Atlanta Hawks — Trae Young
2023 Salary: $37,096,500
You might think this is harsh for a 2-time All-Star point guard who hasn’t even hit his 25th birthday yet. Atlanta did what it needed to do — lock up its most precious asset for the foreseeable future. However, ask yourself this: Is Young the best player on a title team? Is he even the second-best player on a title team? We know he puts up big numbers, but we also know that the Hawks have had little success with him as the lead option. Young is taking up a huge chunk of Atlanta’s cap space, and he’s been prone to shaky three-point shooting, turnovers, and below-average on-ball defense. He could be the next Bradley Beal as a good stats guy on a bad team.
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Boston Celtics — Al Horford
2023 Salary: $26,500,000
We get the intangibles aspect. Horford is the heart and soul of this team, and provides the necessary experience to keep this young team grounded. He’s also an extremely hard worker on the defensive end of the floor (with the capability to hit the outside shot). However, it’s not ideal to be paying a 36-year-old often-injured center over $26 million a year for averages of 9.4 PPG and 6.1 RPG. That money easily could be split between two other rotation pieces (in theory) thus making the team deeper and less injury-prone.
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