Analyzing the Best NBA Buyout Deals

Pete Koehler

Jimmer Fredette to the Bulls – This could not be a better fit for Jimmer. The red-hot Bulls are desperate for shooting; when you’ve only got two shooters on the roster and those two gentlemen are D.J. Augustin and Mike Dunleavy, you’ve got problems. Lineups with these guys on the bench can go frigid from the field and can make generating the open driving lanes the Bulls thrive off of a daunting task. The fit is also terrific because the Bulls already have a mostly competent backup PG in Kirk Hinrich, meaning Fredette can play off the ball and function as a secondary ball handler and omnipresent spot-up threat. I doubt even Tom Thibodeau – who certainly should be in any Coach of the Year discussions – can turn Fredette into an average defender, but Thibodeau’s stifling defensive schemes should be able to mostly hide him, allowing him to be a net positive contributor. It’s hard to completely blame the guy for not thriving in the toxic Kings situation in which he never saw consistent minutes, but if Jimmer can’t make it in Chicago, his days in the Association might be numbered.

Caron Butler to the Thunder– This was a necessary move at the time that looks all the more brilliant in the wake of the news that shooting guard Thabo Sefolosha is out four to six weeks with a calf strain. The Thunder, whose overall depth is much improved fostered by the development of their young players, quietly had depth issues on the wing, where their ability to go small was already slightly hampered by the lack of a true small forward beyond Kevin Durant. These small ball lineups that have had a lot of success this year would often slide Durant to the four and Perry Jones or Sefolosha to the three. With Thabo’s absence, they need another piece that can allow Scott Brooks some lineup flexibility, which is key in ensuring that he doesn’t have an excuse to play the scrubs, namely Derek Fisher and Kendrick Perkins, extended minutes. At 34, Butler is nowhere near the form that made him an All-Star in 2007 and 2008, but he can still be an effective offensive player in small doses, which is all the Thunder will need out of him. Don’t be surprised if Caron shows a little extra pep in his step too, because who in their right mind wouldn’t if they went from backing up Khris Middleton on a terrible Milwaukee squad to backing up KD on a title-contender?

Danny Granger, Glen Davis to the  Clippers– Things have been so cheery in Lob City with the incredible developments of Blake Griffin and Deandre Jordan that Jared Dudley’s stink-bomb of a season has been a non-story. Dudley’s performance has thrust the aging Matt Barnes, who functions best as a sparkplug and lockdown defender off of the bench, into an increased starting role, where he has been fine, if unspectacular. The hope is that Danny Granger can shake off the rust to play starter-level ball and eat up some of Dudley and Barnes’ minutes. If he can’t, it’s not the death blow that will be the Clips’ downfall, but anything they can squeeze out of Granger helps out the other old legs on the wing. As for Big Baby, he will undoubtedly help a super-thin Clippers frontcourt; one that had been forced into using Hedo Turkoglu at the four. That’s scarier than seeing Big Baby across from you at the counter of a Travelodge. This is undoubtedly the bigger move of the two, though still leaves the Clips in dire need of a backup rim protector because there’s no way coach Doc Rivers wants to play Ryan Hollins any real minutes come playoff time.

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