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:
- March 1st: JaVale McGee, Sixers — No apparent forfeited salary. He’s currently on waivers.
- February 22nd: Victor Claver, Nuggets — No apparent forfeited salary. He signed with Russia’s Khimki Moscow.
- February 22nd: Thomas Robinson, Nuggets — Just how much salary he agreed to forfeit is moot, since the Sixers claimed Robinson and his full salary off waivers.
- February 21st: John Salmons, Suns — The Suns made it clear that they were waiving Salmons when they announced the February 19th deadline day trade that brought him from New Orleans, though the Suns didn’t officially release him until two days later, according to the RealGM transactions log. Salmons is a free agent.
- February 21st: Kendall Marshall, Suns — Just as with Salmons, the Suns communicated that they were waiving Marshall when they announced the February 19th deadline trade that brought him from Milwaukee, but it wasn’t until two days later that the Suns formally waived him, as the RealGM transactions log shows. Marshall, who’s out for the season with a torn ACL, is a free agent.
- February 21st: Kendrick Perkins, Jazz — It’s unclear how much salary he forfeited. He signed with the Cavs.
- February 21st: Andrei Kirilenko, Sixers — It’s unclear if Kirilenko gave up the rest of his salary to secure his release, though he was already on an unpaid suspension. He signed to play with CSKA Moscow of Russia.
- February 21st: Larry Sanders, Bucks — Sanders gave up more than $21.935MM of his four-year, $44MM deal, as Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders shows on his Bucks salary page. He’s a free agent, though he’s spoken of a return to basketball as an “if” and not a “when.”
- February 19th: Ish Smith, Pelicans — There was no apparent forfeited salary, but even if there were, Smith would have regained it when the Sixers claimed him off waivers.