I know, I know -- putting "NBA" and "overpaid" in the same sentence is redundant. Putting the overpaid NBA list together in past seasons seemed easier, because there've usually been a handful of guys who were so "Gigli" that it was no contest. This year, though, it seems like so many are getting so much for so little.
I don't know -- I haven't done any analysis -- but this could be for two related reasons. One is that lots of long-term contracts, dished out in the flush Clinton years, are just about, but not quite, ready to run out. The second is that during the flush Clinton years, nobody was talking Moneyball, in any sport. Now, the idea of value seems to be slowly, slowly taking a hold on the NBA.
One caveat: We didn't list players who are collecting paychecks for not playing at all -- your Eddie Robinsons and Scottie Pippens. Only players who've put in some reasonable amount of playing/bench time.
10. Keith Van Horn, Milwaukee Bucks ($14,487,000)
By far the highest-paid Buck, Van Horn chews up a quarter of the team's payroll and has only chipped in 11.3 points and 5.7 rebounds per game, when he's been healthy. Van Horn's good, but not great, and he'll be 30 by the start of the 05-06 season.
9. Jalen Rose, Toronto Raptors ($14,487,000)
After trying and trying to find some stat or metric that would get Rose off this list, I gave up. The Raptors are losers both with and without him, meaning that their highest paid player -- he makes $9 million more than any other Raptor -- is a money pit. Sixteen points, 2 assists, and three rebounds ... Isn't Rose supposed to be a star? Then I triple-checked. Here's what John Hollinger had to say in his 2004-05 Pro Basketball Forecast: "He shouldn't be starting, even on a team as desperate for offense as the Raptors." And this: "Rose's offense would be acceptable if he played any defense, but he doesn't."
That's a lot of ouches in one evaluation. Rose, 32, has come way, way down since his peak years in 2001 and 2002. But nothing like a bundle of cash to cushion your fall.
8. Tim Thomas, New York Knicks ($12,900,000)
Isiah Thomas acquired Tim from Milwaukee in the middle of last season, and it doesn't appear this was one of the key rebuilding moves the Knicks had hoped for. The 6-foot-10-inch forward muscles his way to 3.4 rebounds a game and adds 10.3 points, his worst numbers since the 1998-99 season. He's only 27, but he's a downgrade from his all-overpaid list buddy, Keith Van Horn.
7. Antonio Davis, Chicago Bulls ($12,925,000)
This is what happens when you're 36 years old and playing in your 12th NBA season: the main news item on your ESPN player page provides this skinny on your current status: "mid-back strain, virus, and ear infection." Davis has managed to play almost 24 minutes a game, but has averaged only six points and 5.6 rebounds, following a near-perfect decline-line from 2000-01. Right after that season, he inked a 5-year, $60 million deal, reaping rich rewards for his pre-millennial performances. Despite his floor presence, the Bulls are doing remarkably well.