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Ranking the top 5 signings in NBA buyout market history

Markieff Morris of the LA Lakers shoots a three during Game Six of the 2020 NBA Finals.
Markieff Morris of the LA Lakers shoots a three during Game Six of the 2020 NBA Finals.

The buyout season is upon us as we wrap up the mid-season All-Star break and get back to NBA regular-season action. With the trade deadline behind us, the buyout market is a major option for teams to bolster their rosters. The buyout market has seen some incredible signings lately, such as former All-Stars and valuable role players joining title-contending teams.

Last season, Andre Drummond signed with the LA Lakers after getting bought out by the Cleveland Cavaliers. The two-time All-Star is a four-time rebounding leader, and has a career average of 13.9 points and 13.4 rebounds per game. However, in the 21 games he played, he had his worst statistical average since his rookie year. He was eventually let go in the summer.

At the other end of the spectrum, Blake Griffin signed with the Brooklyn Nets in that same buyout market, and the team benefited greatly. He dunked for the first time in over a year, and started every single playoff game that season.

The six-time All-Star dropped 18 points and 14 rebounds in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semi-finals against eventual champions, Milwaukee Bucks, amongst several other incredible outings.


A look at some of the best buyout market signings in recent NBA history

The NBA buyout market this season is expected to feature players like Paul Millsap, John Wall and Dennis Schroder.

Only time will tell where these players end up and if they make any contribution to their new teams. It is important to note that these players, although they are former All-Stars, are not major influences in any title run. They are getting bought out for a reason, and that is because they aren't in their primes or in \rare cases the franchise is taking a different route.

Let's re-live some of the success stories in the history of the NBA buyout market to remind us that our favorite teams can get even better if the front office makes the right decisions:


#5 Derek Fisher - OKC Thunder, 2012

Derek Fisher of the OKC Thunder during Game 1 of the 2014 NBA Western Conference Finals
Derek Fisher of the OKC Thunder during Game 1 of the 2014 NBA Western Conference Finals

Once a starting point guard for multiple championship teams with the LA Lakers, Derek Fisher found himself in a veteran's role in the OKC Thunder in 2012.

He was bought out by the Houston Rockets, and two days later signed with the Thunder on March 21, 2012. The Thunder had young superstars in Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook at the time, so a five-time champion's leadership was critical in their title run that season.

As reported by ESPN's Dave McMenamin, Fisher issued a statement after the signing:

"I am extremely honored to announce that I will join the OKC Thunder in pursuit of the 2011-2012 Championship."
April 30, 2012 vs DAL (WC 1st Round Game 2)Derek Fisher caps off a Thunder run with a buzzer beater to end Q1.#ThunderUp https://t.co/0YzO1JBKDH

Fisher averaged 6.3 points, 1.3 assists and 0.9 steals per game during the playoffs in 22.3 minutes off the bench. He shot at 37.5% from beyond the arc, and was a veteran presence on the floor whenever Westbrook rested.

Fisher dropped six double-digit scoring games in the postseason, helping the Thunder reach the NBA Finals.


#4 LaMarcus Aldridge - Brooklyn Nets, 2021

LaMarcus Aldridge talks with head coach Steve Nash of the Brooklyn Nets.
LaMarcus Aldridge talks with head coach Steve Nash of the Brooklyn Nets.

LaMarcus Aldridge was bought out by the San Antonio Spurs in 2021. After much speculation regarding his future, he surprised the NBA by signing with the Brooklyn Nets.

At the time, it felt like he was going to come off the bench in a menial role, and is trying to get an easy ring in the process. However, he is now one of the major contributors in the team.

7 points in 9 minutes.LaMarcus Aldridge looking like he's settling in on the Nets ๐Ÿ‘€ https://t.co/FPjfu2hq9H

Aldridge is one of the best mid-range scorers in the NBA, and has dropped several 20+ points for the Nets off the bench. He is the go-to option to start if there are players missing in the frontcourt. He can be a part of the team's death lineup when they are all healthy.

He is averaging 13.8 points, 5.7 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game this season while shooting at 56% from the field.

#3 Enes Kanter Freedom - Portland Trail Blazers, 2019

Enes Kanter Freedom of the Portland Trail Blazers during the 2019 NBA playoffs
Enes Kanter Freedom of the Portland Trail Blazers during the 2019 NBA playoffs

The Portland Trail Blazers made an astonishing run to the 2019 NBA Western Conference Finals, partly because of Enes Kanter Freedom.

With starting big man Jusuf Nurkic sidelined for the entire playoffs, Kanter Freedom stepped up when it mattered most. He was waived by the New York Knicks, and then signed with the Trail Blazers on February 13, 2019.

He played 23 games for the team the rest of the season, averaging 13.1 points and 8.6 rebounds per outing on 57% shooting from the field.

Blazers' Damian Lillard on Enes Kanter (20 points, 18 rebounds) in Game 1 win over Thunder: "He was the MVP of the game." https://t.co/7xR0XHQDx4

Kanter Freedom had a major contribution in their playoff run that year leading up to the 2019 NBA Western Conference Finals.

He started in 14 out of 16 postseason games that year, and dropped eight double-digit scoring games, including two 20+ point outings and five double-doubles. He was playing for the bottom-table Knicks at the time, and was getting no minutes and value, but ended up contributing to an incredible postseason run.


#2 Boris Diaw - San Antonio Spurs, 2012

Boris Diaw with the San Antonio Spurs in 2014
Boris Diaw with the San Antonio Spurs in 2014

Boris Diaw was bought out by the Charlotte Bobcats in 2012, and he immediately signed with the San Antonio Spurs.

The Spurs were in the middle of championship runs with a revamped squad around Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili. Diaw's services wouldn't reap rewards till the 2013-14 NBA season when the Spurs entered the campaign heavily motivated and focused after a tough loss in the 2013 NBA Finals.

Who has the best plus-minus in the 2014 NBA Finals? Boris Diaw of the @spurs (He's +45)

Diaw averaged 9.1 points, 4.1 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game that season, which boosted up to 8.6 rebounds and 5.8 assists during the five-game NBA Finals series in 2014.

In fact, he outrebounded and had more assists than LeBron James in the NBA Finals. The Spurs re-signed him on a multi-year deal after he was considered buyout-worthy by the Bobcats.


#1 Markieff Morris - LA Lakers, 2020

Markieff Morris of the LA Lakers with head coach Frank Vogel
Markieff Morris of the LA Lakers with head coach Frank Vogel

Markieff Morris provided a major boost to the LA Lakers' quest for their 17th championship banner.

He was bought out by the Detroit Pistons, and signed with the Purple and Gold, eventually earning himself huge minutes in the rotation. He sank several critical three-pointers during the playoffs, and was often their main substitute in the frontcourt.

Markieff Morris is a human heat wave ๐Ÿ”ฅ๐Ÿ”ฅ๐Ÿ”ฅ๐Ÿ”ฅ(๐Ÿ“บ: ABC) https://t.co/AAkByb7fWV

Morris provided great defense and spacing for the Lakers, and he had four games with double-digit points in the postseason, including a 19-point outing in the NBA Finals. He averaged 5.9 points, 3.0 rebounds and an assist per game during the playoffs while shooting at an impressive 42% clip from beyond the arc.

Poll : Will this season's buyout market make a major impact on the teams?

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Edited by Bhargav
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