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Bad contracts have helped put the NBA in such a bad situation

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Thinking about the lockout over the past few days it has really been a frustrating experience and unfortunately there doesn't seem to be an end in sight.  It's been a topic that has been discussed a lot lately and should continue to be for a while, and though the events that brought us to this point aren't going to change, there is still a lot that can be talked about. 

Right now the thing I'd like to post is related to what many people feel is the reason the NBA is locking out the players.  While there are many of us who are siding with the owners in this situation because of how much money they are losing, it's a unique situation due to the fact that the owners put themselves in this position by signing so many players to some absolutely awful contracts.

With that in mind, I looked up some of the more ridiculous contracts that have been handed out over the last year or so.  The ones I'm going to list are not just poor because of how much money is handed out, but also because of who they were given to.  Some of the players are well beyond their prime, or in some cases just not deserving of the kind of money they were given.

The first two guys have contracts that land them smack in the top-5 of NBA salaries from the 2010-11 season.  Unfortunately, neither guy did anything on the court to make it feel like they were deserving of that much money last year.  Rashard Lewis got a huge contract a few years back to play in Orlando, a 6-year deal worth $118 million.  He made $19.5 million last season and will get $21.1 million next season despite the fact that his skills seem to have diminished big time.

As for the other guy, Gilbert Arenas at one time could have been considered a top player in this league.  He even took less money back in 2008 because he wanted to stay with the Wizards, but since signing that deal things have been on a steady decline.  Between injuries and that gun-related incident and suspension, Arenas hasn't done much with the 6-year, $111 million deal he signed.  To make things worse for Orlando, who is currently paying the rest of that contract, there is still $64.2 million left to pay over the next 3 years. 

Here is a list of the other contracts that for one reason or another just aren't right and are indicative of what people mean when getting on the owners case for putting themselves in this bad situation.  I'll include how much and how long the original deal was for, and then how much the player was set to make during the (hopefully) upcoming season in 2011-12, or if the contract expired, how much they made during 10-11 season.

Rudy Gay- 5-years, $82 million.  11-12 salary: $15 million (a good player, but definitely getting overpaid. Kevin Durant is getting $13.6 million next season...that just doesn't seem fair)

Brandon Roy- 5-years, $82 million.   11-12 salary: $14.9 million (another case of amazing talent being knocked off course by injuries.  Hopefully not becoming the next Michael Redd)

Brendan Haywood- 6-years, $52 million.  11-12 salary: $7.6 million (not bad...considering he has been demoted to backup. That was sarcastic by the way)

Yao Ming- 5-years, $75 million.  10-11 salary $17.6 million (this contract is finally over.  He earned $34 million in the last two seasons while only playing 5 games.  Over the life of his contract he played just 185 out of what should have been 410 games.)

Joe Johnson- 6-years, $124 million.   11-12 salary $18 million (I couldn't believe how much the Hawks were paying him when he signed this deal, and I still can't believe it.  He isn't dominating player, and I don't expect him to get much better at this point of his career.  That sucks for Atlanta, who will pay him $21, $23 and $24 million over the last 3 years of his deal in 2013, 2014 and 2015...unless some other team wants to take on all that money)

Michael Redd- 6-years, $91 million,  10-11 salary $18.3 million (Another guy who was one of the top players in the league before injuries got ahold of him.  He played in just 61 games over the last 3 seasons, and just 10 last year despite making over $18 mil)