• Nick Boylan

Best NBA Buyouts Still Available

The buyout market has been a haven for contenders looking to add last pieces to their rotations before embarking on another postseason run. While not some of the most glamorous players, these top six buyout candidates are still able to make an impact in reserve minutes for a number of teams chasing an NBA Championship.

With Wesley Matthews going to Indiana, Wayne Ellington joining the Detroit Pistons, Shelvin Mack joining the Charlotte Hornets and Jeremy Lin set to join the Toronto Raptors, some of the more attractive guards have been taken off the board. As a result, many of the best candidates left are frontcourt rotation players hoping to make a difference.

1. Robin Lopez

Sporting News

The most versatile buyout candidate available, and one of the more easily insertable players on this list, Lopez has been linked with joining the defending champion Golden State Warriors since Marc Stein of the New York Times discussed the fit in December.

A solid rotation big who does a little bit of everything well, Lopez is averaging 6.2 points, almost 1 block and 3 rebounds per night in a limited 17 minutes per night, and would fit great into any contender needing a versatile big man.

So far Lopez hasn’t asked for a buyout, with Bulls vice president John Paxson confirming there are no plans to let Lopez go. If Lopez is able to make his way out of Chicago, the Warriors are the #1 option for him to go to, bolstering their thin big-man rotation.

Potential Destinations: Golden State Warriors, Toronto Raptors, Philadelphia 76ers

2. Markieff Morris

NBC Sports

A very different kind of frontcourt asset, Markieff Morris was waived from his new home in New Orleans, and would be an immediate boost to any contender looking for a shooting big man. Previously out with a neck injury, Morris has been cleared to return, with Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes reporting the 29-year old is being sought after by the Lakers, Rockets and Raptors to add some frontcourt shooting.

Morris’ 3-point percentage is down this year to 33 percent from almost 37 percent last year, but is still a reliable threat from beyond the arc, ably suited to starting or coming off the bench.

Potential Destinations: Los Angeles Lakers, Toronto Raptors, Houston Rockets, Portland Trail Blazers, Boston Celtics

3. Michael Beasley

USA Today

Another instant offense player, Beasley was recently waived by the Los Angeles Clippers and so far, hasn’t drawn any reported interest from playoff teams, but can still play a role. While a ball-stopping wing in the vein of another player on this list, Beasley can still be a source of offense for a second-unit in need of a scoring punch.

Averaging a career low 7 points albeit in an equally career low 10.7 minutes per game, teams would be hoping they get something closer to the Beasley who played in New York last season, particularly in terms of 3-point shooting. This year Beasley’s 3-point shooting mark is at a lowly 18 percent compared to 39 percent during his sole season as a Knick in 2017-18.

There are a number of teams that could use Beasley’s services in their wing rotation, with Portland or OKC suitable fits due to their thin rotation on the perimeter, so the 2008 #2 pick could find his way onto a playoff roster soon.

Potential Destinations: Portland Trail Blazers, Oklahoma City Thunder, Golden State Warriors

4. Marcin Gortat

NBC Sports

Gortat joins Kanter in a tier of big men below leading buyout candidate Lopez, but Gortat’s production is significantly more limited production than the double-double machine Kanter, and has age catching up to him at 34-years old.

The Polish Hammer has been blunter this season with the Los Angeles Clippers, with coach Doc Rivers typically closing games with the younger and quicker Montrezl Harrell. Despite the limited action for Gortat this season, with his 16 minutes per night his lowest average since the first half of the 2010-11 season for Orlando, Gortat can still offer some solid play as a third center.

Letting the Golden State Warriors that he’s interested in joining the defending champions, the Warriors may see the veteran as a back-up plan if Lopez isn’t available.

Potential Destinations: Golden State Warriors, Philadelphia 76ers, Oklahoma City Thunder

5. Frank Kaminsky

USA Today

After not finding any suitors for the 4th-year big man former Wisconsin Badger, Sean Deveney of Sporting News reported that Frank Kaminsky is a buyout candidate. In coach James Borrego’s first season, Kaminsky’s playing time has dropped from 23 minutes per night last season, to a mere 11 minutes this season, logging 11 DNPs in Charlotte’s first 16 games.

Only last season Kaminsky averaged 11 points on 38 percent shooting from 3-point range, showing he can still be a stretch-forward option. Like several options on this list, Kaminsky isn’t the greatest defender, but only turning 26 in April, he still has room for growth, so picking up the 7”0 shooter could be a shrewd move for several teams.

Potential Destinations: Oklahoma City Thunder, Toronto Raptors, Los Angeles Lakers, Utah Jazz, Philadelphia 76ers

6. Carmelo Anthony

Detroit Free Press

It’s quite a fall from grace when a player of Carmelo Anthony’s pedigree is not putting the buyout market in a frenzy, but that’s the position Anthony finds himself in; struggling to find a team in the NBA wanting his services.

After not working out for the Thunder or the Rockets, there only seems to be a potential spot for Anthony on the Lakers to partner up with LeBron James. However, a team like Portland could do with his scoring services, who have courted Anthony before he decided to sign with Oklahoma City in the 2017 offseason.

While only playing 10 games for the Rockets this season, he did score 20 points and above in 3 of those, highlighted by a 28-point night on 9 of 12 shooting and 6 of 9 from 3-point range.

This could be Anthony’s last chance in the NBA, and while the ball-stopper brings with him a poor recent history, as a wing player who you can give 10-15 minutes a night to score, there are worse options than adding the 10 time All Star.

Potential Destinations: Los Angeles Lakers, Portland Trail Blazers

All stats courtesy of NBA Official Stats and Basketball Reference

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