The trade deadline is over and newly acquired players are slowly beginning to learn the ins and outs of their new respective team. The week following the trade deadline is the time teams buyout players they don’t view as worthy of being on their roster, and because of this, teams above .500 typically sign these unwanted players for very cheap, hoping they will make a significant impact. But why should it come down to these newly acquired buyout players on how successful their new team is in the playoffs?
Two big names that have popped up recently in the buyout rumor mill are Danny Granger and Caron Butler. Both players have obviously stated they want to sign with a title contender, which realistically boils it down to the San Antonio Spurs, Miami Heat, Indiana Pacers, Los Angeles Clippers and the Oklahoma City Thunder. Ideally, these players would like to see moderate playing time and have the opportunity to make an impact on their new team. The problem with this scenario is, why does a title contending team need to bring in a player this late in the season to help make an impact?
Around this time of year in the NBA, playoff-bound teams are tightening their rotations, usually bringing it down to about eight or nine players. This is done to help build true cohesion as a unit before the playoffs begin. This also goes against what these newly acquired waived players are really after — a chance to have significant minutes. More than likely, both of these players will be on the latter end of the rotation for whichever team they end up on, and most likely wont break that cycle unless a starter or a quality role player goes down with an injury. These players are acquired as “insurance policies,” so the fact that this much hype is made on where they might end up is ridiculous.
Any title contending team that needs significant minutes out of either Granger or Butler wont be title bound. Right now, several teams are vying for Granger’s attention, while Butler’s future looks clearer with Miami. Neither player will receive significant playing time, and that’s all right. If either Miami or Oklahoma needs to rely on these players for significant impact, then there is a significant problem.