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ON THE NBA/BY KERRY EGGERS/PORTLAND TRIBUNE/Some player contracts make sense; others boggle the mind

TRIBUNE FILE PHOTO: JOSH KULLA - Danilo Gallinari of the Los Angeles Clippers runs into Trail Blazers forward Ed Davis. Gallinari signed a three-year, $65 million contract before this season.NBA salaries have not only gone through the roof, they've busted out like a rocket ship into the wide-open spaces.

The salary cap for each team this season is a record $99.1 million. The average player salary is $6.2 million, highest of any professional sport. And remember: NBA salaries are fully guaranteed, unlike those in the other sports.

The most lucrative NBA salaries are those commanded by Golden State's Stephen Curry, who is making $34.7 million this season in the first year of a five-year, $201-million contract, and Cleveland's LeBron James, who takes in $33.3 million as part of a three-year, $100-million deal he inked before the 2016-17 campaign (he can opt out after this season). Those pacts are understandable. They are the game's two biggest stars and invaluable assets to their teams.

But plenty of other deals are somewhere between whack and inconceivable.

Here are 20 of those contracts that, for various reasons, have become mind-boggling and, in the most extreme cases, unconscionable.

20. Gordon Hayward, Boston

Age: 27.

Salary: $29.7 million this season, $31.2 million next as part of a four-year, $127.8 million free-agent contract signed last summer.

Last season: Averaged 21.9 points and 5.4 rebounds for Utah.

This season: Suffered fractured ankle in opener, expected to miss entire season. Celtics had to go high to obtain highly sought-after All-Star still in his prime. The untimely injury threw a wrench into their plans, at least temporarily.

19. Paul Millsap, Denver

Age: 32.

Salary: $30.8 million this season, $29.2 million next as part of a three-year, $90-million free-agent contract signed last summer.

Last season: Averaged 18.1 points and 7.7 rebounds for Atlanta.

This season: Averaging 15.3 points and 6.2 rebounds in 16 games. Underwent wrist surgery on Nov. 26, expected to be out until late February. Nuggets will be hard-pressed to get close to near full value over the course of the contract for the third highest-paid player in the league this season. At least the contract runs only three years.

18. Otto Porter, Washington

Age: 24.

Salary: $24.8 million this season, $26 million next as part of a four-year, $104-million contract signed last summer.

Last season: Averaged 13.4 points and 6.4 rebounds for Washington.

This season: Averaging 14.6 points and 6.6 rebounds. Porter signed a maximum deal with Brooklyn as a restricted free agent, which the Wizards matched. Porter is young and a fine two-way player the Wizards couldn't afford to lose. Still, his talents aren't commensurate with his salary.

17. Kyle Lowry, Toronto

Age: 31.

Salary: $28.7 million this season, $31 million next as part of a three-year, $100-million contract signed last summer.

Last season: Averaged 22.4 points and 7.0 assists for Toronto.

This season: Averaging 15.9 points and 7.1 assists. Raptors wanted to keep the nucleus of the team intact, and they're off to a fine start this season. Lowry's numbers are down, and he is probably past his prime, but he is their second-best player. At least the Raptors kept his deal to only three years.

16. Blake Griffin, L.A. Clippers

Age: 28.

Salary: $29.5 million this season, $31.9 million next as part of five-year, $173-million contract signed last summer.

Last season: Averaged 21.6 points and 8.1 rebounds for Clippers.

This season: Averaged 23.6 points, 7.9 rebounds and 5.1 assists in 19 games. Suffered knee injury on Nov. 29 and recently returned to action. After losing free agent Chris Paul to Houston, Clippers couldn't allow Griffin to go, and he was off to a terrific start before getting injured this season. But the oft-injured Griffin has missed major parts of the last four seasons. Unless that turns around, his contract will become a burden.

15. Jrue Holiday, New Orleans

Age: 27.

Salary: $25.7 million this season, $26.1 million next as part of a five-year, $126-million contract signed last summer.

Last season: Averaged 15.4 points and 7.3 assists for New Orleans.

This season: Averaging 18.0 points and 5.4 assists. Holiday is young and still reaching his prime as a player, but the Hornets had to overpay to keep their point guard.

14. Serge Ibaka, Toronto

Age: 28.

Salary: $20 million this season, $21.7 million next as part of three-year, $65 million contract signed last summer.

Last season: Averaged 14.8 points and 6.8 rebounds for Orlando and Toronto.

This season: Averaging 14.1 points and 5.9 rebounds. Suspended for one game last week after an altercation with a team staff member. Ibaka is a major piece to Raptors' success and a better player than his numbers indicate, and as with Lowry, they kept the deal to three years. But it's an awful lot of money to pay a role player, albeit a good one.

13. Evan Turner, Portland

Age: 29.

Salary: $17.1 million this season, $17.9 million next as part of four-year, $70-million contract signed before 2016-17 season.

Last season: Averaged 9.0 points and 3.8 rebounds.

This season: Averaging 7.8 points and 3.7 rebounds. Turner was part of GM Neil Olshey's spending spree of the summer of '16. His performance has yet to come close to the value of his deal.

12. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, L.A. Lakers

Age: 24.

Salary: $17.7 million this season, then becomes free agent.

Last season: Averaged 13.8 points and 3.3 rebounds for Detroit.

This season: Averaging 13.7 points and 5.2 rebounds. Signed a one-year contract as restricted free agent prior to this season and the Pistons let him walk. Has been playing on work release while serving a 25-day jail sentence after violating probation on a drunken-driving arrest. His contract is for only one year, but KCP is shooting below 40 percent and has been inconsistent with his offensive production. Too young and not enough cred for this kind of contract.

11. Gorgui Dieng, Minnesota

Age: 27.

Salary: $14.1 million this season, $15.2 million next as part of four-year, $64-million contract signed before 2016-17 season.

Last season: Averaged 10.0 points and 7.9 rebounds for Minnesota.

This season: Averaging 6.2 points and 4.8 rebounds. Fine role player for Timberwolves and just reaching his physical prime, but limited offensively and simply not worth that kind of money.

10. Tristan Thompson, Cleveland

Age: 26.

Salary: $16.4 million this season, $17.5 million next as part of five-year, $82 million contract signed before 2015-16 season.

Last season: Averaged 8.1 points and 9.2 rebounds for Cleveland.

This season: Averaging 4.2 points and 5.0 rebounds in 14 games. Has dealt with a calf injury this season. With Cavaliers often using Kevin Love at post, they're not getting near the value with Thompson that his salary would warrant.

9. Ryan Anderson, Houston

Age: 29.

Salary: $19.6 million this season, $20.4 million next as part of four-year, $80 million contract signed before 2016-17 season.

Last season: Averaged 13.6 points and 4.6 rebounds for Houston.

This season: Averaging 10.7 points and 5.4 rebounds. Signed a four-year, $80-million contract prior to 2016-17 season. Outstanding shooter taking only eight shots a game for high-flying Rockets. If he's not scoring, he's not helping much in other areas.

8. Allen Crabbe, Brooklyn

Age: 25.

Salary: $18.5 million this season, $19.3 million next as part of four-year, $74.8-million contract signed before 2016-17 season.

Last season: Averaged 10.7 points and 2.9 rebounds for Portland.

This season: Averaging 12.0 points and 4.0 rebounds. Blazers matched Crabbe's restricted free-agent offer sheet with Nets, then dealt him to them after last season. Shooting under 40 percent this season. Blazers benefit from addition by subtraction in drawing closer to luxury tax threshold.

7. Danilo Gallinari, L.A. Clippers

Age: 29.

Salary: $20.6 million this season, $21.6 million next as part of three-year, $65-million contract signed before this season.

Last season: Averaged 18.2 points and 5.2 rebounds for Denver.

This season: Averaging 13.4 points and 4.4 rebounds in 11 games. Suffered a glute injury on Nov. 5. Came back to play on Dec. 6 and was reinjured. Expected to return in early February. Great shooter, and Clippers had to give money to somebody — just not that much to Gallinari.

6. George Hill, Sacramento

Age: 31.

Salary: $20 million this season, $19 million next as part of three-year, $57-million contract signed before this season.

Last season: Averaged 16.9 points and 4.2 assists for Utah.

This season: Averaging 10.2 points and 2.8 assists. Kings had to fill out payroll and needed a veteran; Hill was the lucky overpaid recipient.

5. Ian Mahinmi, Washington

Age: 31

Salary: $16 million this season, $16 million next as part of four-year, $64-million contract signed before 2016-17 season.

Last season: Averaged 5.6 points and 4.8 rebounds in 31 games for Washington.

This season: Averaging 3.8 points and 3.6 rebounds. Bothered by knee injuries last season. Are you kidding, Wizards?

4. Timofey Mozgov, Brooklyn

Age: 31

Salary: $15.3 million this season, $16 million next as part of four-year, $64-million contract signed before 2016-17 season.

Last season: Averaged 7.4 points and 4.9 rebounds for Lakers.

This season: Averaging 4.5 points and 3.8 rebounds. Parlayed one solid season with Nuggets and Cavaliers into the massive deal with the Lakers, who funneled him to Nets after last season. Are you kidding, part two?

3. Joakim Noah, New York

Age: 32.

Salary: $17.8 million this season, $18.5 million next as part of four-year, $72-million contract signed before 2016-17 season.

Last season: Averaged 5.0 points and 8.8 rebounds in 46 games for New York.

This season: Averaging 1.5 points and 2.3 rebounds in four games. Missed half of last season with hamstring injury and drug suspension. Suspension carried over to start of this season. A once-valuable defender/rebounder is now a shell of his former self. Are you kidding, part three?

2. Luol Deng, L.A. Lakers

Age: 32.

Salary: $17.2 million this season, $18 million next as part of four-year, $72-million contract signed before 2015-17 season.

Last season: Averaged 7.6 points and 5.3 rebounds for Lakers.

This season: Played one game, in season opener, scoring two points. Veteran caught in Lakers' youth movement, so nobody even knows if this once very good player can still play.

1. Chandler Parsons, Memphis

Age: 29.

Salary: $23.1 million this season, $24.1 million next as part of four-year, $94.4-million contract signed before 2016-17 season.

Last season: Averaged 6.2 points and 2.5 rebounds for Memphis.

This season: Averaging 8.9 points and 2.9 rebounds in 25 games. Had a pair of knee injuries prior to coming to Grizzlies, and is still bothered by them. Blazers chased him after a solid 2015-16 season with Houston. Lucky for them they didn't catch him.

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