In the NBA, as well as many other sports, every year the cap rises. In the summer of 2016, there was a massive salary cap increase that still affects the NBA today.
This led to some of the worst contracts in NBA history.
Going into the summer of 2016, Chandler Parsons had proved his worth across his first 5 seasons in the league, with the Houston Rockets and Dallas Mavericks.
After being traded to the Memphis Grizzlies, Parsons signed a 4-year/$94 million dollar extension. This was horrendous for the Grizzlies, as Parsons was never able to stay healthy.
Since the contract signing, Chandler Parsons has played a total of 95 games for Memphis, and 5 games for the Atlanta Hawks. Unfortunately, Parsons was severely injured in a car crash this season and was released shortly after by the Hawks.
Nicolas Batum had been a solid SG/SF for the Portland Trail Blazers early in his career, and the Charlotte Hornets took notice. Charlotte gave Batum a 5-year/$120 million to sign.
For his first 4 seasons in Charlotte, Batum was decent, but certainly not worth the contract he signed.
This year have been an absolute disaster, and he fell off a cliff in terms of his production. Everything except Batum’s free throw percentage has nosedived, and has been out of the rotation for Charlotte.
The worst part for the Hornets was that the contract was dead-weight on a franchise the was never able to sign free agents, and spending $120 million on a player of Batum’s caliber certainly doesn’t attract any free agents. This upcoming year, Nicolas Batum has a player option that he is most likely going to opt into.
A player who averaged 5.1 PPG for his career up to that point should never get the opportunity to sign a 4-year/$64 million deal, but that’s exactly what Ian Mahinmi got from the Washington Wizards.
The Wizards were trying to continue making the playoffs, and signing a traditional center like Mahinmi was to add depth to an otherwise poor frontcourt.
Mahinmi was the first of a bunch of massive contracts, along with the max contract received by Otto Porter Jr. and the super max contract received by John Wall, who now is super injury prone and spent the last two years dealing with season ending injuries.
Now Bradley Beal has signed a big extension, and the Wizards are in one of the worst salary situations in the league. Ian Mahinmi hasn’t been able to stay healthy either, which has made his contract look worse and worse.
To put these contracts into perspective, the amount of money that these players made is comparable to the money that Giannis Antetokounmpo makes. The kind of money that was handed out during the 2016 free agency period was absolutely ludicrous.