Just because the trade deadline is over, it doesn’t mean that the NBA is done moving its players. The buyout deadline is March 1, which means we have plenty of time to see a flurry of movement from players in the league. From veterans to players seeking one last chance to prove their worth, there will be executives monitoring all the situations.
These are several players that come to mind who are either on the buyout market or available through free agency. These players range from past draft duds to veterans looking to move on from rebuilding teams to joining contenders. Keep an eye out for these players and rumors surrounding their future. Contending and rebuilding teams could reaching out before the signing deadline on March 1st.
There could be one player that plays for four teams this season and that is Juancho Hernangomez. On August 24, he began the season with the Timberwolves. He then was traded to the Grizzlies for Patrick Beverley. Then, three weeks later, he was traded to the Celtics in a deal involving Kris Dunn and Carsen Edwards. Then on January 19, he was traded to the Spurs in a three-team deal with the Nuggets. On February 9, he was traded to the Jazz in another three-team deal.
Now, he could be bought out. That’s a lot of movement for someone averaging 5.3 points per game in his career. In the 2019-2020 season, he showed his best stuff in 14 games by averaging 12.9 points and 7.3 rebounds. From what we can tell, he is a third option at center on the depth chart. A team needing frontcourt depth could be giving him a call. This could be the final straw for him too as he is rumored to make a return to the EuroLeague.
Best Destinations: Cleveland Cavaliers, Detroit Pistons
When the Spurs traded for Satoransky, they picked up a second-round pick in the deal with the Pelicans. Satoransky will not play a game for the Spurs, who are riding on their younger players. There is simply no room for a 30-year old veteran on and up and coming team.
In 32 games, Satoransky averaged 2.8 points in 15 minutes of action. He is a career 35.6% shooter from three-point range but is shooting once his worst averages this season. He is capable of consistency if you look back at his 43% average with the Bulls in 2019-2020. However, he is merely a third option for a deeper team.
Best Destinations: Boston Celtics, Charlotte Hornets
The former No. 9 overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft hasn’t found a way to make it work in the NBA. It’s an unfortunate sight, but the kid is 22 years old. He has been traded once this season, a deal that saw the Knicks trade him to the Hawks. Since joining, he has played in eight games and averaged 2.0 points per game in 7.1 minutes of action.
The Hawks probably don’t see Knox as a member of the future. With that said, he could benefit from playing with a team like this. Either way, his future is a coin flip. If he does get cut, a team that has been stockpiling younger players is the Oklahoma City Thunder. He could get a “try-out” the rest of the season to prove he belongs in this league. The same goes for the Pelicans, who just traded away Nickiel Walker-Alexander.
Best Destinations: Oklahoma City Thunder, New Orleans Pelicans
There was some speculation that Bazemore was going to be moved at the deadline, but he stayed with the team. It didn’t affect the team regardless as Bazemore has already lost his spot in the rotation. At this point, it’s freeing up a roster spot, so that the Lakers can make a move to acquire somebody else.
Bazemore is 32 years old and his $2.4 salary comes off the books in a few months. Bazemore is averaging 3.7 points per game, which is the lowest for his career since 2013-2014 with the Warriors. Last year, Bazemore shot 40% from three-point range, but never found his spot with the Lakers. A return to the Atlanta Hawks, where he played five seasons would be ideal.
Best Destinations: Atlanta Hawks, Toronto Raptors
We are not sure what Orlando was thinking when they were asking for a first-round pick in exchange for the 33-year old veteran. You can’t fault the effort though, but what executive in their right mind would have dished that out for a player averaging 7.7 points and 3.6 rebounds? Instead, it appears the veteran is set to become a free agent very soon.
Lopez has played in 27 games but should be given some credit for reinvigorating his game like his older brother Brook. Lopez is shooting 40% from three-point range. Add a backup rim protector that can add one three-pointer a night, and you are talking about a quality backup player.
Best Destinations: Phoenix Suns, Denver Nuggets
Hood went from playing about 15 minutes per night with a championship contender in Milwaukee to watching his playing time slashed in half. In two games with the Clippers, Hood has played 7.0 minutes and has not taken a shot from three-point range. That has to be a problem for someone that had sights on winning a championship.
This partnership doesn’t feel like it is going to play out very well, especially if this trend continues. Hood could ask for a buyout and join a team that needs shooting. After all, Norman Powell was acquired at the deadline, and Hood are similar players with one being better than the other. A real “get back at you” move would be if Hood joined a top team in the East like the Bulls. Hood would be a solid wing option to pair with DeMar DeRozan to complete the roster.
Best Destinations: Chicago Bulls, Miami Heat
Dieng was a part of the Spurs bench last season and averaged 5.3 points and 2.6 rebounds in 16 games. On August 9, 2021, he signed a deal with the Hawks. From there, he has played in 37 games, averaged 9.0 minutes per game, scored 3.6 points, and added 3.0 rebounds. With the Hawks sitting on the No. 10 seed in the East, the team could look to the buyout market themselves and try to add a veteran postman.
One team that makes a lot of sense is the Memphis Grizzlies. While Steven Adams has the position locked down, his backup has been Brandon Clarke, who is a power forward at best. While small ball has been working for the third-best team in the West, it would be nice to have a bigger option at center. Dieng is three inches taller and has close to 25 more pounds of weight than Clarke.
Best Destinations: Memphis Grizzlies, Minnesota Timberwolves
It’s been about a year since the Nets traded DeAndre Jordan to the Detroit Pistons, who were subsequently bought out. Jordan then joined the Lakers. This season, Jordan is averaging just 12.9 minutes per game, which is the lowest of his career. The Lakers are floundering this season and the team could look to make an upgrade to the roster at the expense of cutting Jordan.
The move that makes the most sense is Jordan joining the Suns on a low contract. Jordan has never played in the NBA Finals. The duo of Jordan and Chris Paul came up short during their tenure with the Clippers. If Jordan isn’t going to play a lot this year, he might as well give some veteran advice to Deandre Ayton, who is almost like a younger and more improved version of himself.
Best Destinations: Phoenix Suns, Minnesota Timberwolves
The Brooklyn Nets had to make a move and they did exactly that by acquiring Ben Simmons. It required the team to trade Paul Millsap as well, which was a solid move for the veteran. The former four-time All-Star was not getting the playing time he expected, hovering around 11.3 minutes per game.
Millsap is likely going to become available after the 76ers buy him out. Last summer, he had interest from the Warriors, Lakers, and Bulls before choosing the Nets. While he is not playing like his All-Star days, he can provide a solid presence in the middle that shot 48% from the field between 2010 and 2021. Given that the Bulls signed Tristan Thompson and the Lakers are floundering, the Warriors could be his best fit.
Best Destinations: Golden State Warriors, Dallas Mavericks
Remember when Schroder turned down a four-year, $94 million extension from the Los Angeles Lakers? He is probably wishing he took that now after taking a one-year deal with the Boston Celtics, only to be shipped to the Houston Rockets with no playoffs in sight. Schroder’s tenure will likely be short as the rebuilding Rockets will buy him out.
There is a chance he could return to the Lakers to try and prove himself again. The Lakers could certainly use the help. He also has value after averaging 14.4 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 4.2 assists with the Celtics. The Bulls reportedly nearly tried to acquire Schroder at the deadline and missed. They could make an enticing offer to add him to the team for money instead of draft picks.
Best Destinations: Chicago Bulls, Los Angeles Lakers
Bledsoe was more of a bandaid in Portland. With both CJ McCollum and Damian Lillard battling injuries this season, he did his best to fill the shoes, which are impossible to fill. Bledsoe could stay with Portland and finish the season. The Trail Blazers have a lot of money to spend next offseason and he could be enticed to try and play a one-year deal next year.
With that said, his 2022-2023 contract is not fully guaranteed. It would make sense to buy him out now if he has no plans to play for the Trail Blazers. One team that makes sense to join would be the New York Knicks. While it would be one bad team to another, Bledsoe could potentially help fix the guard situation for New York, which has been an absolute nightmare this season.
Best Destinations: New York Knicks, Boston Celtics
At some point, something's gotta give. We understand there is a lot of money left on that contract, but what do Wall and the Rockets want? There is absolutely no reason the Rockets should be hanging onto Wall at this point. The team is seriously rebuilding and the team is not going to find a trade partner for a player that has not played this year and has a $40 million price tag.
The move to trade Russell Westbrook for Wall was a risky one, but it’s time to bite the bullet and acknowledge it failed. The Rockets are looking to the future. Wall can still give a contender quality backup minutes. Last year, he averaged 20.6 points and 6.9 assists. Having that lead your bench down the stretch could be very useful. With Ricky Rubio going down, adding Wall for an offensive burst could help the Cavaliers contend for a No. 1 seed.
Best Destinations: Cleveland Cavaliers, Chicago Bulls