We all know that NBA Finalists Kevin Durant (left) and LeBron James are worth their weight in gold. But according to Southern Utah University economics professor David Berri and his "Wins Produced" algorithm — which quantifies on-court contributions, compares that total to what a player actually is paid, and delivers a dollar difference — we can call out the NBA's most overpaid players.
Tyrus Thomas, Bobcats (overpaid by $12,459,225)
Thomas (No. 12) made $7.3 million last season — but still was "overpaid," according to Berri, by $12,459,225! He averaged just 5.6 points per game and 3.7 rebounds for a 7-59 team. Maybe he can work out a payment schedule with Michael Jordan for the money he "owes."
Deron Williams, Nets (overpaid by $12,784,867)
Williams ($16.4 million in 2011-12) may be a surprise to some as he's considered one of the NBA's premier point guards. Then again, he hasn't exactly turned around the Nets since his arrival from Utah two years ago.
Dirk Nowitzki, Mavericks (overpaid by $12,851,295)
We admit it, it's a major surprise to see the 2011 NBA Finals MVP ($19 million in 2011-12) on this list. Most likely it stems from his team's average regular-season performance this season (36-30), which arguably was affected more by roster losses the previous offseason.
Corey Maggette, Bobcats (overpaid by $12,862,248)
Maggette (center) might think it unfair to be on this list, seeing as how far the Bobcats suffered once he was injured in midseason. But even $10.3 million for a scorer who averaged just 15.0 ppg on abysmal 37 percent shooting. He's another guys who's in the red, in Berri's book.
Mehmet Okur, Nets/Blazers (overpaid by $12,988,657)
Okur (No. 13) earned $10.9 million for last season's work, which included 17 games because of injuries and just 7.6 points per game. In fact, he totaled merely 130 points for the season — or about what Kevin Durant would average over five games. According to Berri's math, that would mean Okur actually owes his employers more than $2 million! Ouch!
Chris Kaman, Hornets (overpaid by $14,613,480)
Kaman (No. 35) didn't seem give the Hornets enough bang for his many millions of bucks in 2011-12. Injuries limited him to only 47 games (33 starts), with Kaman shooting a career-low 44.6 percent to go with 13.1 points and 7.7 rebounds.
Amar'e Stoudemire, Knicks (overpaid by $14,918,309)
The Knicks forward (left) was paid $18.2 million in 2011-12, the ninth-highest figure in the NBA. But his often one-dimensional game does not seem to measure up under Berri's calculations despite Stoudemire averaging 17.5 points and 7.8 rebounds.
Antawn Jamison, Cavaliers (overpaid by $17,402,350)
Jamison (center) was paid franchise-type dollars last season ($15.1 million), but did not put up anywhere near franchise-carrying results. Sure, he scored a bit at 17.2 ppg. But Berri's system values other factors, and Jamison's 40 percent shooting and 6.3 rebounds were not enough for a 21-45 team.
Kobe Bryant, Lakers (overpaid by $19,693,258)
Kobe Bryant? Really?!?! Yes, says Berri's formula. Apparently 27.9 points per game and sometimes carrying the Lakers was not enough to be left off this inglorious list. Of course, at an NBA-high salary of $25.2 million last season, how can you NOT be overpaid?
Rashard Lewis, Wizards (overpaid by $21,167,231)
No offense to Lewis (No. 9), but he is the poster child for this list. At a whopping $22.1 million last season, he ranked second in the NBA behind Kobe Bryant and just ahead of Tim Duncan. But the production was worthless: 28 games, 15 starts, 7.8 points and 3.9 rebounds per game. Lewis once led the league by nailing 220 3-pointers in 2008-09. This season he made 16 ... 16!!! Sorry, fans, there will be no refunds. — Adrian Hasenmayer