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‘Buyout Season’ Recap

Clippers coach/executive Doc Rivers used the term “buyout season” earlier this year in an apparent reference to the time between the trade deadline and March 1st, the final day players can hit waivers and remain eligible to play in the postseason for other teams. It’s something of a misnomer, since many of the players released during that stretch don’t come to buyout arrangements, but it’s as fitting a name as any for the brief stretch during which buyouts happen more frequently than at any other time of year.

Usually, a player who engineers a buyout deal with his team does so soon after he’s been traded. Such players are often poor fits for their new teams or otherwise displeased with their new surroundings to the point that they’re willing to give up some of their guaranteed salary just to have a chance at free agency. Some of the players who ended up in buyouts weren’t involved in trades, like Larry Sanders, but they’re the exception to the rule. Other players hit waivers without having been traded and without any hint of a buyout, just as they normally would at other times of the year, like Malcolm Thomas, whom the Sixers waived a week ago.

So, we won’t include Thomas or Kenyon Martin in our buyout season recap, since they were neither traded nor took part in a buyout. Since we’re defining the start of buyout season as the trade deadline, we won’t count Amar’e Stoudemire, either, since he was already waived and signed before the deadline passed. Aside from those exceptions, each player involved in buyout season is listed below with the date he hit waivers, the team that released him, and a summary of what happened next:

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