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Buyout Market’s Evolution Puts Small Markets at a Disadvantage

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A handful of NBA executives voiced their displeasure with the buyout process in a recent feature from Sports Illustrated’s Howard Beck.

NBA: Brooklyn Nets at Detroit Pistons Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA buyout market is upon us and the most-recent transactions indicate that the post-deadline movement is bolstering the strongest rosters in the biggest markets. In the aftermath of Andre Drummond’s arrival in Los Angeles and LaMarcus Aldridge’s new deal with the Nets, an anonymous NBA executive raised concerns about the process in a conversation with Sports Illustrated’s Howard Beck.

According to the executive, teams in small markets are finding themselves at a bigger disadvantage as the buyout market evolves.

“It’s a definite concern,” says another team executive working in a small market. “Without a doubt, players that are entering the buyout market will only be looking at contending teams. And most of the time, historically, their preference has been to go to the teams in the bigger markets. ... And it gives teams an opportunity to sit back and add players on minimum deals that they normally wouldn’t be able to acquire.”

A different small-market GM spoke to Beck about the decisions that teams face when negotiating with potential buyout candidates while they are still under contract.

“It’s very, very hard for the small markets or mid markets to say we’re not gonna buy you out,” said one small-market GM, “because you can’t get players there anyway. If you don’t do them favors, an agent will say, ‘I’m not gonna bring my guys to you.’”

The Blazers currently have two open roster spots and can sign a veteran player while still avoiding the tax line.

You can read Beck’s full story at Sports Illustrated.