5 most likely buyout candidates

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Highlights The buyout deadline is on March 1st, allowing teams to release players who can then become free agents.
Three likely candidates for buyouts are Andre Drummond, Joe Harris, and PJ Tucker.
There are salary restrictions for teams above the tax apron, limiting some teams from signing players like Harris to a buyout.
The 2024 NBA Trade Deadline is now a thing of the past in the basketball world. It was a day of exciting activity as teams actively sought to improve their rosters by becoming partners in trade. As such, it often overshadows another important day in the NBA: the buyout market.
The buyout deadline falls on March 1 this year. That day serves as the final point at which players can be waived and essentially become free agents. This usually occurs after the Trade Deadline for players who are older and possess larger contracts.
Before the deadline, teams can choose to release players with high salaries, effectively making them free agents, and other teams have until March 1 to add them to their roster. At that point, the new players would be eligible to play for their new team in the playoffs. Coveted players like Spencer Dinwiddie and Kyle Lowry were picked up by the LA Lakers and Philadelphia 76ers this way.
With the Trade Deadline behind us, there are five candidates who appear most likely to become bought out by their current club.
Andre Drummond, Chicago Bulls
Drummond is 30 years old and is owed $3.4 million
Andre Drummond appears to be a likely buyout candidate in 2024. The 30-year-old center is owed $3.4 million through the rest of this season. The Chicago Bulls have not had a great season, but Drummond has proven to be a great player on the squad. It was rumored that Chicago would be seeking multiple second-round picks for him, but if that doesn’t occur, he could be bought out.
Andre Drummond – 2023-24 Rebounding Stats Categories Stats Rebounding Frequency % 97.3 OREB 3.3 DREB 5.5 Contested OREB 2.4 Contested DREB 1.8 Contested REB % 50.5
Drummond has shone as one of the better backup centers in the league this season. If the Bulls decide not to trade him at the deadline, a world exists where he could be beneficial to multiple teams. If that is the case, the Bulls might decide to buy him out, allowing him to land on another team. However, the Bulls currently find themselves in a play-in tournament spot, and if they feel they could make a postseason push, Drummond will remain with the Bulls through the rest of this season.
Joe Harris, Detroit Pistons
Harris is 32 years old and is owed $19.9 million
The Detroit Pistons, plain and simple, are not contenders in 2024. They currently sit at the bottom of the Eastern Conference with a 7-43 record. They have already pulled the trigger on Trade Deadline day with a massive deal, shipping Alec Burks and Bojan Bogdanovic to the Knicks for Quentin Grimes, Evan Fournier, and a couple of draft picks.
Joe Harris simply did not see much playing time with the Pistons. He is 32 years old and is owed almost $20 million for this season. However, he is still a solid bench player who can nail threes, which is something most teams could always use. With a handful of younger players on the squad, Harris does not fit well on the current Pistons squad, and they could decide to buy him out. The only caveat with Harris is that his salary is too high for any teams above the tax apron.
Joe Harris – 2022-23 Shooting Stats Shot Area FGA FG% Mid-Range 22 40.9 Left Corner 3 43 51.2 Right Corner 3 53 43.4 Above the Break 3 236 41.1
Essentially, the new CBA ruled that teams above the first tax apron are ineligible to sign any player whose salary was above the Non-Taxpayer MLE equivalent, or over $12.4 million. Those teams are the Denver Nuggets, Boston Celtics, Miami Heat, Los Angeles Clippers, Golden State Warriors, Phoenix Suns, and Milwaukee Bucks. Therefore, Harris could not join any of those teams.
PJ Tucker, Los Angeles Clippers
Tucker is 38 years old and is owed $11 million, with a player option
PJ Tucker is potentially the most likely candidate to be bought out in 2024. Since James Harden joined the Clippers in late 2023, Tucker has not seen much playing time. Interestingly, Tucker is owed $11 million this year with an $11.5 million player option for the 2024-25 season, which would normally disqualify him from being bought out.
“I want to be somewhere where I’m needed, wanted and can do it all. I don’t know what’s going to happen but I have my fingers crossed and I’m hoping to go somewhere else whether I get bought out and choose where I go or where I can play.” -PJ Tucker on his time with the Clippers
But the Clippers are in a situation where they are a tax apron team, and this is their last chance to take on additional money in trades and aggregate salaries together in a deal. And Tucker makes just under the $12.4 million Non-Taxpayer MLE amount, so contenders could take on his roster spot if he is bought out.
PJ Tucker – 2022-23 Defensive Matchup Stats Defended Players DFGA DFG% Julius Randle 35 42.9 Giannis Antetokounmpo 32 46.9 Pascal Siakam 32 43.8 Kristaps Porzingis 16 43.8 LeBron James 15 40.0
Tucker has also stated he wants to play and has expressed frustration with his current team. Given he didn’t get traded as he would have liked, it’s entirely plausible that the Clippers cut their losses and buy out Tucker.

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