NBA Roundtable

2012 Late Season Buyouts

In Free Agency on March 17, 2012 at 12:17 pm

I’ll update this post as more buyouts happen.

The buyout date to be eligible to play for another team in the playoffs is March 23rd. So we have just under a week for this situation to play out.

There have been a couple of players waived or bought out over the past few days. Here is a short list:

  • Ronny Turiaf – signed with Miami
  • Terrence Williams – signed with Sacramento
  • JJ Hickson – unexpected buyout – signed with Portland
  • Anthony Carter
  • Greg Oden – out for season
  • Andres Nocioni
  • Jason Kapono
  • Chris Johnson – signed with New Orleans

Probable additional buyouts

  • Derek Fisher – now bought out – signed with OKC
  • Boris Diaw – bought out – Spurs are the frontrunner – signed with Spurs
  • Marquis Daniels
  • Brian Cook
  • Ryan Hollins – unexpected buyout – signed with Boston


Ronny Turiaf and Terrence Williams are obviously the prized free agents of this group.

  • Ronny is a very good backup center who plays with terrific energy and commitment. He is a solid defender but a limited offensive player and a very weak rebounder.
  • Terrence Williams is the most gifted player here and has bonafide star potential but his decision making on the court is still a train wreck. Unlikely to help in the short term but a terrific long term project for someone to work with. Has the capacity to be a high level defender/rebounder at either guard spot. Has an excellent handle and playmaking skills for a two guard and is good enough to transition to the point. Very good at creating separation from his defender and creating shot-attempts but his shot-selection is absolutely abysmal. Not a small forward. A two or a one. Not a three.

Update: JJ Hickson

  • Hickson is a very good finisher around the basket as a four or five but has a very limited offensive game outside of 7-10 feet. His lack of a jump-shot limits his offensive value as a PF unless paired with a center who has a quality jump-shot. Defensively, Hickson is a slightly below average defender. He has a very poor understanding of team defense but gets by in large part due to his impressive athleticism. An above average rebounder. Very similar overall player to Chris Wilcox (who Hickson would be a great replacement for in Boston).

The rest

  • Anthony Carter is an excellent third string PG to low level primary backup PG. A solid defender/rebounder and a steady hand at running an offense albeit a limited playmaker and scorer. Nice insurance for a team looking to reinforce their PG depth.
  • Jason Kapono hasn’t shown much in the last few years but presumably he hasn’t forgotten how to shoot the ball so he still has some value at the end of someone’s roster as a situational substitute.
  • Andres Nocioni is a combo-forward who lacks the quickness to play the three and the size to play the four. Plays with a lot of heart but his body is failing him. Doesn’t offer much.
  • Greg Oden is out for the season and may miss a large chunk of next year too. Not a candidate for anything for the time being.
  • Chris Johnson – I haven’t seen much of him this season but appearantly he has bulked up some. Not quite as freakishly skinny as he was last season for the Celtics and Blazers. Still, judging from his stats, it looks like he still has a long way to go before being a serviceable NBA center.

Probable buyout candidates

  • Derek Fisher is a dodgy defender and a very streaky (mainly bad streaks) offensive player. There are about 45 point guards playing at a higher level than him at this point in his career. Still, he could be a useful backup PG for someone. His experience and veteran savvy still has value to a few playoff teams.
  • Boris Diaw is a quality power forward who still plays solid defense (versatile defender, smart team defender) and is a good offensive player with an excellent handle, passing ability and two point jump-shooting skills. Also, a solid post player. A lousy rebounder. He could help a playoff team.
  • Marquis Daniels has struggled mightily since his back injury/surgery. Not finishing shots that he normally makes. Major liability offensively and not doing enough as a defender/rebounder to make up for it. Not really an NBA level player at this point but hopefully a long summer will help him get his body and game correct and he’ll be ready to make a comeback next season.
  • Brian Cook is a 6-10 jump-shooting big with three point range that offers nothing outside of that one skill.

Update: Ryan Hollins has been bought out

  • A decent defender who plays with quickness and mobility rather than strength. A solid team defender but a bit below average as a man-to-man defender. One of the worst rebounding fives in the league. A very limited offensive player but his athleticism allows him to finish some impressive plays around the rim and be a threat in pick and roll sequences.


JJ Hickson, Golden State Portland

The Warriors have zero big man depth and plenty of minutes to offer following the departure of Ekpe Udoh. This is a good place for Hickson to be in a contract year. He’ll get court time and a solid amount of touches.

Update: The Blazers have waived Memo Okur and used their trade exception to sign JJ Hickson off the waiver wire. Hickson was in New Orleans at the time watching the Warriors play in full expectation of signing with Golden State as soon as he cleared waivers. Portland stepped in late in the game and snared him away.

Anyway, really good signing for Portland. Their big man rotation looks awfully weak outside of LaMarcus Aldridge especially with the recent departures of Marcus Camby (starting five) and Gerald Wallace (who play some PF for them).

The rest of their bigs are – Joel Przybilla who has looked painfully slow and immobile since returning from injury last season + Craig Smith who is a deficient defender/rebounder and solid role player level post scorer + Hasheem Thabeet who is a third string level center with good long term potential but is unlikely to be in the Blazers plans past this season so that potential doesn’t matter a damn + Kurt Thomas who is the one quality rotation big man on the roster outside of Aldridge. A good defender/rebounder with a nice midrange jumper offensively.

So there is lots of opportunity for JJ Hickson to claim some playing time here.

  • His lack of range offensively as a power forward can be compensated for reasonably well by LaMarcus Aldridge or Kurt Thomas who are both above average jump-shooting centers and can provide proper spacing for the Blazers offense.
  • Hickson provides more size and athleticism than Craig Smith. Not as refined a scorer but less of a liability as a defender/rebounder.
  • By far, the Blazers most athletic big man after LaMarcus Aldridge.
  • My expectations wouldn’t be too high for Hickson. He is still a somewhat below average rotation PF with some troubling flaws (intelligence, team defense, jump-shooting) but he should be able to give the Blazers some useful minutes and be a small upgrade for them.

Derek Fisher, Oklahoma City

Sensible signing for both team and player.

Oklahoma City needed a reliable backup PG due to Eric Maynor’s season ending injury and Reggie Jackson was clearly not up to that job. Derek Fisher needed to find a home on a contender where he would receive regular minutes and be able to be a quality contributor. Mission accomplished for both player and team.

Terrence Williams, Sacramento Kings

Pointless signing for a club in disarray.

This team has too many problems to overcome already. Problems which are crippling the team. Adding someone like Terrence Williams who is a problem-player himself + who doesn’t complement your current talent is only going to make matters worse.

By referring to T-Will as a problem-player here, I don’t mean his character and off the court issues but his maturity level on the court. He is an awful decision maker who plays himself out of minutes with his horrid shot-selection and high number of turnovers.

Unfortunately, the Kings have several other projects to work with in the same vein + some off court issues + a bunch of high usage non-defender/rebounder role players to try and circumvent.

Chris Johnson, New Orleans

Hard to see him playing much there once Okafor returns from injury. Should see some backup minutes at the five until then though.

Ronny Turiaf, Miami

Excellent addition for the Heat.

Miami had only three rotation worthy big men on their roster this season in Chris Bosh, Udonis Haslem and Joel Anthony. Bringing in a fourth quality big man is a significant boost for their depth.

Ronny Turiaf is a 6-10 270lb center who plays with terrific energy and intensity. He is a good defender who plays quality post defense and alters shots around the basket. His rebounding is fairly awful and offensively he is a skilled but incredibly passive and hence limited player.

Turiaf is quite similar to Joel Anthony in many ways with the one main difference being his heft vs Anthony’s lack of bulk. That extra muscle/strength will be a valuable option matchup wise – in one of those situation’s where Anthony’s lack of bulk/size becomes problematic –  come playoff time.

Boris Diaw, San Antonio Spurs

An excellent acquisition for San Antonio. Diaw is still a solid rotation worthy power forward and will give San Antonio some much needed added depth to their big man rotation.

The Spurs bench looks much stronger this season given the improvement from Tiago Splitter, the additions of Boris Diaw and Danny Green, and, the recent acquisition of Stephen Jackson with last summer’s draft pick Kawhi Leonard playing well enough to move into the starting lineup. Add in a Gary Neal and a Bonner plus a Patty Mills to round things out.

I think the Spurs now truly have one of the better benches in the league. Just outside the top five, top ten bench.

Kyrylo Fesenko, Indiana Pacers

Not a buyout but a recent free agent signing so I decided to plump him down right here.

Fesenko has excellent size at 7-1, 285lbs and good quickness/mobility and overall athleticism. That is his virtue. Very physical player.

Unfortunately, he is also one of the dumbest players in the league who frequently makes mistakes when in the game and is prone to panic-attacks when his teammates pass him the ball on offense.

Still, Feseneko has some really impressive physical attributes and his potential as a defender/rebounder and limited offensive player is clear for everyone to see. A nice prospect/project to have as a third string center.

In the immediate sense, Feseneko is a horrid offensive player + a below average rebounder due to poor focus + and a below average defensive player who is capable of quality spells but struggles to maintain them (again due to bad focus on the task at hand).

Ryan Hollins, Boston Celtics

Not wild about this signing for Boston.

I would have liked to have seen them sign a bulky center with physical toughness. Someone who can provide more of a contrast to Greg Stiemsma and give them something different, skill-set wise, to Stiemsma when required.

Ryan Hollins, while a very good third string center, does not offer that contrast (or more accurately, enough of a contrast to Stiemsma).

Still, at least Ryan Hollins can fill a role and will give Boston a little more depth than they had before. Decent move.

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