Now that the NBA trade deadline has passed, the buyout market is about to pop off. Let’s take a look at the 5 buyout candidates that can have an impact in the playoffs:
1. Tyreke Evans
Tyreke Evans is arguably having his best season ever, scoring 19.5 ppg on 49% shooting, dishing out 5 apg, and grabbing 5 rpg. With the Memphis Grizzlies in rebuild mode, all signs pointed towards Evans being moved at the trade deadline. The Grizzlies even sat Evans out their last 5 games to make sure he did not get hurt.
Evans ended up not being traded, and as we can see from Zach Lowe’s tweet, it looks like the Denver Nuggets came the closest to acquiring Evans. Ultimately the Grizzlies wanted more, so it will be interesting to see if they hold onto Evans or buy him out in the upcoming days.
If the Grizzlies do buy out Evans, I would not be surprised at all to see the Boston Celtics go all-in for him. Evans and Greg Monroe would be huge pickups for the Celtics, as it would arm them with the offensive firepower needed to compete with the Cavs. We still need to see if Evans will be bought out, but if he is, he will be the most sought-after player on this list.
2. Joe Johnson
As you can see from all the tweets above, Joe Johnson aka “Iso Joe” is going to be a hot commodity in the buyout market. Johnson was part of the Cavs three-team deal that involved them, the Jazz and the Kings. Now that Johnson is on the Kings, look for them to buy him out shortly.
While Johnson’s numbers are down this year (7.3 ppg), Johnson is still a seven-time All-Star who can provide some scoring off the bench, especially in the playoffs. Johnson is a career 16.2 ppg scorer in the playoffs, and had a great postseason last year, scoring 12.9 ppg. Boston, Cleveland, and Toronto would be teams I could see him fitting in well with as a spark off the bench.
3. Marco Belinelli
Every team needs shooting in the playoffs, and Marco Belinelli is a strong 3-point shooter that has championship experience. Belinelli is currently averaging 11.2 PPG while shooting 37 % from 3. And as you can see from the tweet above, Belinelli is going to be coveted by several contenders. Belinelli is a guy that can come in and contribute right away, and I’d love to see him end up on a team like the Golden State Warriors. Belinelli would be able to let it fly in that offense, and he’d be a perfect bench piece for them.
4. Tony Allen
Tony Allen aka the “Grindfather” has always been known for his defense. And while Allen is now 36 years old and coming off an injury, he can still be a pest on the defensive side of the ball for a good team. I would not be surprised at all to see the Oklahoma City Thunder make a run at him, especially after Andre Roberson’s season-ending injury. I am looking forward to seeing where Allen ends up, but I think he would fit in perfectly on the Thunder or the Houston Rockets.
5. Boris Diaw
Tim MacMahon said it best, but Boris Diaw is a solid, unselfish guy, who has always been loved by his teammates. Diaw spent 5 seasons with the Spurs, won a championship, and has a good relationship with Gregg Popovich. After sitting pat at the trade deadline, the San Antonio Spurs should be active in the buyout market. Diaw would fit in seamlessly with his old team.
Three other guys to keep an eye on:
Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah, Luol Deng
Marc Stein posted yesterday that the Timberwolves would try to sign Derrick Rose, reuniting him with his old Coach and father-like figure Tom Thibodeau. There have also been rumblings out of New York and Los Angeles that both teams were at least trying to move on from their Joakim Noah and Luol Deng deals. While Derrick Rose is most likely headed to Minnesota, Noah and Deng are both long shots to hit the buyout market. I personally would love (Bulls fan) the reunion/ one last run with the old gang, but let’s see how it plays out.
*According to the Collective Bargaining Agreement, a player must be bought out by March 1st if they want him to be eligible for the playoffs.