Top 4 NBA Buyout Candidates with Strong Sixers Ties

Wayne Ellington

Getty Former Heat guard Wayne Ellington could be available via buyout before March 1.

The trade deadline may have come and gone quicker than an offseason without a Ben Simmons’ jumper. That doesn’t mean there aren’t still moves for the Sixers to make.

There are several NBA players looking at potential buyout deals from their current teams. Two of those guys have direct ties to the city of Philadelphia while two more previously spent time with the Sixers’ organization.

Buyouts occur when a team and player mutually agree to part ways at a sum usually less than the player’s contract is worth. These transactions must happen prior to March 1 for the player to be eligible to sign with a playoff team. In some rare cases, the player may decide to forfeit his whole salary in an effort to clear cap space for his new team. Conceivably, to win a championship.

The Sixers made two solid moves for shooters at the trade deadline but they may be inclined to add even more talent. Here are four names floating out there:

Wayne Ellington, Knicks

The 6-foot-5 wing is a Philly native who hails from Wynnewood, PA and starred at Episcopal Academy as a high schooler. Ellington, an 11-year veteran, has reportedly been talking to his agent about arranging a buyout from his current team. He is only averaging 5.1 points in 15.3 minutes per game this season for the Knicks but the longtime sniper has upped his game as talks of a possible buyout heat up.

Ellington went for 15 points against Atlanta on Sunday and 17 on Saturday versus Detroit. He has averaged 14.7 points while shooting 54.5-percent from three in his last three games. The Sixers could use that firepower — especially at a hometown discount.

Dion Waiters, free agent

The mercurial shooting guard was bought over the weekend after Memphis acquired him in a three-team trade last week with the Timberwolves and Heat. Waiters, a nine-year veteran, grew up in South Philadelphia and starred at Life Center Academy in Burlington, NJ.

He was once regarded as the No. 2 shooting guard in the country but a series of unfortunate injuries and weird off-the-court incidents have hindered a once-promising career, including ingesting too much edible marijuana. He only played three games for the Heat this season. Waiters could always shoot, though. He has averaged 13.2 points in 28.3 minutes per game for his career while shooting 34.8=percent from three. He has been linked to the Lakers.

Evan Turner, Timberwolves

The 31-year-old hasn’t been bought out yet but he sat out Monday’s game and was set to miss Wednesday’s contest as his agent works on a mutually-beneficial exit strategy from Minnesota. Turner, a 10-year veteran, was originally drafted No. 2 overall by the Sixers in 2010 but fell short of expectations. He was supposed to be Andre Iguodala’s sidekick and the new face of the franchise. It never happened.

But Turner has proven valuable as a role player on contending teams, including productive stints on the Pacers, Celtics and Blazers. Would the Sixers seek a reunion with their former golden child? As a backup point guard? Maybe. He has averaged 9.7 points in 13.2 minutes per game for his career, although he is not a threat from three.

Maurice Harkless, Knicks

Another player originally drafted by the Sixers — 15th overall in 2012 — is waiting for the Knicks to officially buy him out and rumors have him headed to either Dallas or Portland. However, the 26-year-old could find a surprising home back in Philadelphia as a stretch forward who can knock down perimeter shots, perhaps a more athletic version of Al Horford.

Harkless, an eight-year veteran, played 50 games for the Clippers this year and averaged 5.5 points in 22.8 minutes per game. New York acquired him as part of a deadline deal that sent Marcus Morris to Los Angeles. If they don’t intend to keep him around, Harkless wouldn’t be the worst option in a backup role at small forward. Keep in mind, he has averaged 7.2 points in 23 minutes per game for his career while shooting 32.6-percent from three.

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