The 5 Worst Contracts in the NBA – VICE

John G. Mabanglo/EPA-EFE

The below has been excerpted from this week’s Outlet Pass, to get caught up on everything else you need to know in the NBA this week read the rest of the column here.

Remember the amnesty provision? That hilariously cruel mulligan each NBA franchise was awarded by collective bargaining negotiations just after the turn of the decade? Back then, long before the salary cap spiked, the length of a contract had enough power to prevent an entire fanbase from knowing how “hope” or “joy” truly felt. But now “bad contract” is almost an oxymoron. They still have the power to restrict flexibility but none are definitively untradable. Not every team needs to shed someone from their books, though there are a few deals that already/will inevitably keep general managers up at night. Here are the five worst.

1. Andrew Wiggins – $146.6 million through 2023

Wiggins may still become a quality NBA player, but nobody should argue against him being first on this list. He turns 24 in February, is already in his fifth season, has never come close to making an All-Star team and doesn’t project to ever do so. If someone asked “what’s your favorite Andrew Wiggins moment?” could you even name one? He’s barely making 40 percent of his two-point shots and is ten percent less accurate at the rim than he was a year ago.

There has been no progress as a rebounder, defender, or playmaker, and aside from the uptick in threes and changing hairstyle, he’s the exact same person today that he was when Cleveland drafted him first overall. That player possesses unteachable athletic gifts and is not astonishingly terrible, but how many first-round picks would the Timberwolves need to attach if they wanted to get off it? Two?

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About Last Night: When Harden attacks – NBA.com

Just because you can afford to buy anything you want doesn’t mean you should. 

“OH MY GOD.”

Chuck’s not feeling James Harden’s pregame look 🤣 pic.twitter.com/0hWbiFF0Bl

— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) December 14, 2018

Then again, when you do what James Harden did to the Lakers on Thursday, you can wear pretty much whatever you want. 

Highlighted by a nasty poster slam over JaVale McGee and capped by a monster fourth quarter in which the Lakers were powerless to stop him, Harden carried the Rockets to a 126-111 victory almost by himself with 50 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists. It was the fourth 50-point triple-double of his career, and only the 13th in NBA history.

At one point the Lakers, frustrated by Harden’s parade to the line for 19 free throws, reportedly held their arms behind their backs in protest for several defensive possessions. (News flash: That didn’t work, either.)

Perhaps the most impressive aspect of all was how little time Harden needed to amass those numbers, playing a relatively paltry 35 minutes to tie for the lightest workload among his 11 career 50-point games. 

Even so, Harden was still winded enough that he begged out of the game for a 4-minute, 30-second break midway through the fourth quarter as the outcome hung in the balance. 

He returned with 4:57 remaining, his team leading by five, and promptly proceeded to annihilate the Lakers with 15 of his team’s final 17 points. The Rockets outscored the Lakers by 12 over that span, averting what would have been another demoralizing loss in a season that’s already seen too many. 

“You look at the standings, we’re in the 14th spot and that’s kind of depressing,” Harden said. “We’re just trying to figure it out. I just believe and trust in all my guys, and

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League wants more NBA-ready arenas in Latin America, Adam Silver says – ESPN

12:43 AM ET

Eric GomezMexico writer

MEXICO CITY — NBA commissioner Adam Silver said Thursday he wants more games to be played in Latin America.

Speaking before the Orlando Magic faced the Chicago Bulls at the 22,300-seat Arena Ciudad de Mexico, Silver was complimentary of the building, and said he hoped other, similar venues would pop up in other parts of the Americas.

“As you can see, this is a state-of-the-art arena,” Silver said, adding that games in Mexico City feel like “a regular NBA game” held in the United States or Canada.

The Bulls are one of Mexico’s most popular NBA teams, surpassed only by the Los Angeles Lakers, according to a July 2018 study commissioned by the league. During pregame introductions Thursday, the crowd responded with a loud ovation when guard Justin Holiday took the microphone to thank spectators for attending.

The arena, which opened in 2013, was a big factor in the NBA returning to play regular-season games in Mexico for the first time since 1997.

“These will be our 27th and 28th games in Mexico,” Silver said.

Outside of Mexico, the NBA has never held a regular-season game in Latin America. Silver said venues similar to Arena Ciudad de Mexico would have to be completed elsewhere in order to provide fans with an experience consistent with the league’s ideals.

Despite an earlier announcement Thursday regarding a new TV contract with Televisa, no mention was made about holding games in Mexico City beyond this season. However, Silver was optimistic about the possibility.

“We’re committed to come back to Mexico for many years to come,” he said, noting talks between league and the city’s government have been “very positive.”

Silver touted the league’s growth in popularity in Mexico, saying basketball was “No. 2 after

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The Outspoken N.B.A. – New York Times

“In the past few years, the N.B.A. has found itself in the spotlight for the way its players and teams have spoken out on social and political issues both locally and nationally,” writes The Times. “Instead of asking players to fit a certain mold — to act a certain way, talk a certain way, wear their hair a certain way — the league has embraced players and their outspokenness, especially on local levels.”

What do you think of this? Should all sports leagues treat political speech as a right for their players? Why do you think the N.F.L. and the N.B.A. differ so much on this question?

Tell us in the comments, then read a related article to learn more.

Find many more ways to use our Picture Prompt feature in this lesson plan.

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Nowitzki makes history in 21st season debut – NBA.com

PHOENIX (AP) — Dirk Nowitzki at last began his record-breaking 21st season with the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday night, coming off the bench in the first quarter of a 99-89 loss to the Phoenix Suns.

No other NBA player has played that many seasons with the same team.

“It is good to be back,” he said after the game. “Obviously I got a lot of work to do timing-wise, conditioning-wise. I have been running on a treadmill, which is not the same as playing NBA speed against a bunch of 20-year-old athletes.”

The 40-year-old had been tied at 20 seasons with Kobe Bryant, who retired from the Los Angeles Lakers after the 2015-16 season.

Nowitzki had surgery to remove bone spurs from his left ankle last April, and the timing was to make sure he would be ready at the start of this season. But the 7-foot German had a setback before training camp, with tendon soreness forcing him to continue rehabbing the injury and missing the first 26 games.

He made his first appearance in the lineup this season with 3:27 left in the opening quarter. A minute later, he banked in his first shot in his six-minute stint on the court. It was his only basket in his six minutes of play.

“All things considered he did fine, did well,” Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said. “This is a challenging situation for Dirk. Coming back in and re-accumulate mid-stream, with no real live practice time to speak of, but he has been busting his butt big time. I respect the hell out of him for what he has done to get back on the floor.”

The 2007 MVP said the slow pace of the rehab was to ensure Nowitzki wouldn’t be sidelined again once he returns. The 13-time All-Star

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