The NBA trade deadline has come and gone. There were 16 total trades made by 23 teams involving 46 players. In the end, it was the busiest trade deadline in NBA history.
Our eyes now turn to buyout season. Several players who weren’t traded, and a few who were traded, will work buyouts. Here’s a list of players that are already available, or expected to be available, via the buyout market.
Interested teams: Heat, Lakers, Clippers, Nets
Aldridge gave back a decent chunk of money in his buyout from San Antonio, signifying just how much he wanted to catch on somewhere else. He’s not much of a defender, as his ability to move and challenge shots is basically gone. But Aldridge remains a positive offensive player. He’s extended his shooting range to the point where you feel comfortable with him as a pick-and-pop threat. Aldridge can be an offensive hub on a second unit and that has value for several teams.
Interested teams: Knicks, Lakers, Clippers, Celtics, Hornets
Drummond has secured a buyout after the Cleveland Cavaliers were unable to find a trade partner for his $28 million salary. At that number, Drummond isn’t all that helpful. Teams likely would have created other issues to trade for the big man. On a rest-of-season contract, Drummond can help many teams. He’s still one of the game’s best individual rebounders, even if his teams aren’t great on the glass. He’s an average defender and only an OK finisher on offense. He can pass quite well, and there is a thought he’ll look better with better teammates around him. Of all the buyout candidates, Drummond is the most likely one to start for a playoff team this season.
Otto Porter Jr.
Interested teams: Bucks, Celtics, Lakers, Clippers, Nets
As of this writing, it’s unclear if the Orlando Magic will even buy out Porter. The team hasn’t given an indication that’s the plan. Given his $28 million expiring salary, and Orlando’s rebuilding direction, it’s still a very likely outcome. If Porter shakes free, he’ll give a playoff team some forward depth. He’s had a long injury history, but Porter can still defend a little, hit shots and rebound. That will get him a rest-of-season deal to prove his value before free agency.
Potential teams: Celtics, Nets, Clippers, Lakers, Hornets
It’s unclear what Houston’s plans are with Olynyk. He’s not likely to re-sign there, nor have a strong sign-and-trade market, so there is a lot of upside for the Rockets to keep him. If they can clear a bit of savings, and make space for a younger player, that’s probably best for both the team and Olynyk.
Potential teams: Bucks, Nets, Clippers, 76ers, Nuggets
Bradley’s situation mirrors that of Kelly Olynyk’s. It’s unclear if Bradley shakes free or not. But all of the contending teams can use a 3&D guard come playoff time.
Potential teams: Lakers, Clippers, Nets, Hornets
Whiteside is behind both Drummond and Aldridge in the pecking order for teams that need a bigs. It’s also unclear if Sacramento is going to waive him. He’s played well as a backup big for them, and they are a bit short in the frontcourt after losing Marvin Bagley III to injury and trading Nemanja Bjelica.
Potential teams: Bucks, Lakers, 76ers, Nuggets
Rivers will have some interesting opportunities if he’s bought out by Oklahoma City. The Thunder have enough guards, and Rivers won’t be a part of their future, so he could be set free. If so, expect the Bucks (need guard depth) and the Lakers (need scoring and creation with LeBron James injured) to compete for his services.
Potential teams: Lakers, Nets, Clippers
Parker remains a player who can occasionally score, if somewhat inefficiently. He doesn’t offer much else. It’s unclear if he’ll catch on anywhere for the remainder of this season or not.
Potential teams: Bucks, Warriors
Orlando will waive Teague after acquiring him from Boston. He could make sense for a Milwaukee team that doesn’t have a real backup point guard after trading D.J. Augustin to Houston for P.J. Tucker. The Warriors also dealt their veteran backup, Brad Wanamaker, to Charlotte at the deadline. If they wanted to bring in another vet, Teague could make sense for them.
Potential teams: Lakers, Clippers, Nets, Hornets, Celtics
Dieng can still block some shots and hit the occasional 3-pointer. He doesn’t have value to a Grizzlies team where he’s buried behind better, and some younger, options, but could help several contenders after he was waived on Friday. Dieng is a fallback plan for teams that miss out on Drummond and Aldridge — and if Whiteside doesn’t shake free.
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