LaMarcus Aldridge

Five players who could be bought out after the trade deadline

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The 2021 NBA buyout market should be fascinating. Many contenders were quiet at the trade deadline, leaving plenty of room for improvement around the edges of their rosters.

The usual suspects will be eyeing up the top buyout candidates. Big markets dominate buyout season, and that’s unlikely to change in 2021. Expect the Lakers, Nets and Clippers to be at the forefront of discussion.

NBA buyout market 2021: Five buyout candidates after NBA trade deadline

A few players are already well on their way to a buyout. Blake Griffin agreed to his weeks ago, and he’s already plying his trade with the Brooklyn Nets.

Others were destined for this long before the trade deadline passed. Bloated contracts and outdated skillsets tend to lead to this awkward situation between player and team, a time to mutually part ways.

Here are five leading buyout candidates following Thursday’s NBA trade deadline.


Andre Drummond

Early murmurings have linked Andre Drummond and the Lakers. Cleveland’s desire to trade Drummond never led to anything. The vast contract made salary matching near impossible, and has perhaps led to Drummond becoming underrated.

Drummond is still a rebounding monster. He’s never been utilized effectively, and his game is limited, but this is still a player who can offer something to a contender. That size and athleticism can be impactful if used as a rim protector and roller. Maybe playing with stars will reinvigorate his career and a basket-to-basket five.

The Lakers and Nets will be at the front of the queue for Drummond. Given the skill overlap with some on the Nets roster, the Lakers are the most likely destination.

LaMarcus Aldridge

According to Adrian Wojnarowski, the Heat are early frontrunners for LaMarcus Aldridge. An Aldridge buyout has seemed inevitable for a couple of weeks.


No longer of use to the Spurs, Aldridge is destined to be a backup five. His days as a lead scorer from the post are long gone. Having added three-point range, though, there’s some worth in acquiring Aldridge if you’re looking for some bench offense.

Defense is the worry come playoff time. Aldridge has been a major negative on that end over the last couple of seasons. There will be a market for the former All-Star, of course, but it’s unclear if he can play considerable postseason minutes.

Otto Porter

The Magic have no use for Otto Porter. His expiring contract doesn’t mean anything to them, and Porter will surely be keen to go to a contender.

Although marginalized by the Bulls, Porter still has a lot to offer. He’s a career 40% shooter from deep, and can provide some decent defense.

Every team can benefit from more wing depth. A player who can shoot the ball like Porter and switch a bit will have his choice of teams. The Lakers will definitely show some interest, but the Blazers might be the best route to big minutes.

Wayne Ellington

Shooting over 43% from three, teams will be queueing up for Wayne Ellington. He’s in esteemed company when it comes to three-point shooting this season.

It’s a bit surprising the Pistons couldn’t get a second-round pick off someone for Ellington before the deadline.

Regardless of limited trade interest, teams will form an orderly line if Ellington is bought out. The list of suitors is plentiful, but the Bucks and Suns would be particularly good spots.

Austin Rivers

Included in the George Hill trade, Austin Rivers is unlikely to be in Oklahoma City for long. He fell out of favor with Tom Thibodeau’s New York Knicks, but Rivers still has a role to play off the bench for a good team.

Rivers can bring the ball up occasionally. He’s a handy secondary playmaker and can be a solid spot-up shooter in the right spot.

The Bucks seem like a good fit for the former Clipper.

Failing that, a mid-tier playoff chasing team could look to add a veteran to help the bench unit out. Maybe that’s something the Pelicans or Hornets consider after losing JJ Redick and LaMelo Ball respectively.

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