Everybody hates going to the gym. Everyone. If you are someone who says, “It’s a great stress release,” or “I don’t mind going,” then I probably don’t trust you as much as I’d trust my financial planning being done by Antoine Walker. There is not a whole lot to like at the gym. In my imagination the gym is like the Call On Me video, when in reality it more like a hybrid of a Biggest Loser episode and a Jersey Shore gym sequence. Full disclosure, I would fall on the Biggest Loser side of things. Either before work or after the last thing anyone feels like doing is sweating and straining their body. Of course there are countless benefits to being a gym rat, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that spending time there five times a week sucks.
The potential to look healthy and attractive to others is what fuels a majority of the gym goers, and spurs people to cough up the $ 40 to $ 200 a month a membership costs. And to the delight of many gym owners a sizable amount of their clientele make it to the gym religiously for 6 weeks and then slowly return less and less until they are just paying the monthly fees without receiving any of the benefits from the sweaty toucher chamber. To make things even more difficult quitting the gym is about as complicated as getting a lost passport replaced. My old gym in Chicago required 8 weeks notice, a written letter, two exotic animal sacrifices, and verbal conformation to a manager that was on duty between the hours of 11 and 2 every Tuesday, Thursday, and third Sunday.
In the NBA there are a group of players that are on what I like to call, gym membership contracts. They are the players that collect more DNPCD’s (Did Not Play Coach’s Decision) than points. On a number of occasions they’ll be dressed in a sharp suit instead of warmups because they are inactive not due to injury. When on the court their play and decision making can cause the coach to give Mike Woodson Face, and as a result playing time is so sparse, it’s as if the coach forgets the individual is even on the roster or actively trying to forget the player is part of the team. Besides receiving a pittance of playing time, the other requirement to qualify for Gym Membership Contract status is the player must be laughably overpaid in relation to their production and number of minutes played. That way the general manager can’t just dump the player like in the NFL because the contract still counts against the salary cap. Instead the general managers either have to suffer through their mistake and pay for the black hole of productivity created, or convince another team to take the little used player by giving up futures assets like young players or draft picks. Think the Warriors and Jazz trade from the summer. So now that I have laid out the guidelines I give to you the NBA’s Gym Membership Contract All-Stars.
I’m willing to put a lot of money down that Rudy Gay’s eventual NBA destiny is to become the owner of the Gym Membership Contract Team. Right now I can see how the remainder of his career will play out. This year Gay is paid close to 18 million dollars, which in no way matches his value, compared to other highly paid players in the league. Gay can score though, so some general manager will almost assuredly pay him a boatload more when his current contract expires. Towards the end of the deal though when the next GM arrives in wake of the previous GM’s decision to sign Rudy Gay, he’ll be dealt elsewhere so that the team can hit the reset button. And when Gay finds himself at the end of an NBA bench collecting his 12 million dollar yearly salary while averaging 11 minutes per game he will have fulfilled his destiny.
The Young Guys
Bennett’s struggles on the court and with his weight have been well documented. He’s only 20 years old and has an ample amount of time to turn things around, but Chris Grant and the fans in Cleveland are concerned. Grant passed on Oladipo, who looked like the surest thing in the draft, for Bennett and things have unraveled from there for the team whose owner proclaimed they would make the playoffs at the beginning of the season. So far Bennett is averaging 11 minutes per game and has 3 DNPCDs on his game log. Couple that with his 5.3 million dollar salary and Bennett is the youngest member of the Gym Membership Team. It’s not all bad for him though, Dan Gilbert appears just crazy and impatient enough to include Bennett in a panic trade this season, at which point I’m sure he’ll go on to have a fine career because that’s just what happens in Cleveland.
Things are less optimistic for Austin Rivers. His rookie year Rivers averaged 6 points 2 rebounds and 2 assists in 23 minutes per game. Couple that with a 37.2/32.6/54.6 slash line and that was enough for GM Dell Demps to go out and grossly overpay Tyreke Evans after having already acquired Jrue Holiday. With the crowded backcourt Rivers playing time this year has shrunk. He’s got 6 DNPCDs, averaging only 9 minutes per game and making 2.3 million this season. It sounds nuts, but Rivers’ time might be running out, at which point he might need dad to bail him out and give him an NBA roster spot.
The Old Guy
To be fair Brand is almost 48 years old and has the legs of a 79 year old. And this news is not a secret to anyone in the NBA, but for whatever reason the Hawks decided to give him 4 million this season to ride the bench. Brand is averaging just shy of 10 minutes per game and has collected 8 DNPCDs. Credit Brand for getting the contract and continuing to cash game checks.
Two Teams One Salary Dump
Keith Bogans & Kris Humphries
Bogans and Humphries combined salaries this season is 17 million dollars (12 million for Humphries 5 for Bogans) or roughly 790 Blake Griffin endorsed 2014 Kia Optimas. Bogans is averaging 7 minutes a game and has 16 DNPCDs. Humphries is getting about 14 minutes of burn per game and giving the Celtics 4 points and 4 rebounds on a nightly basis. The Celtics acquired the two benchwarmers in the now infamous draft day trade with the Nets. In exchange for sending Garnett, Terry, and Pierce to Brooklyn and accepting the Humphries, Bogans, and Wallace contracts Boston received 3 future first rounds picks and the right to swap picks with Brooklyn an additional year.
Andris Biedrins & Brandon Rush
These two former Golden State Warriors make a combined 13 million this year and both have been limited by injuries this year. So while it’s not completely fair to label them Gym Membership players right now, I’m guessing neither will find themselves on the court very often. The Jazz acquired the two from the Warriors because of the 5 draft picks that came along with them as well as Biedrins’ prowess spinning EMD music. And by ridding themselves of the dead weight salary the Warriors were able to sign Iguodala.
The Coattail Rider
Is there anyone leading a better life right now than Heat big man Joel Anthony? He lives in Miami, gets to play on the best team in the league, and see about five minutes of action per game. For that Anthony is compensated with a 3.8 million dollar salary. Oh and as if that isn’t enough he’s got two championship rings. Anthony – 2 Barkley – 0. Below is a less provocative picture of Anthony’s game log this season. Keep living the dream big guy.
Two Out Of Three Ain’t… Wait, Joe Dumars Is Three For Three
Charlie Villanueva Ben Gordon & Jonas Jerebko
Joe Dumars likes to spend money. Like a LOT OF MONEY. NBA fans are familiar with his decision to sign Villanueva and Gordon when the Pistons found themselves with a ton of cap room and nobody really worthy of it. Gordon has been playing out his contract in Charlotte the last two years, but in order to get Charlotte to take him Dumars had to give up a future draft pick that is only top 8 protected in the loaded 2014 draft. Gordon is earning 13 million this year with the Bobcats while already accumulating 15 DNPCDs this year. Villanueva and Jerebko are still a part of the Pistons, but receive few minutes because of the crowded front court that includes Josh Smith, Greg Monroe, and Andre Drummond. Villanueva is in the last year of his deal earning 8 million this year while Jerebko has an additional year earning 4.5 million per year. The two are averaging a combined 15 minutes per game so far and have a total of 19 DNPCDs, although a couple can be related to Villanueva’s sore back. Their total output this year so far is 63 points and 25 rebounds. If Dumars wants to add some outside shooting to make a playoff push, he will once again have to give up some future assets so that someone will take Villanueva or Jerebko off their hands.
Thanks to knees that are shot, multiple eye injuries, and mismanagement of his minutes Stoudemire is a shell of his former self. The one time all star now gets about 14 minutes per game and has to spend the rest of his time in an ice bath or bubble wrap. As everyone knows though all the ailments don’t prevent Stoudemire from cashing his 21.6 million dollar salary, that eats up more than a third of the Knicks salary. There is no quitting Amare either since the Knicks have traded all of their future picks, and have only one intriguing asset in Shumpert. They’re stuck with paying him the same way I was stuck paying my old gym an additional two months despite having already moved back to Philly.