Players available on the buyout market typically don’t become difference-makers for their new teams. Occasionally, productive players will join a playoff team late in the season and help buoy that club heading into the postseason, like Ersan Ilyasova and Marco Belinelli did for the Sixers in 2018 or Enes Kanter did for the Trail Blazers in 2019.
More often than not though, buyout-market additions don’t significantly move the needle. A year ago, the late-season signees who saw the most playing time down the stretch were Wayne Ellington (Pistons) and Wesley Matthews (Pacers), whose teams didn’t make it out of the first round of the playoffs. The eventual-champion Raptors signed a player off the buyout market, but that player – Jeremy Lin – barely saw any action during the team’s title run.
With that in mind, we don’t want to overstate the impact that this year’s post-trade-deadline acquisitions will have the rest of the way. Still, it’s possible one of those players could be this year’s Ilyasova, Belinelli, or Kanter, playing an important role for a team that wins a playoff series or two — or even makes a Finals run.
As our roundup of the 2020 buyout market shows, there are a few candidates who could potentially fit that bill. One is new Clippers guard Reggie Jackson, who was bought out by Detroit last month. While some league observers viewed the signing of Jackson as unnecessary for a team that already featured a fairly strong, versatile backcourt, the ex-Piston has looked great in his first six games in Los Angeles, averaging 9.2 PPG, 4.0 APG, and 3.5 RPG on .500/.409/1.000 shooting in a part-time role.
Although he was technically waived in December rather than bought out in February, Rockets forward Jeff Green also signed after the trade deadline and has excelled with his new team. Serving as a de facto center in Houston’s microball lineup, Green has posted 7.7 PPG and 2.5 RPG with an impressive .593/.500/.833 shooting line in six games (17.5 MPG).
In Milwaukee, new Bucks forward Marvin Williams hasn’t put up eye-popping numbers, but he has been a steady, reliable presence on the wing, providing solid defense against opposing scoring threats. His best game so far came against the rival Raptors, when he recorded nine points, five rebounds, and a pair of steals in just 16 minutes of action while frequently guarding All-Star forward Pascal Siakam.
Rockets forward DeMarre Carroll and Lakers forward Markieff Morris are among the other recent additions who are seeing part-time minutes for their new teams. It’s even worth mentioning Anthony Tolliver, who signed a 10-day contract with the Grizzlies on Monday and promptly knocked down 4-of-5 three-pointers in a blowout win over Atlanta. If he sticks with the team beyond his 10-day deal, maybe he could help Memphis hang onto the No. 8 seed in the West.
A handful of somewhat intriguing players are still on the free agent market, including J.R. Smith, Dion Waiters, Tyler Johnson, Isaiah Thomas, and Allen Crabbe. It’s possible one or more of those players will sign with a contender soon and play a key role in the coming weeks.
What do you think? Will any of these players really make a difference for their new clubs down the stretch and in the postseason? If so, which one do you think is the best bet to make an impact?
Head to the comment section below to weigh in with your thoughts!