Mo’ Money, Mo’ Money, Mo’ Money
Sometimes in sport as in with life, the ends hardly justify the means, and by ends I am referring to the almighty dollar.
While many fault the players for the contracts they receive, one must take into account the overzealous owners and GM’s who are willing to part with the Benjamins or the Bordens (depending on which side of the border you are on).
Over the years, teams in the Northwest corner, on either side of the line have dished out their share of overpaid contracts for the efforts they have received in return.
1. Bryant “Big Country” Reeves (Grizzlies)
What does six years and $65 million by you when you are a upstart team in the NBA?
Well in 1998, it bought the Vancouver Grizzlies the services of Bryant Reeves as one of their cornerstones of the future. The problem is that Bryant Reeves and future became an oxymoron for the Grizzlies as Reeves became the poster boy for why the Grizzlies failed to stay in Vancouver.
After a decent rookie season for the expansion Grizz, Reeves, a plodding big man with little athleticism still managed to be a productive piece for the woeful franchise over the next two years with 16 points and 8 rebounds on a nightly basis. However the one constant that Reeves would become known for, coming into camp pathetically out of shape.
While it may have been slightly excusable during his first couple of seasons as a pro, when the team offered him $10 million plus per season when his rookie contract expired, you would think that he would have done his damndest not to show up forty pounds over weight! In his final three seasons with the Grizz, Reeves saw his production drop from 16 points and 8 boards to a pathetic 8 points and 6 rebounds.
Retiring following the teams relocation to Memphis, the Grizz may well be missed in Vancouver, but Reeves certainly will not.
2. Jim McIlvaine (Sonics)
Had the Sonics not offered Jim McIlvanine a seven year $33.6 million contract in the summer of 1997, they may have had a down payment for a new arena and the Thunder would have remained in Seattle.
While one cannot hate on big Jim, it was that contract which led to the downward spiral of the team. For unknown reasons the club refused to pay market value for Shawn Kemp following his all-world performance in the 96 finals and one year later, the Reign Man would be shipped out to Cleveland for another stinker of a contract in Vin Baker.
In two years with Seattle, McIlvaine averaged 3.5 points and 3.5 rebounds, while all Kemp did was tally 18 points and 9.5 boards.
3. Mark Messier (Canucks)
Signing the Moose may be the all time worst move in Canucks history, and there have been some stinkers; Cam Neely, anyone?
Inking Messier to a three year $18 million deal in 1997 led the team to the exact opposite of what they expected from the supposed best leader in hockey history.
Not only did the Canucks and Messier remove the C off of Trevor Linden, he played only one full season (59 and 66 games in the other two), tallied 60 points as a three season high and failed to take the Nucks to the playoffs during his tenure.
4. Carlos Silva (Mariners)
In 2008, the M’s, who have been absent from the post season for years, inked Silva to a four year $48 million contract. Now it’s not completely Silva’s fault that this was the worst season in over twenty years, but with his $12 million as part of the $100 million payroll, he certainly played (or didn’t play) his part.
At 29 years old and his best days behind him, Silva finished his first of two years in Seattle with a 4-15 record and an ERA of 6.46.
Luckily for the M’s and their fans, they managed to move Silva, along with an extra $9 million for their troubles for outfielder Milton Bradley.
That move was basically trading chicken poop for chicken poop as Bradley brought his bag of issues with him from Chicago, but the hope that a healthy Bradley would be able to help the team was worth a lot more than what Silva would have provided.
5. Theo Ratliff (Trailblazers)
After a decent run during his time with the 76er’s and Hawks in which he roughly posted 9.5 points and 7.5 rebounds, the Trailblazers dug into their wallets and presented a contract sheet to Ratliff for $35 million over a three year period. That would be a staggering $11.6 million per year for a back up big man.
While he may have been six years younger, Joel Przybilla was filling the stat sheet with similar stats that Ratliff was giving the team, for approximately $10 million less. Owner Paul Allen may be among the richest men in the world, but when handing out a contract like he did to Ratliff, even he could feel the pinch in his wallet.
Shaun Alexander (Seahawks)
After grabbing the NFL’s MVP award in 2005, the Seahawks rightfully rewarded Alexander with a new contract, one fitting of a most valuable player. Unfortunately, Alexander turned the eight year $62 million deal into a regrettable one for the ‘Hawks.
Whereas one year earlier, Alexander had set numerous club and league records, it was the Madden Curse that may have led to his slide in 2006. For two years after his MVP season, injuries and a depleted offensive line hampered Alexander’s production.
While there were hints of greatness, many felt that the Seahawks got the short end of the stick.