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Top 20 NBA buyout candidates: Goran Dragic, Tristan Thompson and Dennis Schroder among names to watch



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The buyout market tends to be fairly predictable. Accomplished veterans on bloated contracts count down the days until the deadline passes and their teams can officially say they’ve exhausted every avenue towards a possible trade. When that day arrives, that anticipated slew of veterans is granted its freedom. 

There are plenty of those more traditional buyout candidates this season, but a few genuine surprises as well. Unexpected trades, roster-space maneuvering and potentially disgruntled impending free agents have helped create a fairly interesting class of buyout candidates. Not all of these players are going to hit the open market. Not all of them are even buyout candidates, but rather, players who have been or could still be waived outright. But the following 20 players represent the meaningful portion of the mid-season free-agent market.


  • Dennis Schroder: Fans mock Schroder for turning down an $84 million contract last season, but how many buyout players are ever only a year removed from being offered an $84 million contract? That is the strange position Schroder finds himself in after being traded to Houston at the deadline. He was the Sixth Man of the Year runner-up two years ago. He’s an inconsistent shooter and tends to bite off more than he can chew offensively, but he’s a speed demon and a genuine pest at the point of attack defensively. He has the upside to become one of the best buyout additions ever. Watch out for Milwaukee after the Bucks traded Donte DiVincenzo and lost Pat Connaughton to an injury. A Lakers reunion has also been rumored, but guard is the one position in which they have actual depth. Houston could simply keep Schroder, but that’s another veteran they’d have to devote minutes to. A buyout makes the most sense here.
  • DJ Augustin: Augustin was waived to make room on Houston’s roster to bring in Schroder in the Daniel Theis trade. His shooting has improved since a disastrous stint in Milwaukee, but at his age, he’s little more than an extra veteran for a bench.
  • Gary Harris: Harris flat out forgot how to shoot in his last few years with the Nuggets, but once he got to Orlando, he rediscovered the form that once helped make him one of the NBA‘s highest-paid shooting guards. Harris brings a little bit of everything offensively and remains a useful defender against most guards. He should be in a playoff rotation if he wants out of Orlando. 
  • Goran Dragic: Dragic has wanted a buyout for quite some time, and after getting traded to San Antonio, his wish has been granted. Dallas is the immediate favorite given his friendship with Luka Doncic, but watch out for Miami, who can now legally re-sign him thanks to the San Antonio trade. 
  • Eric Bledsoe: A buyout for Bledsoe feels unlikely for now. He has $3.9 million guaranteed for next season, and the Blazers would probably like to explore trading him in the offseason before committing to paying him any of that money. If the Blazers want to focus on their younger players, though, a return to Milwaukee could be a fit for Bledsoe. 
  • John Wall: The Rockets haven’t negotiated a possible buyout with Wall for months. Will that change now that the deadline has passed and no Russell Westbrook trade is coming? Probably not, but Wall would be extremely coveted if granted his free agency. The Heat and Clippers have both been linked to him in the past, and even if he’s declined physically, he was a perfectly serviceable starting point guard in Houston last season before an injury ended his season. 
  • Russell Westbrook: Okay, I cheated. There are 19 buyout candidates listed here because there is no universe in which the Lakers buy Westbrook out. That just needed to be said. They’d never turn his salary slot into dead money. They’re going to want to use it as a trade chip in the offseason when it becomes an expiring deal.


  • Tomas Satoransky: San Antonio took on Satoransky’s contract in the Hernangomez trade just to pick up a second-round pick, but neither would have figured into their long-term plans. Bigger ball-handlers are hard to find in-season, and even if Satoransky isn’t going to join a playoff rotation, he’d be a nice extra body to have around for injuries and back-to-backs.
  • DeAndre’ Bembry: This was one of the more surprising moves of the day. The Nets needed to waive a player in order to clear the necessary roster space to trade for Ben Simmons, but Bembry has been a fairly effective two-way wing this season. Players like that, even ones as unproven as Bembry over a meaningful sample, are almost never available in the middle of the season. Someone is going to bring Bembry in and see if he can build off of his success in Brooklyn.
  • Kent Bazemore: The Lakers are looking to make an addition or two on the buyout market, and that is going to mean waiving at least one player to clear room on the roster. Bazemore has been relegated to emergency duty only, but remember, he opened the season as a starter. He’s still a solid defender and shot 40 percent from behind the arc in Golden State a season ago. Struggling in the dysfunction of this Lakers disaster doesn’t mean Bazemore can’t help a normal team.
  • Kevin Knox: The Hawks landed Knox in the Cam Reddish deal, but just as Reddish is struggling to find minutes on a crowded Knicks team, Knox has been plastered to Atlanta’s bench ever since he arrived. The Hawks already have an empty roster spot to potentially use on the buyout market, but Knox would likely prefer to go somewhere that could give him steadier minutes. If Atlanta doesn’t plan to re-sign him, it might not mind letting him go. 
  • Rodney Hood: The Clippers took back Hood and Semi Ojeleye in the Serge Ibaka deal, and even though they probably aren’t going to be in the buyout market, the Clippers have a creative enough front office to see the benefits of clearing an extra roster spot. It’s an opportunity to audition players with 10 days and potentially take advantage of waivers (as they did with Rodney McGruder a few years ago). Hood has struggled mightily over the past two seasons, so he’s the likelier candidate here.


  • Robin Lopez: Hook shot enthusiasts, get ready. Lopez is stuck behind Mo Bamba and Wendell Carter in Orlando, but even in his 30s, Lopez is a good enough defensive player to contribute to a winner. Golden State has been interested in the past. They make the most sense as a team in need of center insurance considering the health issues basically all of their big men have endured. 
  • Juancho HernangomezUtah could probably use Hernangomez as an extra shooter, but he likely isn’t going to be in the rotation immediately upon joining the Jazz. If Utah wanted to create a roster spot for a different buyout player, Hernangomez would be a candidate to be waived. Given his shooting, though, he can absolutely play some spot minutes on a good team.
  • Tristan Thompson: Thompson was dealt from Sacramento to Indiana, and even though the Pacers could use steady center minutes with Domantas Sabonis gone and Myles Turner hurt, Thompson would likely prefer to play for a contender. The Lakers may not qualify any longer, but his relationship with LeBron James and the chance to potentially play real minutes over Dwight Howard and DeAndre Jordan could make them an interesting destination.
  • Paul Millsap: Brooklyn spent months looking for a new home for Millsap. They eventually managed to offload him in the James Harden trade, but the 76ers will likely waive him or buy him out in order to upgrade on the buyout market themselves. The Lakers have been viewed as a potential destination. 
  • DeAndre Jordan: Jordan was signed in the hopes of recapturing the physicality and size that helped the Lakers win the 2020 championship. He’s largely been unplayable, and the Lakers will surely seek a replacement through the buyout market. 
  • Derrick Favors: The Thunder held onto Favors through the deadline in case they needed his expiring contract as salary ballast, but a respected veteran like him would probably prefer to try to join a winner. Sam Presti tends to grant such requests, especially when he’s trying to tank, but Favors has struggled over the past few seasons and probably shouldn’t be in a playoff rotation anymore. 
  • Enes Freedom: Yet another casualty of the Boston-Houston trade, Freedom has already been waived. Teams have infamously found that you “can’t play Kanter” in the playoffs, but his offense can be very helpful to second units in the regular season. Of course, given his recent political commentary, teams likely won’t be particularly excited by the idea of bringing him into a locker room. 
  • Gorgui Dieng: Another Hawk that is struggling to see the court. There are teams that would love a shooting big man that can still protect the rim a bit, but considering Atlanta’s win-now priorities, they’ll likely hold onto Dieng as insurance rather than risking a buyout. 

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Nikola Jokic Has A 2-Word Answer On What It Meant To Make Finals History



(Photo by Megan Briggs/Getty Images)


The Denver Nuggets have built their project around Nikola Jokic.

Jokic is one of the most unique superstars in today’s game, and we’re not talking just about the way he handles himself on the basketball court, but also off it.


He’s humble, down to earth, and the ultimate team-first kind of guy, and it showed again with his response when asked about how he felt about making history in the NBA Finals.

Jokic became the very first player to record at least 30 points, 20 rebounds, and 10 assists in an NBA Finals game, but he claims it, honestly, didn’t mean much to him.

That’s classic Nikola Jokic 101, and a response that would make Gregg Popovich or Bill Belichick blush.

Jokic has never been about the individual accolades or the recognition; he’s all about winning and taking care of business.


You won’t find many players with that same mindset.

They’d all talk about how humbled they are about making history and how that meant a lot to them and how they grew up dreaming of a moment like that; but not Jokic.

The Nuggets have now stormed right back to get the series lead and home-court advantage back in this series.

They ran the Miami Heat off their own court and never took their foot off the gas, this time being able to prevent another fourth-quarter comeback as it happened in Game 2.

There’s not much you can do against a player that’s able to do what Jokic does, and this series could end quite fast if Erik Spoelstra doesn’t find a way to slow him down.


The post Nikola Jokic Has A 2-Word Answer On What It Meant To Make Finals History appeared first on The Cold Wire.

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NFC South pass defenses pummeled in Madden 24 trailer. Can they fight back?



NFC South DBs take it on the chin in the Madden trailer. The good news? The teams have been active in trying to upgrade their secondaries.

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CFL West Preview: Blue Bombers once again the team to beat



The Winnipeg Blue Bombers have been the class of the CFL the past three seasons — and don’t appear ready to relinquish that lofty status.

About the only thing Winnipeg has done wrong the last three campaigns is lose last year’s Grey Cup in a close encounter against the underdog Toronto Argonauts — denying the Blue Bombers a rare three-peat.

You get the feeling if football had a best-of-seven series instead of a winner-take-all showdown for the championship, it would have been Winnipeg coming out on top. But full credit to Toronto, which made the plays when it needed to and was a worthy champion.


The stinging setback should only motivate the Blue Bombers, who have given Winnipeggers plenty to cheer about while the Jets have been spinning their wheels in recent years.

Once again, everyone is chasing the Blue Bombers in the West Division this year. The 2023 season kicks off Thursday night with a West showdown between the Calgary Stampeders and visiting B.C. Lions.

Here’s a look at the West teams in order of predicted finish.

Winnipeg Blue Bombers

Last season: 15-3, first in West Division, lost to Toronto in Grey Cup.

Head coach: Mike O’Shea (82-58 in eight seasons in CFL, all with Winnipeg. Has won two Grey Cups) 


Starting quarterback: Zach Collaros (Entering 12th season in CFL, fourth with Winnipeg. CFL’s most outstanding player last two seasons).

The skinny

The Blue Bombers fell just short of becoming the first team to three-peat since Edmonton won five in a row from 1978 to 1982. One bad fourth quarter was no reason to reinvent the wheel. The Blue Bombers signed O’Shea to a contract extension and have most of the key parts back.

Collaros, the clear No. 1 player in the league, is the only opening-day starting quarterback from last year back in the role with the same club this season.

There was a bit of a hiccup in the pre-season with key free-agent receiver Kenny Lawler placed on the suspended list — Postmedia has reported it’s for immigration issues. The Bombers have said Lawler, who returns to the team after playing in Edmonton last year, will miss three to four weeks.

However, the Bombers are deep at receiver. Dalton Schoen, last year’s rookie of the year, is back and gives Collaros a sure-handed target.

Calgary Stampeders

Last season: 12-6, third in West Division, lost to B.C. in West semifinal.

Head coach: Dave Dickenson (73-29-2 in six seasons in CFL, all with Calgary. Won 2018 Grey Cup).


Starting quarterback: Jake Maier (Entering third season in CFL, all with Calgary. First year as starter).

The skinny

There was a changing of the guard last year when Maier replaced Bo Levi Mitchell midway through the season. The Californian put up solid numbers (league-best 74.7 per-cent completion rate, 14 touchdowns, seven interceptions) before his season ended when the Stamps lost in the West semifinal for the third year in a row.

The Stamps did lose some key players in free agency — including defensive end Shawn Lemon (cut by B.C.), linebacker Jameer Thurman (Hamilton) and defensive lineman Folarin Orimolade (Toronto).

Offensively, Maier should be helped by league-leading running back Ka’Deem Carey.

B.C. Lions

Last season: 12-6, second in West Division, lost to Winnipeg in divisional final.

Head coach: Rick Campbell (61-77-2 in eight seasons in CFL, two with B.C. Won Grey Cup with Ottawa in 2016) 

Starting quarterback: Vernon Adams Jr. (Entering seventh season in CFL, second with B.C.).


The skinny

The Lions orchestrated a huge turnaround last year, going from 5-9 to 12-6 and falling one win short of a Grey Cup appearance. But, of course, they did that with star Canadian quarterback Nathan Rourke, who has taken his significant talents to the NFL after he was signed by the Jacksonville Jaguars.

When Rourke was hurt in mid-season last year, the Lions traded for a veteran in Adams Jr., who had fallen out of favour in Montreal. He kept the Lions afloat before Rourke returned for the playoff run.

The Lions hope Adams can return to 2019 form when he was a CFL East all-star. They also acquired Dane Evans, who struggled last year with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats after helping them reach the Grey Cup the past two seasons. It is an intriguing 1-2 punch at QB.

Receivers Dominique Rhymes, Keon Hatcher and Lucky Whitehead all finished in the top 10 in receiving yards last year. The big question is can they maintain that pace without Rourke.


Edmonton Elks

Last season: 4-14, fifth in West Division, missed playoffs.

Head coach: Chris Jones (57-51 in six seasons in CFL — three with Edmonton and three with Saskatchewan. He returned to Edmonton for a second stint last year).

Starting quarterback: Taylor Cornelius (Entering third season in CFL, all with Edmonton).

The skinny

Jones inherited a mess last year and the result was predictable. The roster was a revolving door during a true rebuilding season.


By year’s end, though, the Elks believed they identified a starting quarterback in the six-foot-five Cornelius.

The big quarterback has a top target in marquee free agent Eugene Lewis, a huge producer the past few years with a Montreal team that had trouble settling on a starting quarterback.

The Elks are on an astounding 17-game losing streak at home, a CFL record. They haven’t won at Commonwealth Stadium since before the pandemic in 2019.

To their credit, the Elks haven’t been above poking fun at themselves.

They have a real shot to end that streak in Week 1 when they host Saskatchewan.

Saskatchewan Roughriders

Last season: 6-12, fourth in West Division, missed playoffs. 

Head coach: Craig Dickenson (28-20 in three seasons in CFL, all with Saskatchewan).

Starting quarterback: Trevor Harris (Entering 12th season in CFL, first with Saskatchewan).


The skinny

A disaster of a Grey Cup-hosting season ended with the Roughriders missing the playoffs after losing their final seven games.

The Roughriders gave up a franchise-record sack total, had numerous off-field woes and stripped starting quarterback Cody Fajardo of his job late in the season when the team still had playoff hopes.

However, the team decided to retain Dickenson and general manager Jeremy O’Day, giving them a chance to clean things up after they guided the team to the West final the previous two seasons.

The big new piece is Harris, who revitalized his career in Montreal last year before signing with the Roughriders this off-season.


Linebacker Larry Dean anchors the defence after fellow LB Darnell Sankey departed for the XFL.

Week 1 Picks

B.C. Lions at Calgary Stampeders (-3.5), Thursday, 9 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. PT

Rematch of last year’s West semifinal — except with no Rourke. Including that game, Calgary was 1-3 versus B.C. last year. A message could be sent with a win here. PICK: Calgary

Hamilton Tiger-Cats at Winnipeg Blue Bombers (-5.5), Friday, 8:30 p.m. ET / 5:30 p.m. PT

Mitchell faces a massive challenge in his Hamilton debut. Winnipeg was 8-1 at home last season. PICK: Winnipeg


Ottawa Redblacks at Montreal Alouettes (-3.5), Saturday, 7 p.m. ET / 4 p.m. PT

Redblacks starting quarterback Jeremiah Masoli isn’t ready to return just yet from a season-ending leg injury suffered last year. That gives the start to Nick Arbuckle. This is Montreal’s first game with Fajardo as starting quarterback and Pierre Karl Peladeau, fresh off a Memorial Cup win with the Quebec Remparts, as owner. PICK: Montreal

Saskatchewan Roughriders (-2.5) at Edmonton Elks, Sunday, 7 p.m. ET / 4 p.m. PT

Harris returns to one of his former CFL homes in his first game as a Roughrider. Jones’ teams showed improvements in second seasons in his previous coaching stints with Saskatchewan and Edmonton. We expect the same this time around with the Elks. PICK: Edmonton

Odds from FanDuel on Wednesday afternoon.


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