With the trade deadline right around the corner, that also means buyout season is right there with it.
Acquiring a player from a buyout could be a season-changing ordeal, whether it be picking up the three-point specialist your team has desperately needed, or maybe grabbing a backup big man to conserve a star’s minutes as the season wears on.
Buyouts are a little confusing, so let me briefly break it down.
Buyouts allow a team and player to split up after the two agree on a dollar amount that both sides are happy with giving up and taking, respectively.
Candidates for this are usually old players on bad teams, players unhappy with their playing time, or just players who don’t fit in the team’s long-term plans.
With that in mind, let’s look at some players who might end up in the buyout market that could really change a team’s season.
It’s tough to say whether we’ll see Kanter on the buyout market, but it could make sense for both sides. He’s a double-double machine despite only playing 26 minutes a night and coming off the bench for a little over half of his appearances this season.
Kanter supplies some of the worst defense in the NBA, but for a contending team looking for depth, you could do a whole lot worse than ending up with him.
Now, the Knicks will likely try to receive some sort of compensation for him, as they should. Of the candidates in this post, Kanter is the most likely one teams will want to trade for.
Every now and then we see him largely impact games on the offensive end and on the glass, and talents like him don’t often land on the buyout market.
The Knicks have to view it like this: if they’re not getting any future assets back for him, wouldn’t it just be better to buy him out? Why trade him for a vet who might actually help win some games and take up cap space while doing it?
You’re already 10-32, he’s going to walk in the offseason anyway, and you’re in the hunt for a potential franchise-altering player in Zion Williamson – why not just go all in?
So while Kanter is still a decent piece, the Knicks have to look at just cutting their losses and look towards the future if the right price isn’t there.
Any team would take a 14-point, 11-rebound a game player for the right price and he could become an impactful bench piece on a playoff team, making him one name to keep an eye on as we get closer.
Like the Knicks, the Hawks are in thick of the race for first overall and I can’t imagine a 30-year-old Jeremy Lin is interested in yet another year with no playoff aspirations.
Lin has spent the whole season behind Atlanta’s new prodigal son Trae Young and it really doesn’t make sense to keep him around.
Like Kanter, Lin is an unrestricted free agent after this year and it’s tough to envision either side thinking he’s a long-term asset for the Hawks.
The team is too far away from competing and Lin might be retired by the time we see home-court advantage in State Farm Arena again.
The Stinger breaks down Jeremy Lin's strong first half. pic.twitter.com/8pb5HyXmPR
— FOX Sports: Hawks (@HawksOnFSSE) January 9, 2019
It’s not Linsanity level, but 11 points off the bench on pretty good shooting splits just one year removed from a season-ending knee injury might be a sign that he’s got a little bit left in the tank.
Present-day Lin isn’t lighting the world on fire by any means, but grabbing a veteran point guard who can control the game and, more importantly, not lose you a game could be huge for a team that’s missing such a piece (cough Philly cough).
If he’s not traded, look for contenders to be all-in on Lin.
After bouncing around teams for his first four seasons with nothing to show for it, Dedmon has turned into a decent little piece for Atlanta. Like Lin, however, Dedmon is almost in his 30’s and does not fit Atlanta’s timeline.
No one’s giving up anything of value for a guy whose prime has been 10 points and seven rebounds, and teams are smart enough to know he’ll likely be a buyout if no one makes a move, so you can expect him to end up in the open market.
Dewayne Dedmon gets the 2 and a well-earned bonus. pic.twitter.com/5SreihIxYP
— FOX Sports: Hawks (@HawksOnFSSE) January 7, 2019
There’s not a ton of quality centers in the league, so grabbing a guy who can give you some decent minutes off the bench on both sides of the ball would definitely be attractive for many of these teams.
Oh and also, if any Eastern Conference teams are looking for a Kyrie stopper, Dedmon is your man.
Please get Robin Lopez off of the Bulls. He’s not the player he once was, but he also cannot be the player he currently looks like.
After six straight years of never coming off the bench, Lopez has spent the whole year coming off the pine.
😂 Steph and KD cracking up at Robin Lopez’s shot celebration!
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) January 12, 2019
The Bulls, as they should be, are focusing on playing their young guys in Lauri Markkanen, Bobby Portis, and Wendell Carter Jr., and there’s just no reason to keep a vet like him trapped on a team a couple years away.
You’re probably not going to see any teams actively looking to trade for him unless he ends up as some sort of throw in, so his fate appears to lie in the buyout market.
The NBA and its fans deserve to see Robin Lopez bully a team’s mascot in the playoffs, and it would truly be a tragedy if the Bulls didn’t comply with that.
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) December 30, 2018
It’ll be interesting to see who if any of these guys end’s up bought out. Buyout season always seems to furnish a couple teams with a valuable veteran asset, so expect more of the same this year as contending teams look for any piece that can further elevate their championship chances.