The NBA trade deadline has passed – the buyout market is now the route to roster improvement.
The deadline was busier than expected with Andrew Wiggins and D’Angelo Russell swapping teams and the Los Angeles Clippers landing Marcus Morris. Andre Drummond left Michigan for Ohio, creating a surplus in the Cleveland Cavaliers’ front-court.
Teams who missed out in the trade market will now look to buyouts. Buyouts occur with players who are on noncompetitive teams and heading to free agency. They agree a price with their current franchise and become a free agent. These players will then attract interest from contenders and can pick where they go to play next. Occasionally, they are decisive come playoff time and can change a team’s fortunes as the Sixers saw with Ersan Ilyasova and Marco Belinelli a couple of years ago.
It’s unlikely all five of these players are bought out, but it’s likely some of them will be…
Marvin Williams is an obvious buyout candidate following PJ Washington‘s big year in Charlotte. Williams will likely be looking to move elsewhere, having hit a career-low in minutes this season and moved to the bench for the first time in his career.
He brings size, standing at 6’8″, and is a solid three-point shooter. Williams is hitting 37.6% of his threes in 2019/20 and jacking up 5.2 attempts per 36 minutes. Plenty of playoff teams will be interested in a stretch four enjoying that kind of shooting year. His game is limited, but that doesn’t make him worthless.
The Rockets, Heat and Nuggets would all make sense if a buyout is agreed.
The Charlotte Hornets dominate the potential buyout candidates. There’s varying use for their players on contenders, but Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is a player that teams might just take a chance on.
An obvious disappointment since being taken second overall, Kidd-Gilchrist is at a career low in minutes with the Hornets and has appeared in just 12 games. He’s as good as a non-shooter, which will put off plenty of teams, but his defensive ability will likely tempt some.
Cory Joseph and De’Aaron Fox are blocking Yogi Ferrell‘s path to meaningful minutes in Sacramento. A buyout will be cheap too, with Ferrell earning a shade over $3 million this year, considerably less than the other players on this list.
Ferrell won’t move the needle, and might not even seen postseason minutes. He’s potentially a useful backup point guard for a team like the Lakers (we are still waiting to find out what happens with Darren Collison). The 6’0″ guard is shooting just 31% from three this year, however, which might restrict his market.
He’s a 37% perimeter shooter for his career, though, and that will interest several front offices.
Teams always need shooting. Langston Galloway is likely the best available shooter. Coming off the bench for the rebuilding Detroit Pistons, Galloway would be highly desired if he is bought out. He’s shooting over 40% from three on five attempts per game in just 26 minutes.
Whether the Pistons choose to buy Galloway out remains to be seen. Some are sceptical. There’s little benefit in Galloway remaining in Detroit, though, unless he feels fewer minutes will drastically harm him as he enters free agency this offseason.
He could be a difference maker for teams short on perimeter gunners.
Early reports suggest the Cavs are going to stick with Tristan Thompson despite trading for Drummond, but it’s a case of needing to see it to believe it. Unless they are running out line-ups with Thompson, Drummond and Kevin Love, there’s a major logjam in the frontcourt.
Thompson is a free agent at the end of the year. An extension is possible, though that depends on the future of Drummond and Love. The Boston Celtics and Houston Rockets could do with adding Thompson – he would move the needle for both teams.
The interior defence and rebounding Thompson would provide for a new team could be invaluable. He’s the buyout candidate that could have the biggest impact in the postseason.