With the NBA buyout deadline looming, teams around the league are looking at players they can bring in to fill out their final roster spots ahead of the season's run-in.
There was plenty of movement at this year's trade deadline and the buyout market deadline is shaping up to be just as interesting. There have already been high-profile moves, with Blake Griffin and LaMarcus Aldridge joining the Brooklyn Nets and Andre Drummond heading to the LA Lakers.
The buyout deadline for the 2020-21 NBA season is on April 9th, giving teams just over 72 hours at the time of writing to make some moves.
If you are wondering how a contract buyout works in the NBA, a team waives a player by paying a portion of the salary that he is owed for the rest of the season. In rare cases, the player forfeits the entirety of what he is owed. Once the team and the player agree to terms, he becomes an unrestricted free agent and is available at a cheap price to teams on the market.
Below, we take a look at what to expect before the NBA buyout deadline.
What can fans expect before the NBA buyout deadline?
Atop the list of candidates that could be bought out before the deadline are the Houston Rockets' duo, Avery Bradley and Kelly Olynyk.
At 30, Bradley is not part of the Rockets' long-term plans, nor does he fit into their guard rotation. He seems destined to be bought out by the franchise.
Although Olynyk has been linked with several teams should he enter the market, Houston lacks big-man depth. Moreover, the 29-year-old has impressed in his first six games with the team, averaging 18.7 points.
Should he be bought out by the franchise, the Boston Celtics will be the frontrunners for his signature.
Another player who could be bought out before the deadline is Sacramento Kings big man Hassan Whiteside. The Kings signed the 31-year-old to a one-year deal last offseason and could part ways with the veteran. With Marvin Bagley III expected to be the franchise's long-term center, Whiteside will likely not be retained beyond this season.
That being said, Sacramento is still in the hunt for a playoff place and with injuries racking up, holding onto Whiteside could be the most sensible option for a team that is four games behind 8th place in the NBA's Western Conference standings.
Although the Milwaukee Bucks have brought in Jeff Teague, there are still rumors linking free agent Austin Rivers to the franchise.
Rivers has played only 21 games this season, 19 from the bench, and has averaged 7.3 points and two assists. Should the Bucks choose not to add Rivers to their backcourt before the NBA buyout deadline, he could join the Toronto Raptors or Phoenix Suns.
Recently traded to the tanking Detroit Pistons, Cory Joseph is another guard that could become available before the NBA buyout deadline.
Joseph hasn't started a single fixture since being traded to the franchise, an indicator of the Pistons' long-term plans. The guard is a solid rotation option that shoots at over 44% from the field. While there won't be a ton of suitors, it makes little sense for the Pistons to keep him.
With teams looking to make final tweaks to their roster before the NBA playoffs, expect a lot of movement before the NBA buyout deadline on Friday. The Lakers and Nets have deep rosters but will look to find ways to strengthen it further.