This is part two of a list of the worst NBA contracts in the Eastern Conference. To see the full list, check out part one.
Every Eastern Conference Team’s Worst Value Contract
Indiana Pacers: Bruce Brown (Two years, $45 million)
Bruce Brown was a solid pickup for the Pacers this off-season and could help them win now. With the Nuggets, Brown was a versatile defender with solid playmaking and shot-creation abilities. With a larger role on the Pacers, Brown could thrive. However, for the player, we know Brown to be now, this is an overpay. 22 million annually is a lot for someone who’s only proven to be a really good role player and may have benefited from playing next to Nikola Jokic. This deal is saved by Brown’s potential improvement and the team option after one year.
Miami Heat: Tyler Herro (Four years, $120 million)
Tyler Herro was signed to this hefty extension last off-season. Herro certainly provides the Heat with value as a 3-point shooter and microwave scorer. But Herro is also inconsistent and is a clear negative on defense. Ultimately paying 30 million annually to a non-star player with clear deficiencies is an overpay.
Milwaukee Bucks: Khris Middleton (Three years, $93 million)
Khris Middleton has been an important part of Milwakuee’s success for years, and it felt like they had to re-sign him this offseason. But at 31 years old, this is a risky contract. Middleton has struggled with injuries and showed signs of declining play this past year. In the final of his contract, Middleton will be 34 making 33 million. It’s hard to imagine Middleton will still be producing at a 33 million-dollar level in the final year of his deal.
New York Knicks: Evan Fournier (Two years, $37 million)
Over the past few years, Evan Fournier’s play was slightly declining, and last year it plummeted. Fournier struggled shooting and fell out of the Knicks rotation as a result last season. Fournier has openly criticized head coach Tom Thibodeau for this move and is clearly unhappy in New York. However, the Knicks will have trouble moving him due to his contract. 18 million annually for a player who struggled to be a part of a rotation last season isn’t attractive to any team. Fournier’s on-court value heavily hinges on his shooting ability, and when that goes away, he doesn’t have much value.
The Worst Contracts in the Eastern Conference
Orlando Magic: Jonathan Isaac (Two years, $34 million)
Jonathan Isaac was a once-promising versatile defender whose career has been riddled with injuries. Most notably, an ACL tear in 2020 that kept him sidelined for two years. In six seasons, Isaac has appeared in just 147 games. He returned from the ACL tear this year, playing in just 11 games. Although it’s a small sample size and recovering from injuries is incredibly challenging, Isaac didn’t look like himself. If Isaac can return in 19-20 form, this contract won’t be so bad. But that feels like an unlikely scenario at this point. Ultimately it’s hard to trust a player so injury prone.
Philadelphia 76ers: Tobias Harris (One year, $39 million)
Tobias Harris enters the last year of his massive 5 year contract. A contract that has long been mocked by the media and fans alike. Harris is still a solid player and three-level scorer. But a max contract like this should be reserved for stars which Harris is not. In his time with the 76ers, Harris has been inconsistent and struggled to find a clear role. Somewhere Jimmy Butler is still screaming, “Tobias Harris over me?”
Toronto Raptors: Jakob Poeltl (Four years, $78 million)
Jakob Poeltl is a solid role player and big man. But this contract was sneakily one of the worst of the off-season. Poeltl is being paid like a top-ten center when his value is closer to the 20 range. The center position is filled with quality and cheap role players. At the end of the day, committing long-term money to an average center isn’t the smartest move.
Washington Wizards: Jordan Poole (4 years, 128 million)
The Warriors signed Jordan Poole to this massive extension before the start of last season. Poole’s value went down during the season, especially during the playoffs, where his weaknesses were on full display. Questionable shot selection, poor defense, and risky passes are clear weaknesses. With the Wizards, Poole will have more opportunities and has the talent to average a lot of points. A big scoring year and improving on his drawbacks could make this contract look better. But as things stand, this is a bad deal.