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Ranking the Worst Bucks Contracts of the Last Decade: Setting up the Field

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Help us determine the worst contract your favorite franchise has doled out in the last 10+ years

Milwaukee Bucks Media Day Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images

You know, things are going pretty well for the Milwaukee Bucks, and their fans, right now. Even if we’re in the midst of an unprecedented global pandemic, the state of our beloved Bucks is as rosy as it’s been in the last 40-odd years. We have the reigning (and hopefully future) MVP, the top record in the league and are coming off our deepest playoff run in 20-odd years, even if it ended in bitter disappointment. With all this winning, I for one have sometimes had trouble appreciating the little things anymore. I even found myself starting to get angry following a single loss — the common has suddenly become uncommon.

If there’s one thing this whole “being trapped inside for days on end” ordeal has taught me, it’s not to take the little things for granted. And I certainly will not be taking the mere sight of Bucks basketball for granted, let alone a loss here or there. So it seems like the proper time to help remind us all, why we shouldn’t take this smashing season of success for granted. So, I’ll be leading an exercise that can hopefully remind us all to appreciate what we have: Counting down the worst Bucks contracts of the last decade.

Time-honored traditions in Milwaukee like grossly overpaying for outdated veteran help, picking players based upon their representation or swooping in for a bit player whose 3-point shooting bump was purely an aberration, these have mostly gone by the wayside in the prosperous present. But it’s high time we dig up some of our favorites from the past 10 years. Recollecting upon these poor choices is as much a part of Bucks fandom as “Bucks in Six.” Let me lay down the ground rules first:

  1. No Rookie Contracts Allowed: Yes, Rashad Vaughn was worth his weight in gold for the memes, but he certainly didn’t live up to the multi-million dollar rookie contract he received as a result of being the 17th selection. However, teams don’t get to negotiate or decide on a draftee’s contract, it’s based entirely on their draft slot. So for the purposes of this exercise, no first or second round rookie scale contracts are allowed. Rookie extensions are allowed.
  2. No 10-Day Contracts Allowed: It’s just too small of a commitment. If a player signed a 10-day, then was ultimately signed to a larger contract, the larger contract would be the nominee for this exercise. Sorry Axel Toupane fans.
  3. Contracts they Traded for Don’t Count: Even if they think a player is palatable on a particular contract and trade for him, that doesn’t mean it’s the Bucks who signed him to that contract. Again, if that player then signed an extension with Milwaukee (i.e. John Salmons), that extension is then eligible.
  4. Only contracts signed after January 1, 2010 Count: Yes, it’s midseason, but that will mean guys like Hakim Warrick won’t be in this exercise. Jerry Stackhouse can be though!

Okay, so those are the ground rules, here’s hoping I haven’t missed something glaring. As with most of our ranking exercises on this site, we’re asking you to take several different factors into account:

  • The context in which a contract was signed is important. Were the Bucks clearly overpaying a player just to reach the Playoffs when their team certainly wasn’t one move away? Were they finally building something but signed someone with a style the opposite of how the team seemed to approach the game?
  • The amount and length, quite obviously, is important. Minimum deals will almost surely be harder to rank highly on this exercise, but there are a few that come to mind I could see making their way into it. If the Bucks were unable to trade a contract that was clearly an albatross, then by extension that contract was worse off for the Bucks given it continued to plague them.
  • Finally, of course, player performance. Duh.

To kick this thing off, I’m asking you to toss out some of your suggestions in the comments. I’ll be doing my own research, but will happily accept ideas from our readers too. In order to keep this thing somewhat manageable, I’ll be limiting the final field to 10 different contracts. From there, we’ll start the polls to see who can emerge victorious as the definitive, worst Bucks contract of the last decade. Have at it.