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How Much Is That Bogut in the Window?

The NBA buyout and waiver market is full of big names from the recent past that could help a playoff team down the stretch

(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

If the NBA trade deadline is the midseason party, then the post-deadline buyout and waiver market is more like a hangover where you wake up dazed and somewhat confused (“We did what with our first-round pick?”), and wondering how you wound up at brunch with Brandon Jennings.

The buyout and waiver market is usually slim pickings, but this year it includes some interesting names — a former champion, a once-dynamic point guard, Deron Williams (sorry, D-Will), and a shameless shooter who’s ready to bless a team with his quick trigger.

Let’s take stock of four players worth targeting in this market.

Deron Williams

Age: 32
Last Good Season: 2012–13

Would it be mean if I ventured to say that the last good season, heck, last good moment, of Deron Williams’s career was when this came out? In retrospect, this was his stock at its absolute highest.

In reality, though — and taking expectations into account — Williams’s last good season was his first year as a rebranded Brooklyn Net. Seventy-eight games with averages of 19 points and eight assists per game, and the last time he had a PER above 20. Williams’s move from Utah to the East Coast was looking good, until the magazine curse struck again the following year.

“Print is not dead. It’s killing me” — Deron Williams, probably.

How Much Can He Help?

The official addition of Williams to a Cavs roster in need of both a backup point guard and a “f****** playmaker” is perfect. Williams has averaged almost three more assists per game throughout his career than Kyrie Irving has, and though he may have lost most of his hair, he hasn’t lost the ability to create, take, and make his own shot.

In Cleveland, that could be enough to win an important playoff game and, perhaps most importantly, LeBron’s favor.

Andrew Bogut

Age: 32
Last Good Season: 2010–11

Bogut made an All-NBA team once. I’m serious. He used to be a legit offensive threat, and his 2009–10 third-team All-NBA selection came at the end of a season in which he averaged a career-high 15.9 points. But a series of ghastly injuries to his back, elbow, and ankle has turned him into a rim-patrolling defensive specialist and pick-setter. Bucks Bogut was the Best Bogut.

How Much Can He Help?

Reports are that Bogut will “hold talks” with Finals favorite Cleveland, as well as with hopeful Finals-crashers San Antonio, Houston, and Boston. This isn’t exactly LeBron’s Decision, but all of those teams could use an extra big man to give them five to seven valuable minutes of paint presence come April, when rowdiness and ruthlessness is encouraged.

One would assume Bogut only cares about titles at this point. If so, it really comes down to the Cavs and the Warriors (who he could return to, via a loophole in the CBA). So, what will it be? Reunion or revenge?

Jose Calderon

Age: 35
Last Good Season: 2013–14

Calderon’s last “great” year is probably 2011–12, when he averaged double-digit points per game and nearly nine assists for the Raptors. He spent the first seven and a half years of his career in Toronto. But in 2013–14, the then-32-year-old played in 81 of 82 games for Dallas, averaging 30.5 minutes a contest while shooting 46 percent from the field overall and 45 percent from behind the arc. That’s almost as impressive as owning a pig farm.

How Much Can He Help?

At the expense of guard Briante Weber, who had signed multiple 10-day contracts with Golden State, all reports indicate that Calderon will be a Warrior. The Warriors have gone from needing size at the start of the season to needing guards. But Calderon? He’s averaged only 12 minutes per game in Los Angeles, and the Lakers are 17.8 points per 100 possessions worse when he’s on the court. Calderon is likely just there to fill minutes, but that’s neither Warriors-like, nor good.

I, for one, cannot wait until we get basketball Twitter shouting into the void about how the Warriors have Steph and Shaun Livingston and, somehow, Calderon is still out there in the second quarter of a playoff game. Calderon could be Steve Kerr’s bench muse, filling the role Leandro Barbosa played last season.

Brandon Jennings

Age: 27
Last Good Season: 2013–14/TBD?

The youngest of this bunch, Jennings could still have his best basketball in front of him. The eighth-year guard was waived by the Knicks and freed from the clutches of the triangle offense, which apparently, he wasn’t good enough for.

2013–14 was the last season Jennings played 80 games or more. In Detroit, he took a rather lofty 14 shots per game, with only 15.5 points per contest to show for it, but he also had his highest assist-per-game number of his career (7.6) for a Pistons team that couldn’t even win 30 games.

How Much Can He Help?

Jennings was born to shoot, but he wasn’t born to be a starting point guard. If reports are true that the Wizards covet him, he’s likely going to flourish as one of their key bench scorers. After getting Bojan Bogdanovic in a very “meh” trade, getting Jennings might even be a better move.

He’ll likely frustrate Washingtonians with his shoddy shot selection but could he liven up your Twitter timeline, explode for 30, and win you a playoff game? It’s a question tempting enough to make you willing to take the risk for the sake of an answer.

An earlier version of this piece incorrectly stated that the Lakers were 17.8 points per possession worse with Jose Calderon on the court; the correct stat is 17.8 points per 100 possessions.