres who spent far more time on the sidelines than on the court.

Join us now as we identify the five most wildly overpaid players from the 2019-20 season.

5. Kent Bazemore ($19.2 million)

No, that’s not a misprint. An NBA general manager actually thought it would be a good idea to shell out nearly $20 million a year for Kent Bazemore. The results have been every bit as disastrous as you would expect.

The journeyman guard averaged just 10.3 points in zero starts for the Kings, and was traded to the Trail Blazers on Jan. 21 in an attempt to shed salary. Trevor Ariza, Wenyen Gabriel, and Caleb Swanigan also changed addresses in the deal, but it hardly matters as the multi-player swap was all about getting rid of Bazemore’s albatross of a contract.

4. Tyler Johnson ($19.2 million)

Remember the good ol’ days when $19.2 million could buy you a private island in the Turks and Caicos? These days all it gets you is Tyler Johnson. The undrafted combo guard started just three games this season for the Suns and averaged a career-low 5.7 points per game. At this point in his career, he’s likely to be better remembered for looking like Mose Schrute than for anything he accomplishes on the court.

3. Nicolas Batum ($25.5 million)

Few players have slid into irrelevance faster than Nicolas Batum, who was among the most versatile players in the league as recently as 2016, when the Hornets rewarded him with a generous five-year, $120 million deal. It’s since become one of the most untradeable contracts in the league as Batum has fallen out of James Borrego’s rotation as the team focuses on the future.

It would be easy to make fun of Batum and his paltry 3.6 point per game average, but we’re going to take the high road since he clearly knows he’s overpaid. “I apologize to the people here,” Batum told the Charlotte Observer, “because they put so much faith in me. And it didn’t go well…. It didn’t work out… This franchise has got a bright future, but I don’t think I’ll be part of it.”

2. Otto Porter ($27.2 million)

Otto Porter is a perfectly serviceable NBA player whose all-around game would fit seamlessly on any team in the league. On a championship squad he’d be your fourth best player, but unfortunately he isn’t on a championship squad. Quite the opposite. Porter is playing on a team that’s going nowhere fast and he’s being paid like a three-time MVP.

The 26-year-old Porter appeared in only 14 games this season after fracturing his left foot in November, and averaged just 11.9 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 1.8 assists during those contests. For those of you keeping track at home, that’s $162,874 for every point he scored. Nice work, if you can get it.

1. John Wall ($37.8 million)

In a sense, all NBA players are being overpaid this year since 20% of the schedule has been scrapped. However, even by that measure, John Wall is still being grossly overcompensated. The five-time All-Star missed the entire 2019-20 season after rupturing his left Achilles tendon when he slipped in his $4.9 million mansion.

We could have singled out any number of injured players for this spot. Kevin Durant ($37.1 million), Klay Thompson ($32.7 million), Kyrie Irving ($31.7 million), and Chandler Parsons ($25.1 million) all come to mind, but Wall ultimately gets top billing because of the sheer size of his contract and the way it prevents the Wizards from surrounding him with enough talent to win.

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