Top 10 NBA buyout candidates expected to be on the market
Now that the trade deadline has passed, it’s officially buyout season. Teams can buy players out at any point, though only players bought out by March 1 will be eligible to play in the postseason.
Buyout candidates tend to fit the mold of “veteran on a bad team with an expiring deal.” Following that template, let’s identify 10 candidates who could hit the market soon.
A buyout for Jackson is “an option”, though perhaps not imminent, per Yahoo. Since returning from a back injury on Jan. 22, Jackson has averaged 16.1 points per game and could be enticing for a team looking for a backcourt playmaker.
After the Cavs’ acquisition of Andre Drummond, it seemed like Thompson would be a prime buyout candidate, which ESPN’s Brian Windhorst reiterated on The Jump. However, David Aldridge reported shortly after that Thompson would in fact play out the final season of his contract in Cleveland. The veteran power forward is posting 13.8 points and 12.1 rebounds per 36 minutes this season.
After being included in the trade that sent Marcus Morris from New York to Los Angeles, Thomas will be bought out by the Clippers, according to Aldridge. Thomas is a defensive liability but is amid his best shooting season since 2017 in Boston, and the most accurate three-point shooting season of his career (41.3%).
Lee began the season as a starter in Dallas, but has since been relegated to an end-of-bench role, and the 34-year old wing has appeared in just 33 games overall for the Mavs since coming over in the Porzingis trade. It’s unclear how much Lee has left in the tank, but he holds a 38.8% career three-point percentage and plenty of playoff experience.
Minnesota acquired Turner in the four-team deal that sent Robert Covington to Houston and Clint Capela to Atlanta. Turner wasn’t playing a major role in Atlanta, though he’s a popular veteran around the league. Per Heavy’s Sean Deveney, multiple teams are expecting a buyout from Minnesota and have expressed interest in Turner’s services, including Boston and Miami.
With Charlotte amidst (another) rebuild and with rookie PJ Washington in tow, it doesn’t make much sense for them to hang on to the veteran Williams, currently in the final year of a four-year, $54.5 million deal. Williams is having a career-low year across the board and should be motivated to play useful minutes on a contender pre-free agency. At 6’9 with positional versatility and a 36.2% career three-point mark, Williams should garner some attention.
The no. 2 pick of the 2012 Draft may see his tenure in Charlotte time come to an end. MKG, now 26, is playing just 13.3 minutes per game, and has only appeared in 12 games all season. He still possesses an above-average defensive prowess, though, which should drum up interest from potential playoff teams, including possibly Houston and Dallas.
With Darius Garland, Collin Sexton, Kevin Porter Jr. and now Dante Exum on the roster, there’s no space for Delly on the Cavs at this juncture. He’s a hard-nosed defender with big playoff minutes on his resume, but an ice-cold three-point rate so far this season (16.4%) could cool the market for him.
Johnson is currently making about $19 million but is playing a career-low 16.6 minutes per game in Phoenix. The 27-year-old isn’t offering much to the Suns at the moment but proved himself to be a decent 3-and-D player for Miami just a couple years back.
Multiple Knicks Players
The Knicks shipped out only one veteran (Morris) on deadline day, though more could be bought out to clear minutes for younger players. Bobby Portis, Taj Gibson, Elfrid Payton, Wayne Ellington, and/or Reggie Bullock all remain viable options to be bought out.
Other possible buyout candidates: Harry Giles, Dion Waiters, John Henson, Vince Carter, Bismack Biyombo, Brandon Knight, Solomon Hill, Yogi Ferrell.