1. The case of Bismack Biyombo
4 year / $72,000,000 contract with the Orlando Magic
Last season the Toronto Raptors big Bismack Biyombo due to his terrific performance in playoff games got an opportunity of his lifetime – he signed a multi-million contract with the Orlando Magic. Before that he was never a full-fledged player and some critics started to label him a bust.
Despite being drafted No. 7 overall in the 2011, his first four seasons with the Charlotte Hornets were quite humble. Here he was an Al Jefferson‘s backup with 4.4 points 6 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game. He had not made any tangible improvements offensively over his career in Charlotte so the Hornets decided not to tender a qualifying offer and Bismack Biyombo became a free agent.
Then he signed a two-year contract with the Toronto Raptors worth estimated $6 million. The contract contained a player option after the first season. As in Charlotte, here Bismack Biyombo became a backup center with similar stats – 5.5 points, 8 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game.
Everything looked like the old days in the Hornets, but here came play-off. When the leading Raptors big Jonas Valanciunas was injured in game 3 against the Miami Heat in conference semifinals Bismack Biyombo got a chance to show all his possibilities. His 17 points and 16 rebounds helped the Raptors beat Miami in game 7.
Another tremendous performance was in game 3 against the Cleveland Cavaliers. That night he finished with 26 rebounds and 4 blocked shots and was the key player to Toronto win. His 26 rebounds was a new Raptors’ record in playoffs history and this result let him stand alongside with the achievements of Hakeem Olajuwon and Dwight Howard.
That was enough that he seduced the Orlando Magic managers to offer him a $72 million four-year contract. This decision looked quite strange because the Magic already had a solid big Nicola Vucevic, a young and promising forward Aaron Gordon and the new summer season addition Serge Ibaka from the Oklahoma Thunder.
On the other hand, it looked that now Orlando could form a mobile tall players rotation which would help to reach playoffs. However, the first half of the season for the Magic is not so promising – 12th place in the East Conference and no guarantees for playoffs so far. Bismack Biyombo with his ordinary NBA stats – 6 points, 8 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game, does not remotely look like that one who could change the situation. Maybe things for him and his team will be better in the second half of the season.
2. The case of Chandler Parsons
4 year / $94,438,523 contract with the Memphis Grizzlies
Former Houston Rockets and Dallas Mavericks forward Chandler Parsons is one of the most overrated players of the 2016-2017 season. During two years in Dallas his stats were fairly solid – 15 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists per game.
It is worth mentioning separately his last two months in regular season with Dallas, because without any doubts it was the best statistical series of his NBA career: 19 points, 6 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game while shooting 52 percent from the floor and 48 percent from the 3-point range showed his potentials and high expectations in upcoming playoffs.
And suddenly everything overturned 100 percent – due to his right knee injuries he was only able to play in one playoff game and like in 2015 spring he prematurely ended his season. But this failure did not prevent Chandler Parsons to ask the Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban for maximum contract.
At that moment Parsons had already earned 30 million dollars for the last two seasons with the Mavericks. As we could expect, Cuban refused to make a new deal with Chandler Parsons and the player became a free agent.
Then came the Memphis Grizzlies turn – team General Manager Chriss Wallace offered a four-year maximum worth an estimated 95 million dollars contract to the player. Over his first season as the Memphis Grizzlies member Chandler Parsons is earning 22 million dollars and that is the 11th highest NBA salary in the 2016-2017 season.
As we can easily spot the first part of the season for Chandler Parsons is not going so smooth as the Memphis Grizzlies organization could have expected. With 6 points, 2 rebounds and 1 assist per game Parsons’ performance on the floor reminds of a nightmare or at least of a bad dream.
Even currently the oldest NBA player and Parsons’ teammate Vince Carter spends more minutes on the court and shows much more confidence. To sum up, we just can hope that things for Chandler Parsons will change in the second part of the regular season and the player would manage his way back from chronic knee issues.
3. The case of Timofey Mozgov
4 year / $64,000,000 contract with the Los Angeles Lakers
Last summer for the Los Angeles Lakers was disappointing – Kevin Durant and every other top free agent was not tempted by the Lakers’ money so the team quickly switched attention to more average players such as Timofey Mozgov or Luol Deng.
In the past season the main Lakers center Roy Hibbert’s situation at the club was questionable so the Lakers decided to offer a four-year 64 million dollar contract to Timofey Mozgov. And that creates a little bit strange prospect – Mozgov over this season is going to make more money than the two-time MVP and the league champion Stephen Curry.
Of course we can appeal to the new NBA salary cap but everything is still quite puzzling. And especially it is strange if we remember the last season playoffs where Timofey Mozgov did not start a game in all matches and played just 25 minutes at all in the NBA finals series against the Golden State Warriors and during that time he scored 7 points with 8 rebounds.
Even when he was spending more minutes on the floor with the Cleveland Cavaliers Mozgov did not show solid stats. He averaged 8 points and 7 rebounds for Cleveland in the 2014-2015 season and just 6 points and 4 rebounds per game the last year in 18 minutes per game.
We can guess that the Los Angeles Lakers was ready to pay high salary mostly for Mozgov defense and rim protection abilities. Also we could not forget that the Lakers has high hopes that at least Mozgov will recover to his previous form and he could play like a couple years before.
But the first part of the regular season for Timofey Mozgov and the Lakers is not very promising – just 13th place in the Western Conference and obscure perspectives to reach the playoffs barrier. With his modest stats – 8 rebounds and 5 rebounds per game Timofey Mozgov is not that kind of a player who could handle this critical the Los Angeles Lakers situation.
4. The case of Harrison Barnes
4 year / $94,438,525 contract with the Dallas Mavericks
The main purpose of the Dallas Mavericks past summer was to get Kevin Durant. But Durant decided to become a part of the Golden State Warriors organization so the Mavericks pointed its attention to restricted free agent Harrison Barnes from the Golden State Warriors instead.
Dallas had intended to match any offer to Barnes from other teams and immediately offered a four-year and 94 million dollars on the first day they were able. The Warriors had three days to match this offer, but getting Kevin Durant was a definite sign that Barnes would have a new team.
Already for several years the Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is trying to retrieve team’s previous glory by adding free agents. Despite all Cuban’s endeavours this mission looks impossible because top free agents like Dwight Howard, LaMarcus Aldridge or Marc Gasol ignored Dallas offers and have chosen other teams.
Seeing this situation Cuban had no choice but to tender contracts to the second range players like Harrison Barnes or Deron Williams. Under this circumstances Harrison Barnes signed a four-year maximum contract worth an estimated 94 million dollars with Dallas Mavericks.
His stats in the first four years as the Golden State Warriors member were very steady – 10 points, 5 rebounds and 1.5 assists. With the Dallas contract Barnes could join such players like “Jason Caffey, Andrew Bynum, and Mario Chalmers as a role player on a championship team who happens to sign a mega-deal to serve as savior to a desperate franchise”- says Kofi Bofah.
In the first part of the season Barnes individual stats looks quite sufficient to label him a team leader – 20.5 points, 5 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game, but the Dallas Mavericks’ position in standings speaks for itself with 13 victories per 43 matches looks like nightmare and remember those days then Dirk Nowitzki played in Germany and Dallas was the annual league outsider.