With the trade deadline having come and gone with little more than a whisper, a new trend in the NBA has emerged: player buyouts.
Time for a quick history lesson. It has always been an option to buyout a player’s contract, but since the new CBA of 2011, buyouts have become more prevalent options for team-building as player contracts have become less desirable to burden through trades. But what does a “buyout” really mean, and why are they more common, especially this year?
Under the new CBA regulations, maximum contracts are now 5 years where they were previously 7. With few players actually getting one of these max contracts, however, that leaves most players with 4-year contracts or less. What this boils down to is most players having “short” contracts relative to the pre-2011 season where it was common to find 5-7 year contracts. With players having shorter contracts, the possibility of them becoming a free agent in the near future is far more likely, forcing ownership to think twice about trading for that role player that will turn into a two month loan.
With buyouts, however, the player essentially becomes a free agent midseason. When a team “buys out” a player, they are basically placing that player on waivers after mutually agreeing to do so with the player and his agent. As soon as the player and the team degree on the terms of this “professional divorce,” teams can swoop in and negotiate their own contracts with said player, often at a bargain for what the player was previously worth.
Now let’s focus on this year’s buyout market.
As teams finalize their teams in the all-out Tank-war of 2014, several big name assets have surfaced as free agents due to buyouts, namely Metta World Peace, Beno Udrih, and Danny Granger.
San Antonio has been mentioned in rumors for acquiring all three of these players, but only World Peace and Granger seem to be even possibilities for this already deep team. Udrih is a solid backup point guard that knows the Spurs system and can bring some efficiency off the bench, but with the resurgence of Patty Mills in the last couple of weeks, Udrih would seem to be nothing more than an insurance policy if, God forbid, Tony Parker were to suddenly go down.
That leaves the man formerly known as Ron Artest and former All-Star Danny Granger as possible Spurs contributors. Each player can bring some defensive intensity off the bench at the small forward position. What remains to be seen is if either player could step up and contribute in vital playoff games.
Granger has yet to actually be bought out after being traded to Philadelphia in the eleventh-hour of the trade deadline, but it is currently all but imminent. He has yet to prove that he still has what it takes both offensively and defensively after being plagued by injury the majority of the last two seasons. He was great for Indiana while healthy, but seems much more risk than reward as of late.
So here lies World Peace. Needless to say, he has come a long way since the Malice at the Palace, but is he a good fit for this grizzled Spurs team?
Metta would be the perfect spark plug off the bench with his intensity alone. Sure he’s lost a step in the last few years, but he is a great locker room presence that has Championship experience with the Lakers. Add that to Duncan, Parker, and Ginobili’s ring count and you’ve got a stout group of veterans that are more than capable of willing a team to victory against any opponent.
So even if the Nando De Colo swap for Austin Daye during trade season didn’t satisfy your asset-acquiring needs, there is still time to add that last piece to the puzzle. And if the possibility of a World Peace signing doesn’t excite you all too much, at least admit that his jersey would be a nice addition to your Spurs collection.
After all, everyone dreams of World Peace, right?