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The Worst Bucks Contract of the Last Decade: Matthew Dellavedova Grits His Way to 3rd

Delly bites the dust

Boston Celtics v Milwaukee Bucks - Game Four Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images

Matthew Dellavedova’s arrival in Milwaukee was one of 2016 free agency’s worst kept secrets. Jason Kidd himself was seen scouting the Aussie point guard during the NBA Finals. The contract was essentially already signed, and all fans had was to learn the final figures of the deal. The 4-year, $38.4M deal didn’t seem entirely out of line with the conventional thinking at the time, especially given the price gouging of contracts aplenty that year. No matter that the Bucks still had Michael Carter-Williams on the roster, Delly was worth that price as a backup.

Eventually, the Bucks jettisoned MCW before the season started to slot Delly in as the presumptive starter for that season. Coming off his career year in Cleveland, Delly had shot above 40% from deep the past two years and could capably play off-ball. He seemed like an ideal fit next to Giannis, but his 3-point shot wasn’t quite as true in 2016-17. He fell to 36.7% on 2.8 attempts per game, fewer attempts per game than his season prior as a Cavalier. The gritty defense was serviceable, but by then Jason Kidd’s smoke and mirrors scheme had been uncloaked by the entire league. Delly had a career high usage rate (16.3%), turnover rate (18.8%) and minutes played. Unfortunately, his one-dimensionality made it difficult to always find ways for him to be productive with an outsized role on the team.

He couldn’t finish at the rim, nor did he offer much as a creator off the dribble. He hit just 36/88 (41%) of his shots near the tin, the 0th percentile among points per Cleaning The Glass. He hit a decent percentage, 42%, of his short midrange shots, aka The Delly Floater, but other than that his arsenal was sorely lacking. In terms of team performance, Delly certainly wasn’t the most damaging player on the team’s performance. He had a -2.9 on/off net rating differential, with the team at a -1.1 net rating with him on. Where those numbers look worse is when you factor in that 78% of Delly’s nearly 2,000 minutes that year also came alongside Giannis Antetokounmpo. After merely a year, and with Delly ranked 6th on the salary ledger for 2016-17, it already seemed clear he wasn’t quite worth the Summer spending splurge.

In 2017-18, Delly had a lost season. After missing just 37 games in his first four years, Delly suffered left knee tendinitis and right ankle sprain that held him to just 38 appearances in 2017-18. Unfortunately, he remained just as ineffective, and his 3-point jumper still wasn’t quite at the level of his Cleveland days. With Eric Bledsoe in town early that year, Delly became squarely entrenched as a backup. Sure, he could still run the occasional inverted screens with Giannis, but there wasn’t a whole lot else Delly could offer that justified his price tag, even with him ranking 7th on the team in ‘17-18 salary. He did have his one shining moment as a Buck though, the steal and scoop against the Boston Celtics that will live on in our hearts for years:

Delly played just 12 games for Bud’s Bucks before getting shipped to Cleveland alongside John Henson. Perhaps nothing is a more fitting signifier of overpaying Delly than comparing him to the newly minted contract of George Hill, who was brought back to replace him in that very trade.

2019-20 Salary

  • Dellavedova: $9,607,500
  • Hill: $9,133,907

Good on ya Delly, at least you weren’t the worst deal of the last decade.

From the Archives

Aron Yohannes discusses the deal when it was reported and succinctly sums up most of our feelings from that time:

If Cleveland officially decides to move on, Dellavedova would be a nice fit for the Bucks. On a team needing 3-point shooting and defense — especially from the guard area — Dellavedova fills that void. Last season with the Cavs, he shot 41% from deep, which would’ve been the second-best mark on the Bucks among qualifying players behind Jerryd Bayless. He’s also shown the ability to be a willing passer.

Here’s Frank breaking down the cap ramifications of Delly’s arrival after they inked the contract.

Brew Hoop Worst Contract of the Last Decade Ranking

10. Ersan Ilyasova (2012; 5-year, $40M; team option last year)

9. O.J. Mayo (2013; 3-year, $24M)

8. Mirza Teletovic (2016; 3-year, $31.5M)

7. Tony Snell (2017; 4-year, $44M)

6. John Salmons (2010; 5-year, $39M)

5. John Henson (2015; 4-year, $44M)

4. Drew Gooden (2010; 5-year, $32M)

3. Matthew Dellavedova (2016; 4-year, $38.5M)

It’s finally time for the final poll. Who among these two has the better contract?


What is the BEST Bucks contract out of this bad bunch?

This poll is closed

  • 63%
    2013 Larry Sanders (4-year, $44M)
    (224 votes)
  • 36%
    2016 Miles Plumlee (4-year, $52M)
    (128 votes)
352 votes total Vote Now

This poll will close on Wednesday, May 26 at noon CST.