As the free-agent signing period got under way Wednesday, so did a handful of teams quick to spend serious money to improve their teams. Naturally, the salaries creep up a bit from previous years, but there are always some really questionable deals made that just have people scratching their heads as to what kind of dope the GM was taking at the time. Thus far in 2008, I find virtually every signing absolutely ridiculous sans Gilbert Arenas, Antawn Jamison and Chris Paul. The following is a list of the 5 worst deals in the first two days.
5) Roger Mason, PG: 2-year, $8 million deal with San Antonio
Last year’s stats: 21.3 min, 9.1 pts, 1.7 ast
Analysis: The Spurs have a number of aging free agents this season but didn’t bode well with Mason, who at best would be Manu Ginobili‘s backup at the 2-guard. Yet, the Spurs will make Mason the fifth-highest paid player on the team behind their trio and Bruce Bowen. Not what you want to pay for a guy whose career averages are 5.5 points and 1.1 assists.
4) Elton Brand, PF: 5-year, $80 million deal with Philadelphia
Last year’s stats: 8 G, 17.6 pts, 8.0 reb, 1.9 blk
Analysis: “Elton Brand didn’t leave for the money.” Partly true. Brand was hurt that the Clippers took him for granted and offered $20 million less than the 76ers, but in the end, the Clippers’ face for the past seven years just saw a better chance of winning in the easier Eastern Conference – the reason why he turned down $10 million more to be at Golden State, which would have been a really ridiculous deal.
3) Corey Maggette, SF: 5-year, $50 million deal with Golden State
Last year’s stats: 22.1 pts, 5.6 reb, 2.7 ast
Analysis: The Clippers created $130 million of space for the next five years with the departure of Brand and Maggette. It’s reported that their sights are currently on Hawks forward Josh Smith to fill Brand’s void, but an inactive offseason is just prep time for the incredible summers of ’09 and ’10, the latter appropriately named the summer of LeBron.
2) Andrew Bogut, C: 5-year, $60 million extension with Milwaukee
Last year’s stats: 14.3 pts, 9.8 reb, 1.7 blk
Analysis: The Bucks just acted like they were a fantasy team that overpaid for a center. The number one overall draft pick in 2005 has improved every year in his short 3-year career but is almost making as much money as Yao Ming, who last year made $13.8 million and averaged 22 and 11.
1) DeSagana Diop, C: 5-year, $31 million deal with Dallas
Last year’s stats: 16.5 min, 2.9 pts, 5.0 reb
Analysis: Speaking of overpaid centers, can someone please explain to me what the Mavericks are attempting to do at the center position? This deal is reminiscent of Nene‘s atrocious 6-year, $60 million contract with Denver two years ago. With Erick Dampier‘s 7-year, $73 million contract, the two will combine for $17 million a year and 9.0 points and 12.5 rebounds per game for one position.
A look ahead: The Los Angeles Lakers are looking to make their All-Star squad that much better with rumors of interest in Ron Artest. Artest, who recently exercised his option to stay in Sacramento, would likely be dealt in addition to someone for Lamar Odom, to match Odom’s salary. Stay tuned for the latest in the signing period.