The 2022 NBA trade deadline has come and gone, and the likes of
James Harden, Ben Simmons, CJ McCollum, Domantas Sabonis, Tyrese
Haliburton and Kristaps Porzingis each found themselves with new
However, for those teams that weren’t as fortunate, there will
still be opportunity to improve. Impact players often become
available on the buyout market, and this year is no exception.
As of Friday morning, there were reports of a few players
already having been waived, and in the right situation, they may be
able to help a playoff contender.
DeAndre Bembry, pending free agent
With injuries to Kevin Durant and James Harden, as well as the
issue with Kyrie Irving’s part-time availability, DeAndre Bembry
emerged as a fairly reliable two-way player for Steve Nash. The
six-year pro made a name for himself as a member of the Atlanta
Hawks before eventually joining the Nets last August.
Bembry was waived by the club after it agreed to terms with the
Philadelphia 76ers on the trade that sent Ben Simmons, Seth Curry
and Andre Drummond to Brooklyn in exchange for James Harden and
Gary Harris, Orlando Magic
Still quite productive, Harris can help a contending team.
Orlando still owes him slightly less than half of his $20.5 million
salary for the remainder of the season, but if the team isn’t
planning on re-signing him over the summer, a buyout is a
possibility. Bleacher Report's Jake Fischer reported that Harris
may be bought out, which led to our Nekias Duncan breaking down possible landing spots
Whether or not Harris hits the market likely boils down to how
much of his salary he would be willing to give up to secure his
freedom and latch on with a contender. This season, Harris has
averaged 11.7 points, while shooting 44.4% from the field, 38.8%
from three and 84.4% from the free-throw line.
Goran Dragic, San Antonio Spurs
The 14-year veteran spent six years with the Miami Heat before
being traded to the Toronto Raptors in the sign-and-trade agreement
that landed Kyle Lowry in South Beach, and he appeared in only five
games for Toronto before being traded to San Antonio for Thaddeus
Young on deadline day.
San Antonio — who also traded Derrick White to the Boston
Celtics on deadline day — appears content with newly-minted
All-Star Dejounte Murray, Keldon White, Devin Vassell and Lonnie
Walker patrolling the perimeter. There’s very little chance Dragic
would play much in San Antonio and probably even less chance that
he remains long-term. The Dallas Mavericks are considered the
favorite to add Dragic if he's bought out.
Dennis Schroder, Houston Rockets
After just 49 games, Schroder was traded by the Boston Celtics
to Houston in a trade that saw Daniel Theis reunited with his
Just last year, Schroder famously turned down a four-year deal
from the Los Angeles Lakers worth up to $84 million. He eventually
signed with Boston for $5.9 million.
Having been dealt to the Rockets, Schroder would seem a likely
candidate for a buyout. The remaining salary due to him is
relatively cheap, the Rockets are rebuilding and have turned their
offense over to Kevin Porter Jr. Schroder himself should know that
a big contract this offseason will only result from helping a team
go on a deep playoff run.
Tristan Thompson, Indiana Pacers
Included in the trade that saw Tyrese Haliburton sent to the
Indiana Pacers in exchange for Domantas Sabonis, Tristan Thompson
has proved in spurts this season that he can still be somewhat
Teams thinking about winning the Eastern Conference will need to
have at least a few big bodies to present resistance to the likes
of Giannis Antetokounmpo, Joel Embiid, Nikola Vucevic, Bam Adebayo
and Kevin Durant.
To that end, the 30-year-old big man — who is in the final year
of a contract paying him about $9.2 million — would probably rather
relocate to a playoff contender that will offer him more minutes
and a chance to compete than the Pacers will.
Robin Lopez, Orlando Magic
With Mo Bamba and Wendell Carter Jr. showing flashes this
season, Lopez has often been the odd man out in head coach Jamahl
Mosley’s rotation. For the same reasons as Thompson, Lopez will
likely become a buyout candidate.
DeAndre Jordan, Los Angeles Lakers
Jordan secured a buyout from the Detroit Pistons after the
Brooklyn Nets dealt him to the Motor City in September. A return to
Los Angeles made sense at the time, but with Stanley Johnson now
commanding rotation minutes, there’s barely enough minutes for
Dwight Howard, much less Jordan.
Jordan has appeared in just four contests since Christmas, so
unless head coach Frank Vogel suddenly has a change of heart and
believes the key to turning around the Lakers’ season is playing
bigger lineups, it’s difficult to imagine Jordan being happy with
Kent Bazemore, Los Angeles Lakers
Similar to Jordan, Bazemore has struggled to find a fit on this
Lakers team. After beginning the season as a starter, he’s played
62 total minutes since Dec. 19.
The Lakers were obviously unable to make a trade on deadline
day, so the team’s only hope for external improvement will come on
the buyout market.
The only problem is that Los Angeles already has 15 guaranteed
contracts on its books, meaning someone would have to be waived in
order for the team to add another player. Like Jordan, Bazemore would
seem a sensible candidate.
Michael Carter-Williams, pending free agent
The former Rookie of the Year saw his tenure with the Orlando
Magic end when the Magic executed a trade with the Boston Celtics.
Boston sent Bol Bol and PJ Dozier to Orlando along with a future
second-round draft pick and cash. The move amounted to a salary
dump for Boston, and Orlando got cash and the pick as their
The only issue? Orlando had to create the two roster spots in
order to complete the transaction, which led to Carter-Williams and
teammate E’Twaun Moore being waived. The 30-year-old started 25 of
his 31 games for the Magic this season, averaging 8.8 points, 4.5
rebounds, 4.2 assists and 0.8 steals.
E'Twaun Moore, pending free agent
Like his teammate Carter-Williams, Moore was waived as a result
of the aforementioned transaction with the Celtics.
At 31 years old, Moore — whose most productive years were as a
member of the New Orleans Pelicans — no longer fit in with the
youth movement in Orlando.
Nearly every season, contending teams manage to land a player or
two who secures a post-deadline buyout. In order for a player
to be eligible to suit up in the playoffs, however, they must be
waived by March 1 and rostered by another team by April 11.
So for those teams that didn’t have the good fortune of landing
an impact on deadline day, they'll shift their focus to the buyout
All hope, obviously, is not lost.
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