Connect with us


Top Buyout Players Who Can Make a Difference

David Yapkowitz looks at five bought out players who could make a difference in the playoffs.

David Yapkowitz



Around this time each season, NBA teams look to add that final piece of the puzzle for a playoff run. The trade deadline is long gone, so teams looking to bolster their roster for the postseason often scour the waiver wire for additional help.

The deadline for teams to buy out a player’s contract in order to be eligible for the playoffs was this past Thursday. There have been quite a few players who were waived in advance of the Mar. 1 deadline and most of them have already found new homes.

Here’s a look at some of the guys who are in new situations that should make a difference as their teams gear up for the playoffs.

1. Joe Johnson – Houston Rockets

A double-digit scorer for most of his career, Joe Johnson has seen his scoring average drop in each of the past two seasons. That’s not to say that he can’t still be a difference maker. Prior to the buyout, he was averaging only 21.9 minutes per game, the lowest since his rookie year in Boston. He was shooting only 42 percent from the field, and an abysmal 27.4 percent from the three-point line.

Since coming over to the Houston Rockets, he’s seen his playing time jump up to 27.2 minutes per game. In the five games he’s seen action, he’s put up 7.2 points per game and upped his three-point percentage to 35.3 percent. At this stage in his career, he’s not going to be the explosive scorer he once was. But he can still hit a few shots here and there and be a difference maker at times off the bench. It wouldn’t be surprising at all to see him win a game or two in the playoffs for Houston.

2. Shabazz Muhammad – Milwaukee Bucks

A once highly-touted prospect coming out of high school, Shabazz Muhammad’s career hasn’t quite followed the pre-NBA hype. He still is a productive rotation player, though. Although he had fallen out of Tom Thibodeau’s rotation this season, he’s not far removed from the key cog he was in Minnesota’s second unit the past couple of years.

The Milwaukee Bucks have found some scoring punch off the bench with Jabari Parker’s return, but they still need some additional firepower as they near the home stretch. Muhammad should provide that. He’s never been a strong defender, but the Bucks have enough long-armed defensive minded guys to help cover for him. All he’ll really be asked to do is provide a little extra scoring when needed.

3. Ersan Ilyasova – Philadelphia 76ers

Although Ersan Ilyasova has always been one of the better shooting big men in the league, he’s also never been afraid to play tough defense and be active around the rim. At age 30, the ten-year veteran was having a solid season in Atlanta. He started 40 games for the Hawks while putting up 10.9 points per game on 45.9 percent shooting, 35.9 percent from three-point range, and 5.5 rebounds.

He’s only played in two games so far for the Philadelphia 76ers, but in his second game with the team on Friday night, he showed exactly what he brings to the lineup. In a win over the Charlotte Hornets, Ilyasova led the bench with 18 points on 63.6 percent shooting, 50 percent from downtown, four rebounds and three assists. He’s a stretch big man who will help space the floor for both Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons.

4. Corey Brewer – Oklahoma City Thunder

Another older veteran, Corey Brewer has seen his playing time steadily decrease the past few seasons with the Rockets and Los Angeles Lakers. He’s never been a player known for his offense; he’s a career 42.4 percent shooter and 28 percent from three-point range. What he brings to a team is more on the intangible side. He’s going to provide a lot of energy and hustle as well as strong play on the defensive side of the ball.

Ever since the Oklahoma City Thunder lost Andre Roberson for the rest of the season, they’ve been in need of a guy to come in and hound opposing players defensively. While not quite the defender Roberson is, Brewer does fit that bill. And every now and then he can chip in offensively if necessary. He had a season-high 21 points on Dec. 20 in a win over the Rockets. He’s shooting 45.3 percent on the year. He’s yet to suit up for the Thunder yet but when he does, he could be that spark plug in their second unit that starts runs.

5. Marco Belinelli – Philadelphia 76ers

A bit of a streaky scorer, Marco Belinelli is a veteran sharpshooter who can certainly win a playoff game or two for a team. He was averaging 11.8 points per game and shooting 37.2 percent from the three-point line for the Hawks.

He’s played in seven games for the 76ers so far and scored in double figures in five of those games. He’s up to 38.1 percent from beyond the arc. As a streak scorer, he can win games for teams almost as easily as he can shoot them out. He had been enjoying one of the best seasons of his career, though, and it looks as if his play has continued in Philadelphia. He’s got playoff experience and should also provide locker room intangibles to a very young Sixers team looking for a return to the postseason.

There are a few guys that were bought out but are currently unsigned. Since they were waived prior to the deadline, they are eligible to play in the playoffs should a team come calling. Guys like Derrick Rose and Tony Allen are still quite capable of contributing to a playoff team. It’s just a question of whether or not a team will give them another shot.


Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Mock Drafts

NBA Daily: 2018 NBA Mock Draft – 3/20/18

With most of the major NBA draft prospects eliminated from March Madness, things in the mock draft world are starting to get interesting.

Steve Kyler



A Lot of Mock Movement

With the race to the bottom in full swing in the NBA and the field of 64 in college basketball whittled down to a very sweet sixteen, there has been considerable talk in NBA circles about the impending 2018 NBA Draft class. There seems to be a more consistent view of the top 15 to 20 prospects, but there still seems to be a lack of a firm pecking order. Arizona’s Deandre Ayton seems like to the prohibitive favorite to go number one overall, but its far from a lock.

It’s important to note that these weekly Mock Draft will start to take on more of a “team driven” shape as we get closer to the mid-May NBA Combine in Chicago and more importantly once the draft order gets set. Until then, we’ll continue to drop our views of the draft class each Tuesday, until we reach May when we’ll drop the weekly Consensus Mock drafts, giving you four different views of the draft all the way to the final decisions in late June.

Here is this week’s Mock Draft:

Here are some of the pick swaps and how they landed where they are currently projected:

The Cleveland Cavaliers are owed the Brooklyn Nets’ first-round pick as a result of the Kyrie Irving trade this past summer. The Brooklyn Nets traded several unprotected picks to Boston as part of the Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce trades in 2015.

The Philadelphia 76ers are owed the LA Lakers’ 2018 Draft pick, unprotected, as a result of the 2012 Steve Nash trade with the Suns. The Suns traded that pick to the 76ers as part of the Michael Carter-Williams three-team trade with the Milwaukee in 2015. The 76ers traded that pick to the Boston Celtics as part of the draft pick trade that became Markelle Fultz before the draft; it has 2 through 5 protections and based on the standings today would convey to Philadelphia.

The LA Clippers are owed the Detroit Pistons first-round pick in 2018 as a result of the Blake Griffin trade. The pick is top four protected and based on the current standings would convey.

The Phoenix Suns are owed the Milwaukee Bucks’ first-round pick as part of the Eric Bledsoe trade. The pick only conveys if the Bucks pick lands between the 11th and 16th pick, which based on the standings today would convey.

The Phoenix Suns are owed the Miami HEAT’s first-round pick as part of the Goran Dragic trade in 2015, it is top-seven protected and would convey to Phoenix based on the current standings.

The Atlanta Hawks are owed the Minnesota Timberwolves’ first-round pick as part of the Adreian Payne trade in 2015. The pick is lottery protected and based on the current standings would convey.

The Chicago Bulls are owed the New Orleans Pelicans first-round pick as a result of the Nikola Mirotic trade. The pick is top-five protected and based on the current standings would convey.

The LA Lakers are owed the Cleveland Cavaliers first-round pick as a result of Jordan Clarkson/Larry Nance Jr. trade. The pick is top-three protected and based on the current standings would convey.

The Minnesota Timberwolves are owed the Oklahoma City Thunder’s first-round pick as part of the Jazz/Wolves Ricky Rubio trade this past summer. The Jazz acquired the pick as part of the Thunder’s deal to obtain Enes Kanter in 2015. The pick is lottery protected and based on the current standings would convey.

The Brooklyn Nets are owed the Toronto Raptors’ first-round pick as part of the DeMarre Carroll salary dump trade this past summer. The pick is lottery protected and based on the current standings would convey.

The Atlanta Hawks are owed the Houston Rockets’ first-round pick as part of a three-team deal with the LA Clippers and Denver Nuggets involving Danilo Gallinari and taking back Jamal Crawford and Diamond Stone. The pick is top-three protected and based on the current standings would convey.

Check out the Basketball Insiders’ Top 100 NBA Draft Prospects –

More Twitter: Make sure you are following all of our guys on Twitter to ensure you are getting the very latest from our team: @stevekylerNBA, @LangGreene, @EricPincus, @joelbrigham, @TommyBeer, @MokeHamilton , @jblancartenba, @Ben_Dowsett, @SpinDavies, @BuddyGrizzard, @JamesB_NBA, @DennisChambers_, and @Ben__Nadeau .

Continue Reading


NBA Daily: Jonathan Isaac Proving to be Key Part of Orlando’s Future

Basketball Insiders spoke with Jonathan Isaac about his rookie season, injuries, areas to improve on, his faith and more.

James Blancarte



On January 13, the Orlando Magic were eliminated from playoff contention. This date served as a formality as the team has known for quite some time that any postseason hopes had long since sailed. The Magic started the year off on a winning note and held an 8-4 record in early November. However, the team lost their next nine games and never really recovered.

Many factors play a role in a young but talented team like the Magic having another season end like this. Injuries to franchise cornerstone Aaron Gordon as well as forward Evan Fournier and forward Jonathan Isaac magnified the team’s issues.

Isaac, a rookie selected sixth overall in the first round of the 2017 NBA Draft, started the season off reasonably well. On November 10, in 21 minutes of action, he registered an 11-point, six-rebound, one-assist, one-steal, two-block all-around effort against the Phoenix Suns to help the Magic get to that 8-4 record. Isaac then suffered an ankle injury midway through his next game and wouldn’t play again until December 17, by which time the team was already 11-20 with athe season quickly going sideways. From November until March, Isaac would only play in three games until finally returning to consistent action in the month of March with the season all but decided.

Basketball Insiders spoke to Isaac recently to discuss how he has pushed through this season, staying healthy, his impressive skill set and more.

“I’ve had a lot of time off from being injured so, I think my body is holding up fine along with how much I’ve played. I haven’t played a full season,” Isaac told Basketball Insiders “I feel good. I feel good.”

Isaac talked about what part of his game he feels strongly about and has improved on.

“I think defensively,” Isaac said. “I didn’t expect myself to make strides defensively like I have. I’ve been able to just be able to just do different things and help this team defensively and I didn’t expect that coming in so, that would be the one thing.”

Magic Head Coach Frank Vogel was effusive in his praise of Isaac’s defense and also focused on the rookie’s great defensive potential.

“His defense is out of this world. I mean it’s really something else,” Vogel said. “Just watch him play and everybody’s getting a taste of it right now. They haven’t seen him a whole lot but he’s an elite defender right now at 20-years old and the sky’s the limit for what he can be on that end of the floor.

While Isaac hasn’t logged a huge number of minutes on the floor this season, he has impressed in his limited action. As Coach Vogel stated, anyone who has taken the time to watch Isaac play this season has noticed his ability to guard other big men and his overall defensive impact.

“I think I’ve been able to do a good job on most of the people that I’ve had to guard,” Isaac said.

Missing Isaac’s defense impact and overall contributions partially explains why the Magic cooled off after their hot start. However, with the playoffs no longer an option, younger players like Isaac now have the opportunity to play with less attention and pressure. While it can be argued that the Magic aren’t really playing for anything, the truth is these late-season games can be an opportunity to develop these younger players and determine what to work on during the offseason.

There is more to Isaac than just basketball, however. Isaac discussed other parts of his life that are important to him, including religion and his faith.

“[M]y faith in Jesus is something that I put a lot of emphasis on,” Isaac told Basketball Insiders. “It’s a part of me.”

Isaac did not hesitate to credit his faith when asked if it helped him push through his injuries.

“I would say definitely,” Isaac said. “Especially with getting injured so early in the season and being out for 40 games. That’s a lot on somebody’s mental capacity and then just staying positive, staying joyful in times where joy doesn’t seem like it’s the right emotion to have. And I definitely [attribute] that to my faith.”

Looking forward, both Vogel and Isaac discussed the future and what the young big man can improve on.

“Offensively, he’s grown in confidence, he’s gained so he’s going to give us a big lift and our future’s bright with him,” Vogel stated.

Isaac gave a hint of his offseason training plans when asked what he looks forward to working on.

“I would say consistency with my jump shot. Really working on my three-ball and I would say ball-handling,” Isaac stated.

When asked if there was anything more he wanted to add, Isaac simply smiled and said, “Oh no, I think I got to get to church right now,” as the team prepared to play later that evening.

Continue Reading


Tyronn Lue’s Health Concerns Latest Bump In The Road For Cavaliers

Spencer Davies outlines Tyronn Lue’s decision to take a leave of absence to deal with health issues and covers the reaction around the NBA.

Spencer Davies



The win-loss record is not where they want it to be.

The performances have not been up to par with what they expect.

With that said, one thing is for certain: There is no other team that will have been more battle tested going into the playoffs than the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Day after day and week after week, there’s always something going on with the team. Between in-house arguments, on-court miscommunication, roster turnover, and more, it has been one giant roller coaster of a season.

Monday morning, another twist was added to the ride. In a statement released by the Cavaliers organization, Tyronn Lue and general manager Koby Altman announced that the head coach would be taking a leave of absence to address his health:

“After many conversations with our doctors and Koby and much thought given to what is best for the team and my health, I need to step back from coaching for the time being and focus on trying to establish a stronger and healthier foundation from which to coach for the rest of the season.

“I have had chest pains and other troubling symptoms, compounded by a loss of sleep, throughout the year. Despite a battery of tests, there have been no conclusions as to what the exact issue is. While I have tried to work through it, the last thing I want is for it to affect the team.

“I am going to use this time to focus on a prescribed routine and medication, which has previously been difficult to start in the midst of a season. My goal is to come out of it a stronger and healthier version of myself so I can continue to lead this team to the Championship we are all working towards. I greatly appreciate Dan Gilbert, Koby Altman, our medical team and the organization’s support throughout.”

There were multiple instances where Lue either missed part of a half or an entire game this season. The symptoms are definitely not to be taken lightly. According to a report by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Dave McMenamin, Lue attempted to return to the bench Saturday night in Chicago but the team didn’t allow him to. Evidently, Lue was “coughing up blood” some nights.

Seeing it first hand after postgame press conferences, Lue was visibly exhausted and stress could likely be playing a part. He’s been fighting through the tough times the team has been going through and avoided stepping away twice this season.

Charlotte Hornets head coach Steve Clifford had his own battle with health problems earlier this season and temporarily left the team for those reasons. He has attempted to reach out to Lue, a friend and former player of his.

Other head coaches around the league—Joe Prunty, Steve Kerr, and Luke Walton—have all gone to bat for Lue when discussing the rigors of an NBA schedule and the toll it takes.

Altman supports the decision for Lue to get to the bottom of what’s going on.

“We know how difficult these circumstances are for Coach Lue and we support him totally in this focused approach to addressing his health issues,” he said.

LeBron James is glad that Lue is going to take some time to get better.

“Obviously, health is the most important with everything in life,” James said Monday after shootaround. “Not surprised by it at all. I knew he was struggling, but he was never not himself. He was just dealing with it the best way he could, but he was never not himself when he was around.

“It doesn’t matter what’s going on here. We play a great sport, our coaches get to coach a great sport, and you guys get to cover a great sports. But health is most important right now and that’s what our coach is doing right now and we’re all in favor for it.”

The latest piece of news is a blow to the already injury-ridden Cleveland group. Assistant coach Larry Drew will take over duties until Lue returns.

The good news for the Cavaliers is that Kevin Love can potentially return to the mix as soon as Monday night against Milwaukee.

Continue Reading

The Strictly Speaking Podcast


Trending Now