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15 possible buyout candidates to monitor following the trading deadline

Two former Kia Most Valuable Players, along with other high-scoring guards and glass-shattering big men, could be available for buyouts.

15 possible buyout candidates to monitor following the trading deadline
15 possible buyout candidates to monitor following the trading deadline

The annual NBA trade deadline is to the buyout market as a late December birthday is to Christmas. Typically, it is eclipsed by the preceding major holiday, which has brighter lights, nicer wrapping paper, and a larger embrace. 

However, buyout time is occasionally a welcome second chance for teams that missed the deadline. 

This year is no exception. Given the rush of deals that occurred across the league before Thursday's deadline, the quantity and quality of players in the trash pile may be extremely high. When rosters are reorganized, goals are reevaluated, and resources must be adjusted, a massive game of musical chairs looks like the ideal solution. 

For all intents and purposes, the final chair is drawn on March 1, the deadline by which a player must be bought out by his next team if he is to be eligible for the playoffs. As soon as the trading dust settled, however, teams began evaluating ways to increase depth, fix holes, and otherwise adjust for the latter portion of the season. 

Here are 15 players who are currently available or soon will be, with candidates (actual or delusional) vying for the cutouts. And since we're using alphabetical order, the most prominent name appears last:

15 post-trade deadline buyout candidates

Washington, Will Barton 

The market for this experienced wing depends on whether general managers believe they will acquire the player who averaged 14.7 points in 2021-22 or the one who is averaging 7.7 points on 38% shooting this season. He averaged 32 minutes in Denver while starting 181 of 185 games over the past three seasons, as opposed to 19.6 minutes with no starts for the Wizards, but his per-36 output is not far off (14.1 points on 13.1 shot attempts).

Will Patrick Beverley, of Orlando, return to Minnesota? 

Beverley's future has been the subject of contradictory rumors, with Orlando waiving the point guard in the aftermath of the Mo Bamba trade that brought the 34-year-old guard from the Lakers. Beverley's tenacious defense and brashness helped the Timberwolves reach the playoffs last spring, on the one hand. On the other side, it is possible that the Wolves with Mike Conley have moved on from the aging nuisance. 

Dewayne Dedmon, San Antonio

The Heat, in need of frontcourt depth, sent Dedmon to the Spurs for cash and a second-round selection, who swiftly waived him. Dedmon's performance in spot duty, particularly behind the boards, is not terrible.

Bryn Forbes, Minnesota

Everyone enjoys shooting, so a lifetime 3-point percentage of 41% should attract curiosity. After having little impact, the Wolves waived him to make place for Conley and Nickeil Alexander-Walker (268 minutes in 25 games, 14-of-46 from the arc). 

Danny Green, Houston 

Green remained in Memphis for rehabilitation since the summer, played three games in February, and was traded in exchange for Eric Gordon. Multiple news sources reported on Sunday that Green is close to signing with the Cleveland Cavaliers to improve their playoff chances.

This is George Hill, Indiana

Hill appears unlikely to be released by the Pacers, a nod to his five formative seasons in Indianapolis (2011-2016). At least he enjoys his last destination. Some Bucks fans likely feel sorry for the veteran guard, given that Milwaukee dealt him in 2020 to acquire Jrue Holiday and now has championship aspirations once again with Hill gone. 

Serge Ibaka, Indiana

Ibaka, who was waived by Indiana, may be more interested in his suitors than they are in him. He slid out of Milwaukee's rotation by Thanksgiving and never returned, even when big Bobby Portis was out for three weeks. 

Reggie Jackson, Charlotte

The Clippers chose size (Mason Plumlee) over Jackson's popularity and perimeter shooting, which had been inconsistent as of late. Jackson may provide a great offensive boost off the bench for numerous contenders, but according to The Athletic's Shams Charania, Denver has claimed him and will be his next employer. With the four-team trade that sent Bones Hyland to the Clippers and sent Thomas Bryant to the Nuggets, a void was created. 

DeAndre Jordan, Denver

Bryant arrives, so Jordan departs? This is what would occur if the Nuggets buy out the 34-year-old center on a one-year contract. When he does play, he is a respectable contributor, averaging five points and five rebounds in fifteen minutes. 

Kevin Love, Cleveland

Love was once again asked to make a sacrifice in Cleveland, taking a full seat when Dean Wade returned from injury. However, the 34-year-old forward has been enjoying this Cavaliers team, both on and off the court, and does not appear inclined to leave. 

Derrick Rose, New York

With Tom Thibodeau as head coach, Rose's omission from the Knicks' rotation does not speak well for his remaining ability. A buyout now would likely be a move motivated by emotion, allowing Chicago (which needs positive PR) to sign him so that Rose could finish his NBA career with his hometown Bulls.

Terence Ross, Orlando

Ross is apparently headed to Phoenix after being dismissed by the Magic on Sunday, towards the conclusion of his four-year, $54 million contract, per Wojnarowski. Ross, who has shot 38% from deep in a limited role for the Magic this season, might help the Suns create space around Kevin Durant, Devin Booker, Chris Paul, and Deandre Ayton. Ross is not that far from from his 2019 sixth-place performance in Sixth Man voting.

Dario Saric is from Oklahoma City

Saric had increased his production for the Suns to 8.1 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 18.4 minutes per game since January 1 – only to be traded to OKC in exchange for defensive player Darius Bazley. Saric had missed the entire 2021-22 season recovering from ACL knee surgery. If he is not bought out, Saric might fill the void left by Mike Muscala's departure to Boston.

First John Wall, Houston Wall's relationship with the Rockets is already shaky

First John Wall, Houston The Rockets' decision to warehouse Wall strains the already strained relationship between the five-time All-Star and his squad. Then, in June of last year, he was reportedly bought out for $41 million of the $47.4 million owed to him for 2022-23. Then, at the trade deadline, he returned to the Rockets in exchange for Eric Gordon. Wall averaged 18.4 points and 8.5 assists per 36 minutes off the bench for the Clippers, while shooting 40% overall and 30% on 3-pointers. 

Russell Westbrook, Utah

As the weekend began, all options remained on the table, including Westbrook joining his hometown Clippers in Los Angeles, signing with the Heat, the Bulls, the Nets, or the Wizards, or even remaining in Utah. Some have claimed that, at age 34 and following a disappointing tenure with the Lakers, the former MVP's next visit could be his last unless he accepts a smaller position and adjusts his game accordingly.


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