It’s not a coincidence to see some teams that struggled to compete last year having several guys on the worst NBA contracts 2023-24 list. Teams that don’t spend smartly rarely fare well, and sometimes, they even need to get rid of valuable draft assets just to get those salaries off their books.
Worst NBA contracts in 2023-24 ranked
The new CBA pretty much punishes teams trying to stack several superstars, so teams will now think twice or thrice before spending big bucks on players who may not be worthy of those contracts.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at those players who have already managed to convince their respective teams to give them way more money than they should’ve gotten.
10. Deandre Ayton – $30.2 million
There’s a big chance that Deandre Ayton lives up to that contract, which is why he’s number 10 on this list. Simply put, it’s up to him to be the Phoenix Suns’ x-factor, embrace his role as a potential defensive anchor, and put in some effort on both ends of the glass.
Ayton has the potential to be a legit two-way star, and Frank Vogel has often brought the best out of his big men. The big question is whether he’ll be motivated enough after it was more than evident that he didn’t want to play there, at least not for coach Monty Williams.
9. Evan Fournier – $18.7 million
It’s crazy to think that a player who should be making the veteran minimum is actually making $18.7 million to sit at the end of the bench, but that’s the case with Evan Fournier. Truth be told, it was hard to blame Tom Thibodeau for getting him out of the rotation.
Fournier makes a lot of money, yet he doesn’t play defense, create for others, or and is not an efficient scorer. His contract has been a liability for the New York Knicks for so long now, and they may need to attach a valuable draft pick to move him at this point.
8. Mike Conley – $24.3 million
Mike Conley has been a borderline all-star for the better part of his career, a respected veteran who has made his teammates better every time he’s been on the floor. But that doesn’t mean he should be making $24.3 million at this point in his career.
The Minnesota Timberwolves will need to make some tough decisions if they reach the midpoint in the season and they’re underperforming again. That could lead to a trade or a buyout, as other teams could be interested in him at the right price.
7. Jerami Grant – $27.5 million
Jerami Grant just signed one of the most baffling and mind-boggling contracts in recent NBA history. The Portland Trail Blazers signed him to a five-year extension worth $160 million, and that’s after he had already turned down a four-year, $112 million contract.
There’s simply no way that Grant will be able to live up to that contract, and no one will absorb that deal if the Blazers want to trade him somewhere down the line. It’s not that he’s a bad player, but that’s a superstar money.
6. Kyle Lowry – $29.6 million
Kyle Lowry and the Miami Heat were a great fit on paper, but he’s mostly struggled since arriving in South Beach. Father Time may have caught up to him already, as he’s dealt with multiple injuries, and he’s not a prolific scorer anymore, either.
Lowry is a veteran, and he could and should still have a place and a role in this league. But that huge contract has been more of a liability than an actual asset for Pat Riley and the Heat since he arrived, and they’ve tried to move him multiple times already.
5. Tobias Harris – $39.2 million
There’s a big chance that Tobias Harris‘ deal will go down as one of the ultimate worst contracts of all-time. Philadelphia 76ers fans have urged the team to try and move on from him way too many times already, but it’s been impossible.
Harris is by no means a scrub or a bad player. He’s durable and has had some big games, and he can contribute as a rebounder as well. But a guy making this kind of money should be a perennial All-Star and All-NBA player, and he’s never been either.
4. Gordon Hayward – $31.5 million
It’s getting usual to see Gordon Hayward‘s name when we discuss bad contracts. Once again, he’s got one of the worst NBA contracts in 2023-24, being signed for a whopping $31.5 million next season despite constantly missing time with a never-ending string of injuries.
Hayward was one of the league’s rising stars before all the injuries got to him. It’s a shame that his promising career got derailed by things he simply cannot control. Then again, he’s made more than a fair amount of cash over the years, so he may have no complaints.
3. Ben Simmons – $37.8 million
There’s absolutely no doubt that Ben Simmons could be worth almost $38 million and even more. He’s got the potential to be a two-way superstar, one of the best defenders and playmakers in the game, and he’s still young and could have a long and successful career.
However, we’re talking about a guy who’s love for the game has been questioned multiple times. He can’t seem to stay healthy, and he’s still under contract for years, so his deal might turn out to be a major liability instead of an asset if he doesn’t get back to the floor soon.
2. Fred VanVleet – $40.8 million
If we talk about overpaid NBA players in 2024, then we have to talk about Fred VanVleet. Yes, he’s posted solid numbers over the past couple of years, but he’s done that while also taking a lot of shots on a losing team. He plays defense, but is he worth almost $41 million a year?
The Houston Rockets know he might not be good for long, so they included a way to get rid of him soon if things don’t work out in his first season. That alone speaks volumes of how potentially bad his contract could be. No hate to VanVleet, who’s a good player, but $41 million should get you more than ‘good.’
1. Rudy Gobert – $41 million
The Minnesota Timberwolves will spend a lot of luxury tax money, and they may not even make the playoffs next season. Pairing Rudy Gobert with Karl-Anthony Towns was a questionable gamble, and it didn’t exactly pay off in their first season together.
Gobert is the 13th-highest-paid player in the league, yet he cannot defend on the perimeter or score from beyond five feet. He’s an elite rim protector and rebounder, but the league is perimeter oriented and he’s gotten exposed in the playoffs every single year he’s been in the league.