Not too long ago, teams getting ready for a playoff run could look forward to some help on the margins by way of veterans getting bought out for one last shot at a ring. Almost none of those players ever swung a title, but there are plenty of instances where they helped. This year, however, that market as basically dried up, with the most impactful player moving being Goran Dragic, who hasn’t played all season.
This week on “The Hook,” Aaron Larsuel and I dove a little deeper into the topic to figure out what might be going on there.
We started, however, with an important discussion about “Love Is Blind.” Well, OK, I explained the show to Aaron, and marveled at what I consider one of the shadiest moves in my far-longer-than-it-should-be history watching reality TV. As Harrison and I mentioned yesterday, moments of brevity are critical in seasons like this one.
Alright though, back to reality. What this disappointing buyout market comes down to, in my opinion, are three factors:
- By adding two potential playoff spots, the NBA convinced several more teams that they have a chance at playoff revenue. Owners don’t want to just give potentially useful players away if it might help their competition benefit from a home play-in or a couple playoff games.
- Those advising players have wised up to the reality that once you get signed to a minimum contract, it’s hard to convince anyone you should be making more than that from there on out. Add to that how players who get bought out no longer have the benefit of Bird Rights, and it seems many players would rather stick out the rest of the season and hope to find a better situation next year.
- The Lakers suck. Hard to convince players to leave their current situations when you don’t really have a shot at a title.
There’s more to all those things, but that’s the gist.
From there, we jumped into a fun look at the rest of the league through the lens of who we think have actual chances at a ring this year. Aaron and I both gave our top five title contenders, and argued about the order we had them in. It also provided a look at how far the Lakers still have to go to get back into that conversation.
And for a short-form recap pod, check out Lakers Lowdown, in which Anthony Irwin recaps the previous day’s news and gets you ready for the day ahead in LakerLand, every weekday morning on the Silver Screen & Roll Podcast feed.