The NBA is about one-third of the way through the 2019-20 season. A whole lot has already happened with previous title contenders falling on hard times and star players failing to live up to their contracts.
That’s no more prevalent than in San Francisco and Houston, where two stars have not performed up to the level that most had expected.
It’s in this that we look at the five-most overpaid players in the NBA thus far this season.
Russell Westbrook, Houston Rockets
Houston had to know it was buying into a bad contract when the team traded for Westbrook this past summer. The highest-paid player in the NBA, the 31-year-old Westbrook signed his five-year, $206.8 million extension with Oklahoma City back in September of 2017. He’s signed through the 2022-23 campaign with an average base salary of north of $40 million per season.
It has not gone too swimmingly for Russ in his first season with the Rockets. The former NBA MVP is shooting just 43% from the field, including a disastrous 23% mark from distance. He’s also averaging a six-year low 7.2 assists to go with an absurd 4.4 turnovers per game. One now has to wonder if Houston has buyer’s remorse here.
Kyrie Irving, Brooklyn Nets
It’s not like the Nets’ decision to sign Irving this past summer did not come without risk. The NBA champ was coming off a drama-filled campaign with the Boston Celtics. Rumors about his personality hit a fever pitch during the latter part of the 2018-19 campaign.
Even then, it’s stunning to see how bad the four-year, $142 million deal Irving signed looks for his new Nets team. The guard has missed each of the past 15 games with a shoulder injury. Reports of drama behind the scenes continue to heat up. Meanwhile, Brooklyn is 10-5 in Irving’s absence after starting the season 4-7 with him on the court. Ouch!
Marc Gasol, Toronto Raptors
The good news here for Toronto is that Gasol is in the final season of the five-year, $113.2 million deal he signed with the Memphis Grizzlies back in 2015. There’s a chance the team could move his expiring contract for another bad contract ahead of February’s trade deadline.
The bad news? Gasol has been downright brutal thus far this season. The 34-year-old big man is averaging just 6.8 points on 37% shooting from the field. His defense has taken a hit, too. It’s led to the Raptors at least considering bringing on another player with a bad contract to help up front.
Mike Conley, Utah Jazz
Regardless of what Utah gave up to acquire Conley from Memphis this past summer, it has not panned out for the team. Conley has long been considered one of the most-overpaid players in the Association after signing a then-record five-year, $152.6 million contract with the Grizzlies back in 2016.
This was when he was playing good ball. Thus far in Conley’s first season in Salt Lake, that has not been the case. The veteran is averaging just 13.9 points, 3.5 rebounds and 4.6 assists while shooting a remarkably low 37% from the field. He has not even been an upgrade from Ricky Rubio. That’s just sad stuff right there.
Draymond Green, Golden State Warriors
It sure the heck helps when you have three or four other All-Stars on the court with you. Green has not benefited from Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry (both injured) or Kevin Durant (signed with the Nets) this season. It’s led to a disastrous start to the campaign mere months after inking what seemed to be a team-friendly five-year, $82 million extension.
Green is averaging just 9.0 points, 5.9 rebounds and 5.8 assists while shooting 41% from the field. He has not had anywhere near the same impact on defense for a Warriors squad that’s currently yielding nearly 114 points per game and boasts the worst record in the NBA. Yikes!