Like all other contending teams in the league, the Lakers have become more than familiar with the buyout market in recent seasons, for better or for worse. The likes of Markieff Morris, Ben McLemore and Andre Drummond have all joined the Lakers midseason, and had varying levels of impact.
In best-case scenarios, the Lakers have landed a player that can contribute to the playoff run and help them capture a title, as Morris did. The team will need that sort of production from multiple players this season after not making any moves at the deadline.
Technically, there is no start date for when buyouts can begin, but there is an important end date. For a player to be playoff eligible, they must be waived by March 1. And playoff rosters will be set this year on April 11, which means any player signed after that date will not be eligible for the postseason.
According to Bobby Marks of ESPN, here is a list of players who could be — and some of whom have been — bought out, as well as a breakdown of which teams currently have roster spots without cutting anyone:
Potential buyout candidates and free agents: Robin Lopez (Orlando), TJ Warren (Indiana), Tomas Satoransky (San Antonio), Rodney Hood (LA Clippers), Tristan Thompson (Sacramento), Ben McLemore (Portland), Gary Harris (Orlando), Kent Bazemore (Lakers), Gorgui Dieng (Atlanta), DeAndre Jordan (Lakers), DJ Augustin, Michael Carter-Williams and Enes Freedom.
Open roster spots: Atlanta, Boston (3), Charlotte, Denver, Detroit, Houston, Miami (2), Milwaukee (3), Minnesota, New Orleans, Orlando, Philadelphia, Toronto, Utah and Washington.
Unsurprisingly, the Lakers have been linked to a number of the top targets this year, including former NBA Finals foe Goran Dragic. In order to sign Dragic or any other buyout player, the Lakers will have to waive a player. While they had an open roster spot earlier in the season following the trade of Rajon Rondo, that spot was eventually taken by Stanley Johnson.
Any number of Lakers could be waived, though, with the likes of DeAndre Jordan and Kent Bazemore well out of the rotation when the team is healthy. It’s effectively a formality, but one the Lakers will have to go through; and one that will cost them money.
Below, we’ll be constantly updating a list of stories featuring the latest rumors about the Lakers and the buyout market. Bookmark this page to see the players linked to the Lakers, potential targets that have been bought out, Lakers who may be let go, and written and audio analysis of all of it.
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