With March 1st the deadline for players to get bought out and still be eligible for the playoffs, I thought it would be fun to go through each team and pick the likeliest candidate. In most cases, it’s not happening…..but, please, don’t let that stop you from reading.
ATLANTA HAWKS: Anthony Morrow WAS my choice here, but he was luckily traded to Dallas last week. If I have to pick one, I’ll say center Johan Petro. The team acquired Jeremy Tyler before the deadline and also have Zaza Pachulia ahead of him in the rotation. That being said, this is very unlikely……oh well, I tried.
BROOKLYN NETS: Kris Humphries is not getting a buyout, not with his contract that has another year at $12 million on it. Humph, and his entourage, will be packaged this summer…or next trade deadline.
BOSTON CELTICS: The Celtics barely have enough players to field a roster, buyouts just aren’t their thing. Not this year. But, if I have to pick a guy…the disappointing duo of Courtney Lee and Jason Terry are neck-n-neck.
CHARLOTTE BOBCATS: Even though he just arrived via trade, I think Josh McRoberts should strongly consider asking for a buyout. Okay, seriously, it has to be the insubordinate Ben Gordon. But why would GM Rod Higgins buy him out just so he can go join a playoff team? He won’t. Ben will stay put, and sit on the bench, until this summer…when Charlotte can try and get something for him.
CHICAGO BULLS: I don’t see the Bulls buying out anyone, seeing that they’re just trying to keep the roster breathing till Derrick Rose returns. That being said, I think Vladimir Radmanovic should ask for a buyout…..the Euroleague playoffs are right around the corner.
CLEVELAND CAVALIERS: It has to be Luke Walton, here. Sure, his contract is expiring anyways, but Luke may decide that he wants to jump onto a contender this Spring…..assuming his back allows him to even think about it.
DALLAS MAVERICKS: Dominique Jones should, but won’t, ask for a buyout. Not that he’s likely to join a contender, but he may join a young team actually trying to build something…unlike the mercenary-laden Mavs that are just waiting for July 1st (again).
DENVER NUGGETS: Timofey Mozgov was shopped hard prior to the deadline to no avail. I’m sure he’s hoping for a buyout to go elsewhere, but it isn’t in Denver’s best interests to let this seven-footer walk for nothing.
DETROIT PISTONS: Charlie Villanueva anyone? Nah, Detroit wouldn’t save much on a buyout anyways. The Pistons will stay as is.
GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS: Andris Biedrins is the first name that comes to mind, but no word on if it’s even being discussed. I guess the damage has already been done by Biedrins’ contract…..and it’s not like any other playoff team would want him anyways.
INDIANA PACERS: Um, D.J. Augustin, I guess. The former lottery pick is one bad game away from heading to the D-League. But his agent is probably telling him he’s one good game away from another starting gig…..outside Indiana, of course. It’s unlikely, but worth throwing out there.
HOUSTON ROCKETS: Francisco Garcia just came over from Sacramento in the Thomas Robinson trade. He should ask Kevin McHale if he plans on utilizing him…if not, ‘Sisco’ could be a valuable combo guard for a contender (San Antonio, and their fans, would love him).
LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS: I’m not saying Willie Green will ask for a buyout, but he has every right to. He started at SG for the Clippers while Chauncey Billups was out, due to Jamal Crawford’s inability to be efficient in a starting lineup. Since Chauncey has returned, Willie has barely played. Even Chicago’s former doormat, Keith Bogans, thinks that’s crumby.
LOS ANGELES LAKERS: Devin Ebanks is the only guy I can think of here, just based on his nightly ‘bitter beer face’ while sitting in Mike D’Antoni’s doghouse. But it ain’t happening. The Lakers will keep this young asset for future trade/doghouse purposes.
MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES: The likliest guy to seek a buyout is new acquisition Jon Leuer. But he probably doesn’t want to add another team to his NBA resume. I think Memphis has had enough transactions this year, don’t you?
MIAMI HEAT: James Jones? I mean, his chances of playing are slim to none. He is a three-point shooter backing up Mike Miller, who is backing up Ray Allen. Oh, and Shane Battier can shoot the three some to you know. Not likely, but this the name I have for you.
MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES: It’s gotta be Brandon Roy here. The former All-Star is pretty much done after chronic knee problems followed him from Portland. GM David Kahn may as well save Glen Taylor some cash, here.
MILWAUKEE BUCKS: Samuel Dalembert was suspended a game for violating team rules. Then, Yahoo’s Marc Spears reported that he will NOT be bought out by March 1st. So that takes us back to the curious case of Drew Gooden. He has suited up all season but barely played. If there is any such thing as karma, Drew will get bought out and sign with the eventual NBA champion (re-joining Lebron in Miami?).
NEW ORLEANS HORNETS: Matt Carroll is a shooter who could really help a bunch of playoff teams (can you say Memphis?). He was acquired earlier this year and has yet to make an impact. Let the former D-League star shine elsewhere, I say.
NEW YORK KNICKS: The Knicks definitely have a lot of old guys they could possibly buy out, but none of them want to leave a contender out East that just happens to play in the biggest city in the world. But, I have to pick a name, so…..Kurt Thomas. I guess.
OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER: Is it too soon to amnesty Derek Fisher? Honestly, there isn’t anyone who’d want to leave this team likely headed for Finals upon Finals runs.
ORLANDO MAGIC: Al Harrington was widely thought to be on this path every since his trade from Denver last summer. But a lingering staph infection in his knee has him (and his suitcase) idle until July.
PHILADELPHIA 76ERS: I guess the seldom-used Kwame Brown could ask for a buyout. But, with Andrew Bynum’s return still in doubt, KB is better off staying put. Life is good for a seven-footer who can walk and (or) chew gum.
PHOENIX SUNS: Former All-Star bigman Jermaine O’neal was the likeliest candidate, but he’s already said he won’t ask for a buyout to go chase a ring. I, strangely, would respect him MORE if he did.
PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS: Jared Jeffries has slipped out of the rotation as this young team (with no bench) again appears headed for the lottery. Jared should have his agent put in a call…there will be a lot interest around the league, namely the Knicks (which would be his 3rd sting there).
SACRAMENTO KINGS: This one’s easy…Travis Outlaw. After getting picked up off the amnesty wire earlier this season he has barely scratched…and that’s on the lottery-bound, knucklehead Kings. Outlaw needs to seriously ask ownership why he’s even on the roster. His length and, um, length would be a valuable asset for a lot of playoff teams.
SAN ANTONIO SPURS: Who would possibly want to leave Gregg Pop….oh, never mind. DaJuan Blair would love to punch his ticket to another city…one that has playoff aspirations. The problem is, Pop won’t give him away for nothing…despite shopping him for centuries. Sorry, DB.
TORONTO RAPTORS: As unhappy as John Lucas III is about Telfair coming to town, I think Linas Kleiza is the choice here. He’s still cashing checks from that ridiculous contract Toronto gave him when they didn’t care about defense or playing hard. The problem is, what team in their right mind would consider Kleiza a ‘good addition’?
UTAH JAZZ: I don’t see anybody getting bought out here. Maybe if Mo Williams wasn’t hurt, either Earl Watson or Jamaal Tinsley could ask for one…but they both play so sporadically. One week’s garbage minutes is another week’s crunch time. The Jazz are staying as is.
WASHINGTON WIZARDS: Okay, seriously, Jan Vesely should ask for his release. He’ll never get it, but at least it’ll send the message: I’m not a PF banger, I’m a versatile forward with highlight ability. Jan is being type-cast in an NBA role that doesn’t suit him…..real talk.