NBA buyout market roundup: For once, you are allowed to be excited about it

NBA buyout market roundup: For once, you are allowed to be excited about it

LaMarcus Aldridge looks to be headed to the Nets.
LaMarcus Aldridge looks to be headed to the Nets.
Image: Getty Images

The NBA’s buyout market is generally overrated.

This season might be different, though, because of the singularity 2020-21 provides. Even as more players and teams get vaccinations, the world isn’t COVID-proof yet, making the disease a factor moving forward, along with the usual injuries that occur.

Last season’s most impactful buyout market signing was Markieff Morris, who only played 14 regular-season games due to the COVID suspension of the season in March, but he was firmly in the rotation. Morris played in all 21 of the Lakers’ playoff games during their championship chase, including two starts, logging over 18 minutes per contest, and averaging 5.9 points and 3.0 rebounds on 44.9 / 42.0 / 77.8 shooting splits. His 42-percent tally from three also came on over three attempts per game despite his overall low scoring output.

He also had many key defensive moments as the gritty switchable forward the Lakers needed:

Examples of the high-end buyout market signings over the past 15 years include:

  • Boris Diaw joining the San Antonio Spurs in 2012 after being waived by the Charlotte Bobcats
  • Joe Johnson parting with Brooklyn Nets to join the Miami Heat in 2016
  • Enes Kanter coming to the Portland Trail Blazers from a New York Knicks buyout just two years ago
  • P.J. Brown, probably still the best example, joined the Celtics late in the season and was an integral defensive piece of the Celtics 2008 championship, and had exceptional moments in what was his last NBA season.

There are far more examples of buyout experiments that were just ok at best and bad at worse, like Stephon Marbury on the Celtics in 2009, Michael Finley on the Celtics in 2010, Mike Bibby on the Heat in 2011, Andrew Bynum on the Pacers in 2014, and DeMarre Carroll to the Rockets last season.

This season, everyone’s hoping that they could get one to work, and the talent pool is at least intriguing, even though you can comfortably be skeptical over their collective effectiveness.

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Andre Drummond, C

Andre Drummond, C

Illustration for article titled NBA buyout market roundup: For once, you are allowed to be excited about it
Image: Getty Images

Drummond is the big one, for better or worse.

The nine-year NBA veteran and two-time All-Star has been bought out from the Cleveland Cavaliers and is drawing interest from a few of the NBA’s contenders, as well as the New York Knicks, according to Chris Haynes of Yahoo.

The Knicks are apparently very interested in Drummond despite having Mitchell Robinson and Nerlens Noel. Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News even reported that the Knicks having cap space could work in their favor if they’re willing to give Drummond a long-term deal now.

But Drummond’s counting stats are slightly fool’s gold, especially this season. He’s averaged 17.5 points and 13.5 rebounds through 25 starts this season and is good for 14.6 points and 13.8 rebounds per game throughout his career. But even as a near 7-foot center, Drummond is just shooting 47.4-percent from the field this season, over six-percentage points below his career average. Some advanced analytics are among the worst of his career, including a 98 offensive rating, a -0.3 box-plus-minus, and just .050 win shares per-48 minutes.

ESPN’s Brian Windhorst noted yesterday to also keep the Miami Heat in mind regarding Drummond.

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Gorgui Dieng, C

Gorgui Dieng, C

Illustration for article titled NBA buyout market roundup: For once, you are allowed to be excited about it
Image: Getty Images

Dieng quietly could become the most effective buyout guy of anyone here.

Last season he was included in the Jae Crowder heist, landing in Memphis from Minnesota. This year he played 22 games and averaged 7.9 points, and 4.5 rebounds on 52 / 48 / 88 shooting splits in just under 17 minutes per contest. His previously massive four-year, $64 million extension, which ends this season, has outshined his production and would be a decent fit on a playoff team, depending on his role.

Dieng should draw interest from every team also considering Drummond, and his ability to stretch the floor should make him just as interesting despite having a lesser pedigree. Dieng’s offensive rating in Memphis was an absurd 127 this season, and he’s had a career-best box-plus-minus of 2.6. The 6-foot-10 Louisville alum is the non-sexy name compared to his near 7-foot buyout market peers, but could be the most effective.

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LaMarcus Aldridge, PF/C

LaMarcus Aldridge, PF/C

Illustration for article titled NBA buyout market roundup: For once, you are allowed to be excited about it
Image: Getty Images

Aldridge is reportedly all but headed to the Heat, but since that hasn’t been made official by the league or organization as of this writing, we’ll touch on him here.

UPDATE: Shams Charania reports Aldridge is going to Brooklyn.

At the end, Aldridge was just an Android charger trying to plug into an iPhone with the Spurs. He had put forth by far the worst production of his Spurs tenure, and the team had moved away from his post-ups and usage in favor of other alternatives, like fellow big man Jakob Poeltl, who took his starting spot. Still, Aldridge is averaging 13.7 points and 4.5 rebounds on 46 / 36 / 84 splits. For the Heat, who have been at or a near bottom-five rebounding team for much of the season, they’ll need more help on the boards, and Aldridge’s 6.2 boards per-36 minutes is by far the worst tally of his career. But he could still be a much-needed stretch-four beside Bam Adebayo, and you’d hope he could be re-energized enough to provide defensive upside in bursts if he’s in a limited capacity, which he probably would be.

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Otto Porter, SF/PF

Otto Porter, SF/PF

Illustration for article titled NBA buyout market roundup: For once, you are allowed to be excited about it
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I’m old enough to remember when the Nets signed Otto Porter to a max contract back in 2017 as a restricted free agent before his deal was matched by the Wizards, who subsequently traded him to Chicago less than two years later. He hasn’t been officially bought out yet by the Orlando Magic, who acquired him as part of the Nikola Vucevic deal on Thursday, but he’s expected to land on the buyout market at some point, even as the plan is to keep him on the team for now.

Porter Jr. and his $28.5 million expiring contract make zero sense for the current incarnation of the Magic rebuild and would serve as an intriguing stretch-four option for a playoff team late in the season. Though Porter has vastly underwhelmed over the course of his massive contract, he’s averaged 9.9 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 2.0 assists in just over 21 minutes per game in 25 appearances with the Bulls this season, shooting nearly 45-percent from the field and 40-percent from three, where roughly half of his attempts come from.

At 6-foot-8, he’s a 40-percent career shooter from deep and would be welcomed on teams like the 76ers, Heat, Lakers, and Nets.

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Either guy from the Victor Oladipo trade

Either guy from the Victor Oladipo trade

Illustration for article titled NBA buyout market roundup: For once, you are allowed to be excited about it
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Avery Bradley and Kelly Olynyk were the only two players Miami awarded Houston in the Oladipo trade, and neither should remain with the Rockets since they want to suck.

Olynyk was mostly good with Miami this season if you watched, regularly posting positive +/- numbers alongside Bam Adebayo, and he averaged 10.0 points with a career-high 6.1 rebounds. Despite only shooting 43 / 32 / 78 this season, and his non-eye-popping numbers in general, he was an impactful player on one of the better Eastern Conference teams (when healthy) and should command interest from the usual suspects, as well as apparently the Raptors, if he hits the buyout market.

Bradley’s had a frustrating campaign, only logging 10 appearances with the Heat since joining, which was spread over two stints. Besides guards like Tyler Herro, Goran Dragic, and Kendrick Nunn, you instantly saw what Bradley could do with the Heat defensively, and he produced offensively early in the season, beginning with four-straight games of 10 or more points before being sidelined with COVID. Bradley’s late January return was short-lived, and he’s been out of action since early February due to a calf injury.

If he does get healthy before the season ends, Bradley’s lockdown perimeter defensive reputation should land him on a contender, as it did with Miami this season and the Lakers last season. In 10 games in 2020-21, Bradley averaged 8.5 points on shooting splits of 47 / 42 / 78 in 21 minutes per game.

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