With the NBA trade deadline rapidly approaching most teams are gearing up for the second half of the season. However not every team will hit the deadline on a high note and still be looking to dump some expiring contracts as teams battle for the best draft picks. Every season the buyout market leaves one last chance for title contenders to try and add some last minute players before the playoffs. Usually buyout candidates are nothing more than role players off the bench but this season could see some more notable names switching teams.
Stars on the move
We have already seen Blake Griffin get bought out and join the Brooklyn Nets but there are more former all stars that might be changing teams. Andre Drummond and LaMarcus Aldridge have both expressed interest in a change of scenery. Both players might be traded but its unlikely any deals materialize for the veteran big men. If bought out Drummond looks like a lock to join the Lakers and shore up their center rotation. Aldridge could still end up on a few different teams. Boston, Miami, and the Lakers are early teams in the running but its hard to tell if it will pan out.
While most buyout candidates aren’t star players they are still often strong rotation players and established veterans who can help contenders. This season veterans like JaVale McGee, James Johnson, JJ Reddick, Kelly Olynyk, and Hassan Whiteside are the most likely buyout candidates.
McGee has been a good rotation center for Cleveland after being traded this offseason. He can fill back up center minutes for contenders like the LA Lakers, Golden State Warriors, or Denver Nuggets.
James Johnson is a defensive minded forward for the Dallas Mavericks on a 15M expiring contract. If the Mavs bring in extra players via trades then Johnson might be the odd man out leading to a buyout. Johnson would be a great fit on teams like Brooklyn, Atlanta, or Miami.
JJ Reddick is highly likely to get bought out if he is not traded before the Thursday trade deadline. The veteran sharpshooter has made a career out of being elite from the three point line and would be a valuable asset for any team in the post season. Reddick would be a great fit for the Nets, Knicks, or 76ers.
Kelly Olynyk is an interesting player. He can stretch the floor as a sharpshooting forward but doesn’t bring much more to the team. If Miami trades him to a rebuilding squad he can very easily be bought out with his expiring contract. Olynyk would be a good fit for most team in need of wing shooting.
Finally Hassan Whiteside is a prime trade and buyout candidate for his high level play on a very cheap contract. In his last year with Portland Whiteside showed he can be an above average center capable of strong games on both ends of the floor. Whiteside would be a great fit for the Lakers, Heat, and Nets. Whiteside has lost his role in Sacramento and a buyout might be his best chance at a title.