It happens every year. Some NBA general manager invariably sees something in a free agent, places an unjustified amount of faith in him, and winds up wasting a ton of his team's salary cap on a contract the the somewhat-talented play doesn't ultimately deserve.
Like the time when Bryant "Big Country" Reeves got $65 million over six years from the Grizzlies. Or when when Erick Dampier got $73 million for seven years from Dallas. Or when a brittle Penny Hardaway got $87.7 million over seven years from the Suns. Or even the $92.5 million over seven years Kenyon Martin got from the Nuggets.
Some of the crown jewels and blood diamonds among the worst contacts in NBA history were signed by the New York Knicks, a franchise that inked Eddie Curry to a six-year, $60 million deal; Allan Houston to a six-year, $100 million contract; and Jerome James to a five-year, $30 million pact. This is the time of the year when some GMs lose their minds (and jobs).
This year brings another crop of fraudulently enticing free agents who should come with a "buyer beware" sticker. Because while some of these guys may look good on paper, the games are played on the court, and looking back at some of the worst FA signings, some of those guys hardly ever stepped foot on it after getting big money.
Here are six guys to pursue with extreme caution.
Rajon Rondo, 29, PG
First, the Celtics dumped him. Then, after arriving to much fanfare in Dallas, the team never found their rhythm, Rondo and coach Rick Carlisle clashed publicly, and the point guard was eventually voted out of his playoff share by his fellow teammates. He's a talented, cerebral player, but he's also an oft-injured head case who is a late-game liability due to poor free-throw shooting and is getting up there in age.
Likely Landing Spot: Sacramento Kings
Lamarcus Aldridge, 29, PF
Aldridge is entering his tenth season and has starred on some solid Western Conference contenders, so he'll get a lot of offers as one of the elite big men on the market. But he was only able to carry the Blazers past the first round once in his time there and seems to be leaving on bad terms. He's would be a great second or third fiddle in Houston or San Antonio, but he doesn't deserve the profile or the max money of a team's top player.
Likely Landing Spot: Houston Rockets
Kevin Love, 26, PF
Despite never making the playoffs before joining up with LeBron in Clevelend, Love was considered a steal last season after putting up huge numbers on mediocre Timberwolves teams. Now he's another year older, and didn't seem to mesh well with the LeBron or the Cavs, who arguably played better in the playoffs with a cheaper option in Tristan Thompson. Add to that the fact he's coming off a major shoulder injury and ask yourself: Would you pay him $100 million?
Likely Landing Spot: Cleveland Cavaliers
Jeremy Lin, 26, PG
This guy went from being a potential savior for the Carmelo Knicks a few years ago to a guy who is basically one of the best backup options out there this summer. Lin has turned from Superman into an ordinary player, and was tossed around as an add-on in a few different trades. The Knicks are rumored to be interested in bringing him back. They've made worse decisions. Much worse.
Likely Landing Spot: New York Knicks
JR Smith, 29, SG
Short-sighted GMs will see Smith's exciting ability to get hot and shoot the lights out for short spurts. He was a nice piece for the Cavaliers last season, but beneath all his pyrotechnics on the wing, Smith has proven to be difficult in the locker room, and admitted that defense isn't his "area of expertise." He's had some maturity issues in the past, something to consider before making him a key cog in your championship plans.
Likely Landing Spot: Cleveland Cavaliers
DeAndre Jordan, 26, C
On paper, Jordan looks like a great version of the evolving NBA big man. He's been an important player for an ascending Clippers team, but being a solid wingman for of the best players in the league can lead a concern. How much did Jordan benefit from playing with Chris Paul? Just look at how Amare Stoudemire and Shawn Marion's careers dwindled away from Steve Nash. Matched with a lesser talent (and most point guards are), can Jordan be expected to carry more of the load, especially when he can't shoot?
Likely Landing Spot: Los Angeles Lakers