Potential buyout candidates after hectic NBA trade deadline


The NBA trade deadline has come and gone, but that doesn’t mean teams are done tweaking their rosters.

After 16 total trades were completed on Wednesday and Thursday, it’s time to look at the buyout market.

Many veteran players will be released over the coming days and weeks in cost-cutting measures for uncompetitive teams. Those veterans will subsequently become hot commodities on the open market, where contenders with open roster spots can add a final piece for the upcoming playoff run.

Here are 10 buyout candidates who could hit free agency sooner than you think:

Russell Westbrook

The former league MVP was traded by the Los Angeles Lakers to the Utah Jazz in a three-team deal. There’s no chance Westbrook ever wears a Jazz uniform, with the Chicago Bulls, Los Angeles Clippers and Miami Heat reportedly expressing interest in him on the buyout market. Westbrook averaged 15.9 points, 7.5 assists and 6.2 rebounds in 52 games with the Lakers.


John Wall

Speaking of the Clippers, they sent Wall back to the Houston Rockets for Eric Gordon in a deadline day deal. The former All-Star was with Houston from 2020 to 2022 and likely will not be returning to the Space City. He played 34 games for the Clippers this season, averaging 11.4 points and 5.2 assists.

Reggie Jackson

The Clippers dealt another point guard on Thursday, sending Jackson to the Charlotte Hornets for Mason Plumlee. A buyout for the 32-year-old guard is already in the works, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania. Jackson’s numbers declined this season, but he is one year removed from averaging 16.8 points per game.

Patrick Beverley

Make that four Los Angeles point guards who were traded this week. The Lakers traded Beverley to the Orlando Magic for Mo Bamba. As a hard-nosed defender, the veteran guard would likely receive interest from contenders if the Magic buy him out.

George Hill

Hill’s playing time with the Milwaukee Bucks dwindled this season before he was traded to the Indiana Pacers in a three-team deal for Jae Crowder on Thursday. The 36-year-old guard played for Indiana from 2011 to 2016, but the Pacers don’t have much value for him with a roster full of young players.


Serge Ibaka

In the same deal as Hill, Ibaka was also shipped from Milwaukee to Indiana. The Bucks traded for Ibaka at the deadline last year, but he was never able to crack their rotation. Ibaka has played in just 16 games this season, averaging 4.1 points and 2.8 rebounds. The Pacers reportedly will waive Ibaka once the trade is completed.

Danny Green

Just when Green returned from injury, the Grizzlies traded him to the Rockets as part of a three-team deal. Even though he’s still getting back to full strength, the 35-year-old Green is a proven NBA veteran. He was part of championship teams with the Spurs, Raptors and Lakers.

Justin Holiday

The third player listed in this story who was traded to the Rockets on Thursday, Holiday probably has more value than Wall or Green. He’s 33 years old, 6-foot-6, shoots it around league average from 3 and plays capable defense. If the Rockets dump Holiday to open minutes, plenty of contenders could come calling.

Nerlens Noel

This one has been brewing for weeks. Noel has played sparingly for the Pistons this season, offering very little for a team in the midst of a rebuild. After the team traded for former Warriors center James Wiseman, the 6-foot-11 Noel is a prime buyout candidate.

Terrence Ross

The longest-tenured Orlando Magic player might finally be on his way out. Ross, who was traded to the Magic in 2017, could be bought out to clear minutes for all of their talented young wings. This season, Ross is averaging 8.0 points on 38.1% shooting from deep in 22.5 minutes per game.