In the NBA, player contract buyouts are a mechanism by which a team and a player can mutually agree to terminate the player’s contract before it expires. This can happen for a variety of reasons, such as when a team wants to free up cap space, when a player is unhappy with their current situation, or when a player wants to pursue other opportunities.
Player Contract Buyouts in the NBA
The terms of a contract buyout are typically negotiated between the team and the player, and can include a payment of some or all of the remaining salary owed to the player. However, there are some rules and restrictions on how buyouts can be structured, particularly in relation to the salary cap.
For example, if a player is bought out in the middle of a season, the team is still responsible for paying the player’s remaining salary for that season. However, the amount of that salary that counts against the team’s salary cap is reduced by the amount of the player’s new salary with their new team, if they sign with one.
Additionally, if a player is bought out and then signs with a new team, that new team is limited in how much it can pay the player. The new team can only offer the player the minimum salary for their years of service, with the player’s former team responsible for paying the rest of the salary owed. Now that we’ve covered the basics of player contract buyouts, let’s take a look at the top 5 buyouts in NBA history.
Top 5 buyouts in NBA history
Carmelo Anthony (2018-2019): $25.6 million
In the 2018-2019 season, the Houston Rockets bought out Carmelo Anthony’s contract just 10 games into the season. Anthony had signed a one-year, $2.4 million contract with the Rockets, but was not fitting in well with the team’s style of play.
Joakim Noah (2018-2019): $18.5 million
The New York Knicks bought out Joakim Noah’s contract in the 2018-2019 season, just two years into a four-year, $72 million deal. Noah had fallen out of favor with the team and was not playing well.
Josh Smith (2014-2015): $14 million
The Detroit Pistons bought out Josh Smith’s contract in the 2014-2015 season, just halfway through a four-year, $54 million deal. Smith was not playing well and was not a good fit with the team.
Larry Sanders (2014-2015): $13.3 million
The Milwaukee Bucks bought out Larry Sanders’ contract in the 2014-2015 season, just two years into a four-year, $44 million deal. Sanders had been suspended twice for drug use and had other off-court issues.
Tyrone Hill (2003-2004): $10 million
The Philadelphia 76ers bought out Tyrone Hill’s contract in the 2003-2004 season, just two years into a seven-year, $45 million deal. Hill was not playing well and was not a good fit with the team.
The NBA player contract buyouts are a way for teams and players to mutually terminate contracts before they expire. While the terms of a buyout can vary, there are rules and restrictions in place to ensure that teams do not abuse the system to circumvent the salary cap. The top 5 buyouts in NBA history are a testament to the fact that even highly-paid players can find themselves in situations where a buy happens.
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