The NBA buyout season is in full swing. Across the league, teams have waived players to free cap space, open roster spots for incoming players, or get rid of a veteran to allow a younger player the opportunity to absorb the minutes left behind by the older one.
Other teams have gone thrift shopping, signing players from the buyout market in hopes of adding a piece to help their winning aspirations. As soon as the trade deadline came to a close, the pitches for the players who were bought out began, and the top names of signed with their teams for the rest of the season.
The big names from the market to already sign include Wesley Matthews, Enes Kanter, Wayne Ellington, Jeremy Lin, and Markieff Morris. All signed with teams who are currently in the playoff race in their respective conference and have played meaningful minutes for their team. Matthews and Ellington are starting for their respective teams, while Kanter, Lin, and Morris all play meaningful minutes off the bench.
What remains on the buyout market are the leftovers. There aren’t any players still available that will have the effect of the ones that have already signed. But they can still fill a roster spot and play rotation minutes in a pinch.
A 12-year veteran in the league, Gortat still provides value in multiple facets for a team. While he is no longer the starting caliber center for a playoff team that he was during his years with the Washington Wizards, Gortat can still contribute in a much smaller role.
At 34, he can still finish the easy shots inside, but is more importantly still a very effective screen setter and rebounder. He can bang down low with other traditional centers, but isn’t quick enough to hang with smaller or perimeter oriented fives. He was waived by the Los Angeles Clippers after averaging five points and 5.6 rebounds in 16 minutes per game.
He’s a veteran that can provide a positive locker room impact while still being able to find success in short bursts of minutes. The Polish big man is still in the NBA for a reason. He’s a hard worker, who’s well respected, and knows how to succeed even with the limitations he has. He’s the best player currently left on the market.
Reports indicate he is holding out for the Warriors as a suitor for his talents. Golden State and Robin Lopez share a mutual interest in one another as well. It remains to be seen if Lopez is bought out by the Bulls, but if he isn’t, Gortat and Golden State seem to be a match.
Waived by the Kings after appearing in just 19 games, McLemore’s stop in Sacramento ends as the guard’s disappointing career continues. The seventh overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft just has not lived up the hype that once surrounded him. Talks of him being a capable scorer with exciting athleticism have yet to come to form, and the odds of it ever happening are slim to none.
At 26, McLemore’s value is strictly as a floor-spacing option, as he has made 41.5 percent of his attempts from the 3-point line this season.
In the past two games where he actually played legitimate minutes, McLemore played well. On January 8th he scored 20 points on 7-of-10 shooting in just 19 minutes against Phoenix. His last appearance with the Kings, on January 22nd, saw another impactful performance from the 6-foot-5 wing. He scored 10 points on 3-of-4 shooting in 13 minutes.
In all honesty, if the Kings actually had a use for McLemore, he would not be a bad piece for them. But Sacramento is in the thick of a playoff race and has established a wing rotation comprised of Buddy Hield, Harrison Barnes, Bogdan Bogdanovic, Alec Burks, and as of now Corey Brewer, who is on his second 10-day contract with the team. If a team is looking to add an extra 3-and-D player, McLemore would be an effective pickup from the remaining options on the market.
Monroe is certainly no longer the near double-double machine he was in his prime with the Detroit Pistons, but he can still be a third center option on an NBA team. While his defense is a severe negative, he can still run the pick-and-roll on offense and work on the glass. There is a reason the Toronto Raptors severed their ties with him, but he can still do a few things.
Inside, he is able to use his bigger body to move opposing defenders around, while possessing a solid touch at the rim. He is also one of the better bench-level passing big men around. Again, his defensive shortcomings will hinder a team, but he can have a positive, albeit small, return on the offensive end.
While Abrines was waived due to personal reasons, he gave up the money he was owed from the remaining portion of his contract, which saved the Oklahoma City Thunder nearly $10 million in luxury tax payments. While his numbers are down this year, Abrines shot 38 percent from the 3-point line in each of his first two seasons in the NBA. He is a low usage wing player that can provide minutes at shooting guard and small forward, as he has spent 63 percent of his minutes at shooting guard and 37 percent of his minutes at small forward this season, according to Basketball-Reference.
He is the best shooter left on the buyout market, which means there is likely a team interested in him if he has a desire to return to the league. The personal issues Abrines has been dealing with have not been disclosed, however, so there is no way to know if he wants to sign with a team or not.
While the buyout market appears dry now, reinforcements could be on the way. Numerous players remain with a chance to be bought out, headlined by DeAndre Jordan, Robin Lopez, and J.R. Smith. But as of now, these are the slim pickings left on the market. To be playoff eligible, any player signed from the market must be completed by March 1st. More veterans could be bought out over the next week, but the clock is ticking.