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.