The trade deadline has officially passed, which means it’s now ‘buyout season’ with high-profile players that were on the market and didn’t get traded now becoming potential hot commodities. Likewise, some good players who got traded to bad situations might start considering getting a buyout. The deadline for players to get waived and retain playoff eligibility is April 9.
Andre Drummond is set to receive a buyout after the Cavaliers weren’t able to trade him Thursday. He has been out of Cleveland’s rotation since mid-February in anticipation of a move and to allow Jarrett Allen to emerge. The Lakers, Nets, Mavericks, and Knicks are expected to pursue Drummond.
San Antonio could not find a trade for LaMarcus Aldridge and he is expected to receive a buyout. Like Drummond, interested teams could not put together the matching salary for him without gutting their depth. The Heat are viewed as the most likely landing spot for Aldridge’s services once he becomes a free agent. Portland and Boston are also expected to pursue him.
Otto Porter was considered a buyout candidate while he was on the Bulls but he definitely is one now that he’s been traded to Orlando. The 27-year-old has no place on the rebuilding Magic who are set to bottom out this season. A buy-out makes sense so he can join a team that sees him as a long-term piece.
Avery Bradley hasn’t played for the Heat since early February but even when he’s healthy, they are so deep at guard that he’s a luxury. It only made sense that they traded him as part of the package for Victor Oladipo. His low $5.6 million salary could’ve been rerouted to a good third team but instead could seek a buyout, which is easy for the Rockets to do since Bradley’s $5.9 million salary for next season is a team option.
Austin Rivers only makes $3.5 million this season and has two more non-guaranteed seasons at $3.3 million and $3.15 million, respectively. He had to structure his contract with three seasons so he can be sign-and-traded to the Knicks, but they made the last two seasons non-guaranteed to protect themselves. This type of contract is very valuable to contenders, but the Thunder couldn’t find a deal for him in time. He could be bought out now since it won’t cost them anything.
Gorgui Dieng was Memphis’ most likely player to be traded due to his high expiring salary. He now becomes a buyout candidate with the Grizzlies unable to trade him. He has gone under the radar probably because there are so many other good big men that will likely become available. He might be the most underrated candidate who can be a difference-maker for a good team.
Cory Joseph was traded to Sacramento along with two second-round picks for Delon Wright. Joseph has a $2.4 million partial guarantee for 2021-22, indicating that trading for him was partly a salary dump. Right now it’s a stretch that he becomes part of Detroit’s future plans with Dennis Smith playing well and Killian Hayes being their point guard of the future. If they plan on waiving him this offseason, it might make sense to waive him now and let him join a contender who needs a backup guard, like Milwaukee.
Rodney Hood was dealt to Toronto Thursday as part of the Norman Powell trade. His $10.85 million salary for next season is fully non-guaranteed, so it won’t cost anything to waive him and let him join a new team. But now that they’re keeping Lowry, they could still make a push for the playoffs, so they might not be inclined to cut Hood.
Hassan Whiteside has repeatedly received DNP-CDs throughout the season and clearly isn’t in Sacramento’s plans beyond this season. The Kings could waive him, with the Lakers reportedly interested in him.
As with many other Houston Rockets, Ben McLemore was made available for trade. He is still on the roster but it’s possible the Rockets decide to waive him. The 28-year-old shooter should receive plenty of interest after his revival in Houston.
Moe Harkless was signed by the Heat to be somewhat of a Jae Crowder replacement. He fell out of the rotation very quickly and immediately become a trade candidate. Now that he’s been traded to Sacramento, a buyout could make sense.
The Pistons were originally going to waive-and-stretch Rodney McGruder before the season started. They’ve held him throughout the season in case they need him for a trade but he is still on their roster. With his $5 million salary for 2021-22 non-guaranteed, the Pistons might as well waive him now and let him find a new home.
Jabari Parker has been out of the rotation all season for the Kings and stayed so they could potentially trade his $6.5 million salary. They might as well cut him now and let him find a new home.
Dante Exum has yet to recover from the calf injury he sustained earlier this season. The Rockets kept him as salary filler for a potential trade, but they might decide to cut him so they can replace him with a young, healthy player.
The Magic will reportedly waive Jeff Teague after acquiring him from Boston.