Ersan Ilyasova and the Hawks have been discussing a buyout over the past several days, and Atlanta has been eager to allow Ilyasova to join a playoff team and contend down the stretch of the season. Ilyasova has considered several possibilities with playoff teams, including Philadelphia, Golden State, Cleveland, Milwaukee and Toronto.
Joakim Noah may never suit up again for the Knicks, but the exiled center will have plenty of desirable options should he negotiate a buyout with the club. According to league sources, several playoff-bound teams are closely monitoring Noah’s situation in New York and would push to sign him if Noah becomes a free agent.
The Warriors, Timberwolves and Thunder are three such teams that believe Noah, who turns 33 on Sunday, could bolster their respective rosters for the postseason. Minnesota is an obvious one since it would reunite Noah with his former coach with the Chicago Bulls, Tom Thibodeau. Golden State and Oklahoma City also feel that Noah’s experience and defensive prowess would solidify their respective benches.
This season in particular, though, contenders such as Cleveland, Oklahoma City, Toronto and even Golden State have yet to make a buyout splash — and they’re all still actively looking. So I’m not sure this qualifies yet as any sort of buyout bonanza. Instinct tells me that we’ve already seen the big rule change in this department; you’ll recall that it wasn’t too long ago that players could be traded and then re-sign with the team that traded them 30 days later. That loophole, fortunately, was closed. But I frankly expected more of a buyout frenzy than we’ve seen because, with the trade deadline being moved up two weeks, buyout season got longer. As the rules currently stand: Any player waived by March 1 becomes playoff-eligible with his next team as long as that player is signed before the last day of the regular season.