The NBA’s trade deadline has officially passed, but there is still room for more player movement.
This year’s deadline was headlined by splashy moves made by the Lakers, Mavericks and Suns, who, with the acquisition of Kevin Durant, are now a favorite to win the Western Conference. As the dust settles, plenty of contenders will shift their focus to the buyout market, where historically, teams have made key improvements by adding veterans capable of contributing.
Which players will soon become available on the buyout market? Here’s a look at some of the top candidates worth keeping an eye on.
TRADE DEADLINE TRACKER: Every player, draft pick moved at the NBA’s 2023 deadline
Top NBA buyout candidates after 2022-23 trade deadline
Best fits: Bulls, Clippers
Westbrook’s time with the Lakers had more downs than ups, but the former MVP has still proven to be effective in his 15th NBA season. An early-season move to the bench has done wonders for Westbrook, who is averaging 16.2 points, 7.7 assists and 6.1 rebounds in a reserve role.
After being traded from LA to Utah, Westbrook has secured a buyout from the Jazz, making him a prime candidate to join a point-guard-needy team.
Given Westbrook’s familiarity with Paul George and his knack to provide rim pressure with his driving ability, the Clippers make a lot of sense. According to Turner Sports’ Chris Haynes, the Bulls are expected to express interest in Westbrook as they look to make a run during the final stretch of the season.
Best fits: Lakers, Wizards
Due to an abdominal injury, Wall hasn’t suited up for the Clippers since Jan. 13. While the 32-year-old has posted solid averages of 11.4 points and 5.2 assists per game this year, it hasn’t been the cleanest of fits for him in LA.
The night before the deadline, NBA insider Marc Stein reported that the Clippers sought a trade for Wall and if they could not find a deal, would buy out the former No. 1 overall pick.
At the deadline, Wall was sent to the Rockets as part of a three-team deal involving the Clippers and Grizzlies. According to Kelly Iko of The Athletic, the Rockets plan to waive Wall. Could he be a depth addition for the Lakers? Is a Wizards reunion in the cards? Wall has proven to be serviceable, but the fit must be ideal.
Best fits: Bucks, Clippers
The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported the news of the trade sending Beverley to the Magic. Per Khobi Price of the Orlando Sentinel, it is unlikely that Beverley will play for the Magic.
According to Stein, the Timberwolves are not expected to pursue a reunion with Beverley, who did have a hand in shifting the culture in Minnesota last year.
Beverley could be an option to round out Milwaukee’s guard depth while another reunion in LA shouldn’t be out of the question.
What is an NBA buyout?
The term “buyout” applies to a player that gives up a portion of his salary in order to accommodate their release from a current team.
Instead of outright waiving a player, the player, his representation and the team will negotiate the terms of the release. The player’s guaranteed salary with their previous team is reduced or eliminated altogether once they clear waivers.
Contract buyouts are most common around the deadline, but are not exclusive to the deadline. Last offseason, Wall and the Rockets reached a buyout agreement in which he accepted $40.9 million of his $47.4 million salary for the 2022-23 season in order to leave Houston.
Source: Rockets and John Wall have reached a buyout agreement, shaving $6.5 million off of his $47.4 million salary.
— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) June 28, 2022
Wall made up the difference by signing for around $6.4 million with the Clippers.