Eight top buyout candidates following the 2023 NBA trade deadline
The trade deadline is awash with high-profile rumors, with fan bases across the continent dreaming of All-Star acquisitions. It also brings a surge of NBA buyout candidates in 2023, either with players looking for an opportunity on a winning team or franchises keen to move on veterans after failing to land a deal.
The NBA buyout market can provide useful depth for contending teams and open up minutes for young players on rebuilding ballclubs.
Best NBA buyout candidates in 2023
The Play-In Tournament has decreased the number of teams who could be buying out their veterans. Some options are still out there, however. We have picked out a few of the top buyout candidates this winter.
Far from the sexiest of NBA buyout candidates in 2023, Cory Joseph has seen his minutes fluctuate off the bench for the Detroit Pistons this season. The Toronto native shot over 40% from three last season, but has endured a poor outside shooting campaign in 2022-23, which could put off potential suitors if he is bought out.
On the other hand, Joseph has the highest assist rate and one of the lowest turnover marks of his career. The Pistons are 6.4 points per 100 possessions better with him on the floor.
Teams looking for some steady point guard minutes off the bench could show some interest, with the Lakers, Clippers and Raptors as possible landing spots.
Owed a shade under $12.2 million for this season, Josh Richardson is reportedly available for a second-round pick, but matching that salary could be tricky for stacked contending teams.
Richardson is no stranger to playoff action from his time with the Heat and Sixers. A 6’5 wing with the quickness to matchup with most lead guards, he can do a little bit of shot creation off the dribble, and hits threes at a decent rate (just under 37% at the time of writing).
If the Spurs can’t find a trade and opt for a buyout, there will be no shortage of suitors. Most contenders could benefit from adding Richardson – Memphis, Cleveland and Dallas look the best fits.
Shooting over 40% from three for a third consecutive season, Alec Burks is perfect for a team looking for a bench scoring option. The trouble for Detroit, though, is a $10 million per season salary, including a team option for 2023-24. Figuring out a trade will be tricky.
While Burks has been a staple of the Pistons’ rotation, a buyout could make sense here. Detroit is focused on the Victor Wembanyama sweepstakes, and at 31 years old, Burks is surely keen to play postseason basketball this spring.
Burks’ use to a contender will be matchup dependent, but that injection of offence off the bench could swing a playoff game or two.
The Pistons are at the center of the 2023 NBA buyout market (learn more about how buyouts work here). Not only do they have one of the best players available ahead of the trade deadline in Bojan Bogdanovic, Detroit also has a collection of veterans who could be useful to playoff-bound teams.
Nerlens Noel has amassed a grand total of 148 minutes in 2022-23 (as of January 25th). Behind Jalen Duren and Isaiah Stewart in the pecking order, few players are as well-suited to a buyout as Noel. His contract includes a team option for next season at just under $10 million, so the Pistons just need to come to an agreement for the remaining money this season.
A lack of minutes over the last couple of seasons might put off some suitors. It isn’t long ago that Noel was an above-average rim protector, though. He could provide some solid backup five minutes for a team like the Clippers or Nuggets.
It is a bit of a reach to pick Gordon Hayward as one of the NBA buyout candidates in 2023. Hayward is still a productive player when healthy, and Charlotte surely aren’t going to buy him out of a contract which pays him north of $30 million in 2023-24.
Even for the NBA, Hayward being bought out would be pretty weird. This is more of a name to keep an eye on in the summer or at the 2024 trade deadline when the former Celtic could be the most sought after of all buyout candidates.
Featured in trade rumors throughout the Magic’s rebuild, Terrence Ross hasn’t been moved, and with an $11.5 million contract, contenders will be reluctant to make a deal before the deadline. Ross is a free-agent-to-be, and has averaged just eight points per game this season (his lowest mark since his rookie year).
Orlando’s backcourt is getting healthier, shunting Ross further down the queue for minutes. A below-average defender, Ross doesn’t fill the three-and-D need of many competing teams, but he is shooting 45% on corner threes and can get his own in short bursts.
A bit of microwave scoring, as mentioned with Burks, can be a nice X-factor in the postseason.
Making just over a quarter of his threes, Bryn Forbes has fallen out of the Timberwolves’ rotation. Minnesota do not fit the blueprint for most buyout-agreeing teams, but it makes sense for Forbes to pursue opportunities elsewhere.
A knockdown shooter for his career, making almost 41% of his outside shots, Forbes can inject some offence around star talent, as he has with both Giannis Antetokounmpo and Nikola Jokic in the past.
Unfortunately, being a liability on defense can outweigh the shooting when the lights are brightest. Forbes’ shooting could intrigue some front offices, but he has his work cut out to make a playoff rotation.
Synonymous with veteran leadership and toughness, James Johnson has morphed into the Udonis Haslem/Andre Iguodala role over the last few seasons. Indiana is still in a playoff spot, but with Tyrese Haliburton injured, they could allow Johnson to explore the free agent market and slot at the end of a contender’s bench.
The Cheyenne native wouldn’t be the first late-thirties player to join a title challenger in a part-coach, part-cheerleader role.