10 Egregiously Bad Sports Contracts


Allan Houston

No one can rightfully call Allan Houston's career a "bust." When he ultimately retired (for the second time) after nine seasons with the New York Knicks, he ranked among the top 10 scorers in franchise history. But unfortunately for Houston, he'll ultimately be remembered less for his on-court heroics -- his buzzer-beater in game 5 of the opening round of the 1999 playoffs was one of the most dramatic in Knicks history -- than for his 2001 contract extension for a ridiculous $100 million over six years.

Achilles had his heel and Houston had his knees. Chronic knee pain would haunt him for most of his post-giant-contract years with the Knicks, included two seasons where he played a grand total of 20 games, but still received his nearly $20 million annual salary [source: Associated Press]. The $100 million albatross on Houston's back made him virtually untradeable, draining millions from the Knicks' coffers and drawing vocal complaints of mismanagement from the team's diehard fans, who had watched the fabled franchise nosedive since the 2000 departure of Patrick Ewing.

In 2005, the NBA instated a new amnesty clause that would allow a team to release its top-paid player and avoid a one-time luxury tax payment on wages in excess of the salary cap [source: Stein]. Ironically, even though the new exemption came to be known as the "Allan Houston Rule," the Knicks inexplicably chose not to release Houston [source: Maxim]. After attempting a comeback in 2008, Houston retired after one pre-season appearance.