Haunted houses, poorly-acted scary movies and grown men going to costume parties can only mean one thing: it's late October. Once Sept. 30 has passed, advertisers and movie studios go into full-on freak-you-out mode. But no one ever talks about the scariest thing of all: bloated NBA contracts. Just take a few minutes to hop on the Internet and browse through the hundreds of obnoxious salaries being paid to NBA players, and you'll be screaming at such a high pitch that only the neighborhood dogs will be able to hear you. In honor of the most ghoulish holiday of them all, we count down the 13 scariest NBA salaries this season.
13. John Salmons (Sacramento Kings)
2012-2013 Salary: $8,080,000
If you're going to pay a player $8 million a year, you probably want him to score more than 10 points a game. Unfortunately, Salmons averaged a measly 7.5 points per game for the Kings last season while playing under 30 minutes a contest. Not the kind of stats you'd like to see from the highest paid player on your team. In fact, Salmons scoring average dropped by almost half from his 2010-2011 season. The money keeps going up, but the stats keep going down. Something seems fishy here.
12. Charlie Villanueva (Detroit Pistons)
2012-2013 Salary: $8,060,000
It should come as no surprise that the two "crown jewels" of the Detroit Pistons 2009 free agency class are both on this list. The Pistons coup of Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva didn't translate into many victories, just a lot of money against the salary cap. Villanueva has produced extremely modest stats during his time in the Motor City, culminating in an injury-plagued 2011-2012 season in which he appeared in just seven games. As the Pistons shift toward a youth movement, Villanueva somehow remains the third-highest paid player on the team.
11. DeAndre Jordan (Los Angeles Clippers)
2012-2013 Salary: $10,532,977
Jordan is what some might call a "freak athlete." He possesses a ridiculous wingspan, and he can jump higher than a bunny on PEDs. But when you look at the amount of money he's making, "underachiever" is an understatement. In his four-season career, Jordan has averaged just 21 minutes of playing time per game, largely due to his offensive ineptitude. $10 million+ to a guy who spends half a game cooling on the bench! Jordan's forte is blocking shots—he averaged two per game last season—but it's hard to point to anything else he does exceptionally well, other than permanently residing in Lob City. If you're over 6'7", start for an NBA team, and cannot grab 10 rebounds over the course of the game, your height should be revoked.
10. Richard Jefferson (Golden State Warriors)
2012-2013 Salary: $10,164,000
If this were 2007, and the Nets were still in New Jersey, $10 million might be an appropriate amount of money to place into Jefferson's bank account. Heck, that might be a little low. But this is not 2007, and as awesome as it would be, we haven't invented a time machine yet (or flying cars, for that matter. Get it together, scientists). It is 2012, and RJ is no longer scoring 20 points a game and receiving gorgeous bounce passes from Jason Kidd. In fact, the only thing that remains the same about Jefferson is his shiny bald head. This is by no fault of his own, of course. It's his 13th year in the league, and his skills are dwindling. Jefferson hasn't averaged 15 points a game since the 2008-2009 season, and his current mark is a shade over nine a game. His shooting percentage is hovering at just over 40 percent, and he's shooting free throws at a sub-70 percent clip. That's the equivalent of a worker at Subway getting paid $30 an hour to overcook the bread and forget the salami on the BMT. It just doesn't add up.
9. Emeka Okafor (Washington Wizards)
2012-2013 Salary: $13,543,250
When Okafor was drafted by the Charlotte Bobcats back in 2004, he morphed into a double-double machine. But all good things must come to an end, and Okafor has gone from averaging 15 and 10 as a rookie to just 9 points and 8 rebounds this past season, albeit one shortened by injury. A $13 million salary has "budding superstar money" written all over it, but "superstar" Emeka Okafor is not. Sure, he's a solid player who works hard for rebounds and bangs down low, but he's an undersized forward who can't create his own shot and feeds off of putbacks and rebounds. An asset to your team? Certainly. To be making more than twice as much as his superstar point guard, John Wall? Frightening.
8. Hedo Turkoglu (Orlando Magic)
2012-2013 Salary: $11,815,850
If there is one person Hedo Turkoglu should thank for his nearly $12 million contract, it's Dwight Howard. Turkoglu arrived in Orlando in 2004, the same year Howard was drafted. He flourished during his first stint with the Magic, hitting wide open threes thanks to constant pick-and-rolls and Howard double teams. His best stat line came during the 2007-2008 season, when he averaged 19.5 points per game and shot 45 percent from the field. But when Orlando traded him to Toronto in 2009, his numbers plummeted. Without Howard, Turkoglu's inability to create his own shot was exposed. He averaged just 11.3 points in his one season with the Raptors, shooting just 40 percent. The next season, as a member of the Phoenix Suns, his scoring average dipped below double digits. Reunited with Howard the past two seasons, Turkoglu didn't look like the player he once was. Hedo should send Howard a lobster dinner every time he deposits a piece of his ridiculous salary in his bank account.
7. Carlos Boozer (Chicago Bulls)
2012-2013 Salary: $15 million
Let's forget for a minute that he lied to a blind guy. Ask any Utah Jazz or Chicago Bulls fan their thoughts on Carlos Boozer, and their hands will immediately begin pulling out tufts of hair. Boozer is an exercise in frustration. As well as he can play, his injury history, finesse game and sometimes shoddy defense would drive any sane NBA fan to drink. While his great career with Utah was often marred by injury, his impact on the Bulls has not been what fans expected. He has failed to average double-digit rebounds in each of his first two seasons in Chicago, and his scoring average dropped down to 15 points per game, way below the 20 he had been putting up as a member of the Jazz. Boozer's playoff performances have been especially forgettable, especially in 2011 when, alongside a healthy Derrick Rose, he averaged just 12.5 points per game while shooting 43 percent from the field, down almost ten percentage points from his regular-season output. $15 million to disappear in the playoffs? Ouch.
6. Joe Johnson (Brooklyn Nets)
2012-2013 Salary: $19,752,645
Let's make one thing clear. Joe Johnson is a very good basketball player. Let's make another thing clear. Joe Johnson has the sixth largest salary in the NBA. Joe Johnson might not even be in the top ten when it comes to basketball talent. A sharpshooter during his early years with the Phoenix Suns, he left for the Hawks in free agency in 2005 to become "the man" of their team. Although he's steadily averaged upwards of 15 points per game during his career, leading the Hawks to five straight playoff appearances since 2007, his teams have never made it out of the second round. For a guy being paid like a top-five talent, he should have a Finals appearance, an All-Star MVP and his own sneaker by now.
5. Kris Humphries (Brooklyn Nets)
2012-2013 Salary: $12 million
The story of how Kris Humphries was able to weasel a two-year, $24 million contract from the now Brooklyn Nets this past summer should be turned into a detective thriller starring Robert Downey Jr. When you're known equally as "the guy who was married to Kim Kardashian for two months" and "the white guy on the Brooklyn Nets," $12 million seems a bit much. Sure, Humphries had a good 2010-2011 season, averaging a double-double (1o points, 10 rebounds), and, yes, he bumped that up to 13 and 11 last season. But if $12 million contacts were handed out to every guy who barely averages a double-double for two seasons, lots of NBA teams would go bankrupt.
4. Ben Gordon (Charlotte Bobcats)
2012-2013 Salary: $12.4 million
You may remember Ben Gordon as the former spark plug off the Chicago Bulls bench, a guy who would check in during the second quarter and drop 40 points before you knew it with an array of 3s from halfcourt and whirling drives to the basket. You may also know him as the guy who signed an ill-fated free agent deal with the Detroit Pistons in 2009, a guy with a particular set of skills withering away on a bad Pistons team. Now, in his ninth NBA season, Gordon is getting paid over $12 million to lead the Charlotte Bobcats. No disrespect to Gordon, who is a serviceable player, but if the Bobcats, who are supposedly rebuilding, are willing to dole out that much moolah for a career sixth man, something is very wrong. Then you see that the Bobcats are also paying DeSagna Diop $7 million, and it all starts to make sense.
3. Andre Iguodala (Denver Nuggets)
2012-2013 Salary: $14,718,250
Iguodala has been playing under the guise of a superstar for several seasons. His salary and long-time status as the best player on the 76ers have both contributed to his superstar disguise. The reality is, no one ever mentions Iguodala in the same sentence as guys like Kevin Durant, LeBron James and Derrick Rose. That won't stop him from getting paid like them though. A 6'6" guard with ferocious athleticism but a streaky jump shot, Iguodala hasn't been able to lead his team out of the second round of the playoffs in five chances. His scoring average has steadily dropped since it peaked back in the 2007-2008 season at 19.9 points a game; and Iguodala never blossomed into the franchise player that Philadelphia hoped he would become. Now part of a motley crew in Denver, he may thrive playing as someone other than the number one option. But his $14 million salary is number one on the Nuggets, and that's a scary number for a guy whose prime is fading behind him.
2. Rashard Lewis (Miami Heat)
2012-2013 Salary: $15,052,181
The saga of Rashard Lewis's awful contract, a consequence of the six-year, $118 million deal he signed with the Orlando Magic in 2007, will finally end after this season. New Orleans bought out Lewis this summer for $13.7 million (he was set to make $23.7 million this season. $23.7 MILLION!!!), allowing him to sign with the Miami Heat for just $1,352,181, bringing his grand total for the 2012-2013 season to $15,052.181. Lewis hasn't been an impact player since the 2008-2009 season, when he was a member of the Orlando Magic. The guy who once dropped 22.4 points per game for Seattle averaged just 7.8 ppg last season, shooting a dismal 38 percent from the field. It's about time that obscene contract dried up.
1. Gilbert Arenas (Formerly of the Wizards/Magic/Grizzlies)
2011-2012 Salary: $20,807,922
Fine, Arenas has yet to sign with an NBA team this season, and there are rumors that he's bound for China. But it cannot be ignored that last season, as a bench player for the Memphis Grizzlies who averaged just 12 minutes and four points per game, Arenas was making more than $20 million! Just think about it. You could sit in a comfy chair for over half a basketball game, scope out pretty women in the crowd, jack up a couple of ill-advised 3s when you actually do hit the hardwood, and collect $20 mil. Arenas's bloated salary is a product of the $111 million, six-year deal that Washington gave him back in 2008, before he developed knee problems, brought guns into the locker room and got shipped off to the Orlando Magic in 2010. Not like Arenas cared. He was too busy installing a shark tank in his house.
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