9. Steve Francis — 6 Years, $84 Million
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Signed in August 2002 and taking effect at the start of the 2003-04 season, Steve Francis’ mega extension went bad almost immediately and clogged the books of four different teams before all was said and done.
In the first year of Francis’ big contract, worth around $84 million with the Houston Rockets, he averaged 16.6 points, 6.2 assists and 5.5 rebounds while hitting only 40.3 percent of his shots from the field and 29.2 percent from long range. Thanks in large part to the presence of teammate Yao Ming, who helped many Rockets earn votes from China over the years, Francis got into the All-Star Game with those shoddy numbers.
After clashing with head coach Jeff Van Gundy, Francis wound up with the Orlando Magic via offseason trade. His numbers picked up there, but weren’t compelling enough to avoid yet another trade, this time in the middle of the 2005-06 season, to the New York Knicks.
Francis was never an All-Star again after leaving Houston, and he broke down physically during his final season with the Knicks in 2006-07, missing 38 games and averaging just 11.3 points.
The Portland Trail Blazers traded for Francis on draft night in 2007, and then bought out the final two years and $34 million let on his contract.
From max-level star to being paid not to play.
Life after basketball has been rough for Francis, which makes his presence on this list somewhat trivial. It also feels like piling on.
Again, though, the poor quality of this contract is on the Rockets. Not him. And even if Francis never lived up to the deal he signed, the Rockets managed to get Tracy McGrady (who also broke down, but that’s another story) for him in that 2004 trade with the Magic.