Marcin Gortat(pictured in white uniform) and his $34 million contract should have Dalibor Bagaric thinking about coming out of retirement.Every summer in the NBA, we see laughable contracts handed out to free-agents where even the most clueless of fans realize, "That's a God awful deal." I particularly enjoyed the DeSagana Diop 6-year, $32 million contract with the Dallas Mavericks last July. Nobody could see that that ending any way but terribly. Diop lasted half a season there, before the Mavericks dealt him and his 1.6 points per game to the Charlotte Bobcats.
We've already seen a few real head-scratchers this time around, for me anyway. Let's take a look at my three "Um, seriously?" contracts that have been signed, or contracts that are at least rumored to be signed according to many sources....
Denver Nuggets re-sign F Chris Andersen to 5-year deal that could reach $26 Million
The 6'10" Chris Andersen is a high energy guy and fan favorite. He averaged 6 points, 6 rebounds, and 2.5 blocks per game in just over 20 minutes per game in 2008-09 for the Nuggets. He gets the fans into the game with his crazy dunks, blocks, hustle plays, and just his look out there as he's loaded with tattoos and a rock star hairdo. It's made "The Birdman" probably the most popular player on the team outside of stars Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups. Living in Denver, I'm well aware of all of this. Hell, he was on the cover of The Denver Post in the last couple of months.
However, a 5-year deal worth up to $26 million? The Birdman's 31, will he still be able to fly high into his mid 30s? He's likely to at least lose some of that athleticism that pretty much makes his game what it is now. He doesn't have the strength or offensive game to play any other way in the NBA.
And to make matters worse, his contract is backloaded. He's making just $3.7 in 2009-10, to help the Nuggets deal with the luxury tax which they entered this week over. It's good for them right now, but that means he could be making $22 million+ over the remaining 4 years, when his game will likely be declining. I know there's some incentives that he'd need to reach to get all of that money, but basically anything over $4 million per is overpaying for him in my opinion, especially with his game likely on the decline in the next couple of years.
I like Chris Andersen, the fans love him, and he'll help the Nuggets now for sure. But down the road, the Nuggets will almost surely be regretting this deal. That is unless he can play a key part in helping them win a title in the next year or two of course.
Dallas Mavericks sign C Marcin Gortat to a 5-Year, $34 Million offer sheet
Okay, seriously? Marcin Gortat and 34 million dollars in the same sentence? There is little to no doubt in my mind that this will be a horrible deal for Dallas, just like the aforementioned DeSagana Diop one was. And it's a done deal, no doubt about it. The Orlando Magic are not going to match that offer when they have a guy named Dwight Howard at center.
The "Polish Hammer" is a backup center. The 25-year-old is in the league simply due to his 6'11", 240 frame. He has a poor offensive game around the basket, most of his points are going to come on offensive rebounds and dunks. He's under a career 60% free throw shooter as well.
Mark Cuban continues to try and find a center, and overpays in free-agency for big bodies, rather than pulling the trigger on deals for actually good big men such as Pau Gasol and Shaquille O'Neal over the last few years.
Can Marcin Gortat be a useful player and reel in some double-doubles? Sure, but he shouldn't be getting anywhere close to this contract. And do you really want this dude starting in playoff games at center?
Cleveland Cavaliers sign F/C Anderson Varejao to a 6-year, $42.5 Million deal that could reach up to $50 Million
I'm a big fan of what Varejao brings to the table. I talked about The Birdman being a hustle and energy guy, but Varejao really takes that to another level, and with a bigger body at 6'11", 260 pounds. He does all the little things and drives the opposition crazy sometimes. He takes the charges, dives out of bounds for loose balls. He's an important player for this team and will be able to focus on just doing what he does best with the Cavaliers getting a true center in Shaquille O'Neal. He'll do his thing while LeBron, Mo Williams, Shaq, and company put the ball in the basket. I get all that, trust me.
But $50 million(potentially) for Anderson freaking Varejao? Really? And I'm not even really knocking him or the team as much as the league and sports world in general. I understand the Cavaliers had to do everything possible to retain a 26-year-old big man that fits in perfectly on this team, and when these other bigs like Marcin Gortat are getting so much money, you're pretty much forced to pony up. However, a guy averaging 6.6 points and 6.5 rebounds per game over his career should not be getting anywhere close to $50 million over 6 years. Additionally, I will say that a 6-year deal is probably a bit too long for Varejao at that price.
As you've surely noticed, all three of those players are big men, and those are quite difficult to find. It's supply and demand, no doubt about it. However, that's also causing some of these general managers to absolutely panic and overpay. It's then a domino effect and it's not stopping anytime soon.
It's just ridiculous that these untalented, clumsy, doofuses are getting 5+ million bucks for 5+ seasons, and a ton of extremely talented guards and small forwards can't find a roster spot in the NBA.
UPDATE(7/13/09): "And it's a done deal, no doubt about it. The Orlando Magic are not going to match that offer when they have a guy named Dwight Howard at center." Epic FAIL on my part.
Then again, did anybody else see the Magic doing what they did today, matching the offer sheet Marcin Gortat signed with the Dallas Mavericks? I understand having a couple quality 7-footers is something every team in the league would like, but at that price? Gortat's a backup center that shouldn't be playing more than a dozen minutes per game behind the superstar 23-year-old big man, Dwight Howard.
Maybe they'll play the big men together more, and if so it makes a bit more sense to me, but I'm quite shocked at the moment at least.
UPDATE(7/13, 5:00 PM ET): ESPN"s basketball guru John Hollinger just added this on Twitter about the trade:
@johnhollinger: By matching the offer, Magic also can't trade Gortat for the next year without his approval, and can't trade him to Dallas at all.Link(John Hollinger's Twitter)
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