Shortly after the 2014 NBA trade deadline passed, front offices started to shift their attention to buyouts. Some teams had a player on their roster that they needed to negotiate a buyout with, while other teams were just waiting to see which players would become available so they could bolster their roster.
This year, a number of notable players were bought out, giving fans some free agency fun in February. In fact, one could make the case that the buyouts have been more fun than the trades, considering most of the deals made prior to the deadline last week were minor.
So where will these bought out players end up? Several have already found new homes such as Glen Davis with the Los Angeles Clippers, Beno Udrih with the Memphis Grizzlies and Earl Clark with the New York Knicks. However, there are still a number of players out there who haven’t officially signed a new contract yet. Here’s the latest on each situation:
Danny Granger – According to multiple reports, Granger has decided to join the Los Angeles Clippers and now it’s just a matter of him signing the contract to make it official. From the start, the Clippers were the frontrunner to acquire Granger’s services because he wanted to go to a contender that could give him significant playing time. The former All-Star will definitely have a role on the Clippers, a team that was already deep before winning the buyout season by landing Davis and Granger. The 30-year-old small forward also liked the idea of playing in Los Angeles (where he lives and trains during the offseason). Now, the big question is how much does Granger have left in the tank? Prior to being traded by the Indiana Pacers, he was averaging 8.3 points, 3.6 rebounds and 1.1 assists while shooting just 35.9 percent from the field and 33 percent from three-point range. Granger will likely ink his contract with the Clippers today. He chose L.A. over the San Antonio Spurs, Miami HEAT, Houston Rockets and Dallas Mavericks among others.
Jimmer Fredette – It sounds like Fredette will sign with the Chicago Bulls. While nothing has been finalized yet, multiple credible reports have surfaced saying that the two sides are working on a deal and expect something to get done given the serious mutual interest. Fredette can’t officially put pen to paper until Saturday at 5 p.m. ET, since he has yet to clear waivers. Other teams that have expressed interest in the former BYU star include the Cleveland Cavaliers and Memphis Grizzlies. Joining the Bulls would be good for Fredette, since he would get the chance to play for one of the best head coaches in the league in Tom Thibodeau, who may be able to help Fredette salvage his career. His extended range should help the Bulls since the team is ranked 27th in the NBA in three-point percentage (34.1 percent) this season. Fredette was knocking down 49.3 percent of his threes this season and averaging 5.9 points prior to being bought out by the Sacramento Kings.
Caron Butler – Over the summer, Butler was traded to the Milwaukee Bucks and the Racine native seemed thrilled to be back home. He talked about finishing his career with the Bucks and even got teary eyed at his introductory press conference. Now, six months later, Butler is no longer a member of the Bucks after the two sides came to an agreement on a buyout yesterday. It was clear that Milwaukee wasn’t going anywhere, considering they own the league’s worst record at 11-46, and Butler wants to play for a contender at this point in his career. Now, after weighing his options, the 33-year-old has decided to sign with the Oklahoma City Thunder, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. The Miami HEAT seemed to be the frontrunner for Butler, since he spent the first two years of his career there and remains close with Dwyane Wade and Udonis Haslem, but it clearly didn’t work out since Butler is on the verge of a deal with the Thunder.
Ben Gordon – There’s no guarantee that Gordon will be bought out by the Charlotte Bobcats. The two sides continue to discuss a potential buyout, but nothing is imminent at this point. Gordon is making $13,200,000 this season with Charlotte, and would likely have to leave some of that money on the table in order to get his release. ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne reported that Gordon’s camp was receiving interest from a number of teams including the Los Angeles Clippers, Chicago Bulls and Houston Rockets, but that those teams wanted to bring him in for the remainder of this season and then have a team option for a second year as well. Shelburne added that Gordon will “resist any new deal that impacts his looming free agency in July.” The Bobcats tried to trade Gordon prior to last week’s deadline, but they couldn’t find a taker. Now, it remains to be seen if the two sides can come to terms on a buyout. In order for Gordon to be playoff eligible with his next team, he must be bought out by March 1.
Metta World Peace – This has been a rough year for World Peace, who was bought out by the New York Knicks last week. In 29 games with the Knicks, World Peace averaged just 4.8 points, 2.0 rebounds, .6 assists and .8 steals in 13.4 minutes (all of which are career-lows). Because World Peace struggled so much during his stint with the Knicks, there hasn’t been a ton of interest in him right away. He has cleared waivers and is now an unrestricted free agent, but teams aren’t lining up to sign him. World Peace would like to join the Miami HEAT, Oklahoma City Thunder or San Antonio Spurs. However, Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News says that the Spurs aren’t interested, so that removes one team from World Peace’s wish list. It remains to be seen if Miami or OKC have any interest. World Peace’s brother, Daniel Artest, recently tweeted that Metta was in Los Angeles, but did not provide a reason for the trip. The Los Angeles Clippers may have had some interest in World Peace last week, but they’re likely out of the mix now that they‘re signing Granger. World Peace may have to sign a 10-day contract to prove that he can still produce in order to find a new home, just like Kenyon Martin and Chris Andersen among others had to do in recent years.
Antawn Jamison – Jamison was bought out last week by the Atlanta Hawks, after being dealt to the team just before the trade deadline. Now, the 37-year-old is reportedly receiving interest from the Chicago Bulls and San Antonio Spurs. If the Bulls ink Fredette, as mentioned above, it’s unlikely that they’ll continue to pursue Jamison since they only have room under the luxury tax to add one prorated minimum deal. The Spurs remain a possibility for Jamison though. One reason why San Antonio let Shannon Brown walk rather than extending another 10-day contract is because they wanted to be able to add a veteran who was bought out. Jamison’s production has obviously dropped off in recent years. He only played in 22 games with the Los Angeles Clippers this season, averaging 3.8 points and 2.5 rebounds in 11.3 minutes. But he’s a 16-year veteran who does have a lot to offer a franchise, so he should be able to find a team that’s willing to sign him.
Knicks’ Frustrating Season Continues
Last night, Carmelo Anthony summed up the New York Knicks’ 2013-14 season with eight words.
“Anything that can go wrong,” he said, “is going wrong.”
The Knicks were blown out by the Miami HEAT, 108-82, and it seemed like the team wasn’t even trying at times. At one point, LeBron James ran coast-to-coast and dunked the ball, without a single Knick stepping into his way. Even James seemed shocked by how easy it was to get to the basket.
“We just didn’t respond,” Knicks head coach Mike Woodson said, according to The New York Times. “It was like we stopped playing.”
“We’re not playing like a team that’s fighting to make the playoffs,” J.R. Smith said, adding that the losing is “numbing” and “not good for anyone.”
“We gave up way too many points in the paint,” Tyson Chandler said. “I don’t have an answer for it. I pride myself on that end. It’s tough to watch, to be honest.”
The Knicks are now 21-37, which is tied for the seventh-worst record in the NBA. However, because the Eastern Conference has been terrible this season, they’re only five games out of eighth seed.
Make sure to follow Basketball Insiders on Twitter at @BBallInsiders.