2024 NBA Buyout Market (Updated)

2024 NBA Buyout Market (Updated)

The 2024 NBA trade deadline is at 3:00 PM ET on Thursday, February 8. That means teams are facing their last window to make significant upgrades to their roster. But there’s one more transaction window that comes after the trade deadline has come and gone.

The buyout market has become the trade deadline’s less glamorous cousin. The big moves are done at the deadline, but there are always a handful more deals to come through the end of February.

Following the February 8 trade deadline, the next big date to watch is March 1. Players waived after March 1 are not eligible to play in that season’s playoffs. Effectively, that’s the last day for players to get set free to catch on with playoff teams following the trade deadline.

The way this happens is that the player is waived by his current team. Upon clearing waivers, which the vast majority of players do, they become a free agent. In many of these cases, players and their former team will come to an agreement to buy out the remainder of their contract. This means the player gives back some portion of their guaranteed salary in order to become a free agent.

Sometimes these buyouts occur immediately on the heels of the trade deadline and the player clears waivers by the end of the weekend. For others, the buyout negotiations may run through the All-Star break and get completed before the end of the month. But in almost all cases, any significant buyouts will occur by March 1, to allow that player to remain playoff-eligible.

This season, there is a wrinkle to the buyout market. Under the new CBA, teams that are above the first tax apron are not eligible to sign any players whose previous salary was above the Non-Taxpayer MLE equivalent. For this season, that amount is $12,405,000. The following teams are currently above the first apron:

Below are some players to keep an on eye on for the 2024 buyout market. In most cases, these are veterans on an expiring contract. Some may have some salary that goes into next season. It’s rare for a deal running more than two seasons to be bought out, but it does occasionally happen.

In addition, most of these players are either out of their team’s rotation, or they are blocking minutes for a younger player to get into their team’s rotation. For some, their teams are expected to make other changes before the deadline, which will push them even further to the backend of the roster.

It’s also worth noting that every player listed here is also a possibility to be traded. We’re not going to repeat that point with each player listed. In some cases, they could be traded and then bought out. Mostly, this is a list of players who could take a buyout if they are still on a roster somewhere at the end of the day on trade deadline day of Thursday, February 8.

Lastly, just about every player on this list will be recognizable to even casual NBA fans. They’ve all played big roles at some point in their careers. However, for many of these players, we’re at the point in their careers where they are more name than game. No one listed here is overly likely to swing a playoff game, never mind a playoff series. Keep that in mind when dreaming about how your team could fill out their bench on the buyout market.

Davis Bertans (Oklahoma City Thunder, PF, 31 years old)

Remaining Salaries: $17 million in 2023-24, $5.25 million guaranteed in 2024-25

Bertans has seldom played as a part of the Thunder’s rotation this season. He’s essentially a three-point specialist now, but still a fairly good one. OKC has worked buyouts with veterans in the past, especially after exhausting the trade market for them. In Bertans’ case, exhausting the trade market could stretch into next summer as the Thunder could guarantee a larger portion of his contract to use him in an offseason deal.

UPDATE: Traded to the Hornets

Andre Drummond (Chicago Bulls, C, 30 years old)

Remaining Salaries: $3.4 million in 2023-24

Drummond has been having a very productive season for the Bulls. He’s one of the best backup centers in the NBA now. Chicago should be able to find a trade for him, if they desire. If they don’t, Drummond could agitate for buyout, because he could help a contender in a bigger role. But the Bulls are also apparently leaning into a postseason push via the Play-In Tournament. Don’t be surprised if Drummond finishes the year in Chicago as the Bulls backup center.

Evan Fournier (New York Knicks, SG/SF, 31 years old)

Remaining Salaries: $18.6 million in 2023-24, $19 million team option in 2024-25

Fournier isn’t a part of the Knicks rotation. He only sees minutes when the team is down several players on the wing. But his contract is a really nice piece of salary-matching in any potential trade. Don’t bet on a buyout for that reason. If New York doesn’t make a move using Fournier’s contract at the trade deadline, look for them to pick up his team option for next season. That will allow the Knicks to keep Fournier as a salary-matching piece in a deal over the summer and all the way through the 2025 trade deadline, if necessary.

UPDATE: Traded to the Pistons, unlikely to work a buyout

Danilo Gallinari (Detroit Pistons, PF/C, 35 years old)

Remaining Salaries: $6.8 million in 2023-24

Gallinari has flashed in moments since getting traded to Detroit in mid-January. He doesn’t have a real place on the Pistons though, as they’ve got younger players who need minutes. If Detroit can’t swing another trade for Gallinari, he’s a prime buyout candidate. The extra bonus? Gallo’s salary is under the Non-Taxpayer MLE amount. That makes him free to join any team in the league for the stretch run.

UPDATE: Waived by the Pistons

Joe Harris (Detroit Pistons, SF/SG, 32 years old)

Remaining Salaries: $19.9 million in 2023-24

Harris hasn’t played much for the Pistons. He’s still a pretty good shooter though and teams are always looking for shooting. The challenge is that Harris makes too much to join any of the apron teams. But there are playoff teams where he could provide some shooting in a bench role. And Detroit clearly has no need for him, with younger players getting all the minutes in front of Harris.

UPDATE: Waived by the Pistons

Gordon Hayward (Charlotte Hornets, SF/SG, 33 years old)

Remaining Salaries: $31.5 million in 2023-24

Under the old CBA, Hayward would have been a prime buyout candidate. He’s a health-risk to be sure, but Hayward is very productive when he plays. He’s shooting well and still has a good all-around game. He’d be a great fit in the rotation for any title contender. But therein lies the rub. Some of the teams that Hayward could fit best on would be restricted from signing him, because he makes more than then Non-Taxpayer MLE. It’s also important to note that Hayward would lose his Bird Rights if he takes a buyout. Hayward might be able to land a contract from a team that starting in the $15-$18 million range via a sign-and-trade this summer. That means retaining his Bird Rights might be more valuable than catching on with a second-tier contender after a buyout.

UPDATE: Traded to the Thunder, unlikely to work a buyout

Jock Landale (Houston Rockets, C, 28 years old)

Remaining Salaries: $8 million per season through 2026-27 all non-guaranteed

Landale can be a productive player, but he hasn’t been a fit in Houston. Jeff Green has taken on the primary backup center role in the minimal minutes behind Alperen Sengun. That makes Landale available. If the Rockets don’t put Landale into a trade, he could get a jump on finding his next team by taking a buyout. Houston could also guarantee his deal for next season, and continue to look at him as tradable salary too. Call this one 50-50 at best.

Kyle Lowry (Charlotte Hornets, PG, 37 years old)

Remaining Salaries: $29.7 million in 2023-24

Lowry is the classic buyout guy on this list. So much so that the Hornets have all but acknowledged that’s what will happen, assuming they can’t re-trade the veteran point guard before Thursday’s deadline. Lowry makes too much to join any of the apron teams, but none of them have a really glaring need for a point guard anyway. Look for Lowry to get set free and to join one of the second-tier contenders that can use a veteran backup lead guard.

Doug McDermott (San Antonio Spurs, SF/PF, 32 years old)

Remaining Salaries: $13.7 million in 2023-24

This one is kind of tough. McDermott plays regular minutes for the Spurs. He’s not really blocking any younger players. He’s also still really productive as a shooter (44.1% on 3.8 3PA per game). San Antonio is exploring the trade market for McDermott, but hasn’t found a deal just yet. If they can’t, the Spurs may do the veteran a solid by cutting him free. However, McDermott makes just above the Non-Taxpayer MLE amount, which limits his potential post-buyout teams. That could complicate things a bit.

UPDATE: Traded to the Pacers, unlikely to work a buyout

Patty Mills (Atlanta Hawks, PG, 35 years old)

Remaining Salaries: $6.8 million in 2023-24

Mills hasn’t played much for the Hawks. When he has, Mills has done ok. He’s not going to light anyone up, but Mills could be a nice third guard and someone you throw in a game when you need a scoring spark. His current deal is small enough that Mills could join any team in the league if he takes a buyout.

Monte Morris (Detroit Pistons, PG, 27 years old)

Remaining Salaries: $9.8 million in 2023-24

Morris is both too good and younger-than-usual to be on this list, but his circumstances find him here. He recently returned from a quad injury to start playing for the Pistons. It’s taking him a bit to find his rhythm, but Morris is one of the best available backup point guards on the trade market. If Detroit can’t find a deal they like, they could work a buyout to let Morris join a playoff team. He’s got a small enough salary that joining anyone is on the table. Look for the Pistons to try to find a trade first, however. And we’ve seen Detroit keep vets in curious situations before too.

UPDATE: Morris will not work a buyout after being traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves

Mike Muscala (Detroit Pistons, C, 32 years old)

Remaining Salaries: $3.5 million in 2023-24

Muscala has stepped in as the backup to Jalen Duren since Detroit acquired him in mid-January. The Pistons seem to like that he brings a stretch element to the floor, which their other centers don’t. That makes it far from a guarantee that Muscala gets a buyout. But if there are signs that a playoff team has a role for Muscala, he could push for a buyout.

Victor Oladipo (Memphis Grizzlies, SG, 31 years old)

Remaining Salaries: $9.5 million in 2023-24

This is the saddest story on this list. Oladipo has fully fallen into the point where he’s more “Victor Oladipo’s expiring contract” than he is a helpful basketball player. Oladipo is continuing his recovery from left patellar tendon surgery last year. There’s no sense that he’s close to playing. If the Grizzlies don’t re-trade Oladipo in a deal this week, they’ll likely waive him (probably without Oladipo giving back any money in a buyout) to open a roster spot.

UPDATE: Waived by the Grizzlies

Kelly Olynyk (Utah Jazz, PF/C, 32 years old)

Remaining Salaries: $12.2 million in 2023-24

Olynyk is highly unlikely to take a buyout, but his name comes up enough that we’re including him here. The reason that he’s not really a buyout candidate is that the Jazz should be able to find a trade for him assuming they want to move Olynyk at all. He’s been extremely productive as a backup frontcourt player for Utah this season. And the Jazz are in the mix for a postseason spot. If Utah doesn’t trade Olynyk for future assets, they’ll probably just keep him and figure out a potential sign-and-trade or re-signing this summer. One last thing to note: Olynyk’s salary is just enough below the Non-Taxpayer MLE amount that he could sign with anyone if he did work a buyout agreement.

UPDATE: Traded to the Raptors, unlikely to work a buyout

Cedi Osman (San Antonio Spurs, SF/SG, 28 years old)

Remaining Salaries: $6.7 million in 2023-24

Osman has had a pretty productive season for the Spurs as a reserve wing. The challenge? San Antonio has several other players who play the same position as Osman. If a trade doesn’t develop for the veteran wing, look for Osman to look for a buyout. His salary is low enough that he can catch on with any team. And several playoff teams will be looking for wing depth for their postseason push.

Philadelphia 76ers (Several veterans on expiring contracts)

It’s a little hard to peg where the Sixers are at. They could put a bunch of their expiring deals together in a trade to add help now. They could keep those players and let their deals expire to have a bunch of cap space this summer. A handful could be buyout candidates, but Philadelphia needs depth and versatility now that Joel Embiid is out for a while. We’re including the 76ers to acknowledge that something could happen here, but it’s far too nebulous to get into individual details.

Otto Porter Jr. (Toronto Raptors, PF/SF, 30 years old)

Remaining Salaries: $6.3 million in 2023-24

Porter was a surprising signing with Toronto in the summer of 2022, and it hasn’t gone well. Porter has rarely been healthy enough to have an impact for the Raptors. Now, he’s on an expiring deal on a team that is resetting their roster. Considering he’s played only 23 games in a season-plus in Toronto, it’s hard to know exactly where Porter is at. But he did play a key role in helping the Warriors in the 2022 NBA Finals. He’s the kind of guy contenders will take a chance on. He has the added benefit of having a low enough salary that he can sign with anyone, should he take a buyout.

UPDATE: Traded to the Jazz

P.J. Tucker (LA Clippers, PF/C, 38 years old)

Remaining Salaries: $11 million in 2023-24, $11.5 million player option in 2024-25

Tucker hasn’t played much since joining the Clippers in the James Harden trade in early-November. Normally, the second year of money would keep a guy like Tucker off this list. Look for LA to exhaust every possible trade option before Thursday’s deadline. As a second apron team, this is the Clippers last chance to take on additional money in trades, and last chance to aggregate salaries together in a deal. If Tucker isn’t traded before the deadline, it becomes an interesting conversation on what happens next, given the $11.5 million he’s owed for next year. But he’s made it clear he still wants to play, and there are contenders interested. And, just in case you haven’t figured it out by now, Tucker makes just under the Non-Taxpayer MLE amount, so he’s free to sign with any team. Also, there’s a good chance Tucker is a post-trade buyout guy if he’s moved before the deadline to a non-playoff team.

Delon Wright (Washington Wizards, PG, 31 years old)

Remaining Salaries: $8.2 million in 2023-24

Wright missed a lot of time earlier this season due to injuries. But he’s healthy now and he could help a number of teams as a backup guard. He has a very reasonable salary, so the Wizards will explore trade options before even discussing a buyout. But Washington took care of Will Barton in a similar spot last season. They could do the same for Wright this year.

Thaddeus Young (Toronto Raptors, C/PF, 35 years old)

Remaining Salaries: $8 million in 2023-24

The Raptors started the process of resetting their roster when they traded OG Anunoby and Pascal Siakam. Those trades, and a subsequent minor injury to Jakob Poeltl, have actually opened up rotation minutes for Young. The veteran big man made the most of it with some solid play. If Toronto continues to prioritize long-term players, there’s a chance Young could take a buyout. At that point, he could join any playoff team to add some frontcourt depth.

UPDATE: Traded to the Nets, waived by the Nets

Spencer Dinwiddie (PG, 30 years old)

Dinwiddie was traded by the Brooklyn Nets to the Toronto Raptors and subsequently waived. The veteran lead guard hasn’t shot it well at all this season, but he’s already got suitors lining up to sign him. If a team needs some bench scoring and a guy who can also be a fill-in starter, Dinwiddie would be a nice pickup.

Killian Hayes (PG, 22 years old)

Hayes was cut loose by the Detroit Pistons when they needed to create roster spots in the deadline moves. He’s younger than the usual late-season addition, but Hayes has struggled in his NBA career. If a team has a good player development staff, and can afford to give Hayes minutes to figure things out, he’s a great “second draft” guy. Sometimes point guards take a while, and Hayes is worth taking a shot on.

Furkan Korkmaz (SG/SF, 26 years old)

The Indiana Pacers will reportedly waive Korkmaz after they acquired him in a three-team deadline deal with the Philadelphia 76ers and San Antonio Spurs. Korkmaz’s rep has always been that of a guy who can shoot and provide some scoring punch. He mostly delivered on that when he was a regular rotation guy for the Sixers. The last two years, Korkmaz has barely played. He’s worth taking a flyer on for a team that needs some bench production.

Robin Lopez (C, 35 years old)

We could be at the end of the line for Lopez. He hasn’t held a regular rotation role for the last three seasons. In limited opportunities, Lopez didn’t look very good this season. But if a team really needs a veteran center, Lopez is a great locker room guy to add for some bench depth.

Chimezie Metu (C, 26 years old)

After a few good years with the Sacramento Kings, Metu never quite found his footing with the Phoenix Suns. However, he can score and has a little range. Metu is also a decent rebounder too. He’ll catch on with a team looking to add to their frontcourt depth.

Marcus Morris Sr. (PF, 34 years old)

Morris will reportedly be waived by the San Antonio Spurs after they acquired him in a three-team deadline deal with the Indiana Pacers and Philadelphia 76ers. Morris was a productive rotation player for years for several teams. This season, he looked good in his opportunities with the Sixers. Morris can still score and he’s shooting 40% from deep this season. He’d make a nice addition for a team that needs some frontcourt scoring off their bench.