5 best buyout additions of the 2023-24 NBA season

As the NBA buyout market winds down, here are the best additions made post-trade deadline.

Kyle Lowry, Philadelphia 76ers
Kyle Lowry, Philadelphia 76ers / Tim Nwachukwu/GettyImages
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It doesn't carry the same weight as the NBA trade deadline, but the midseason buyout market often yields several impactful free-agent additions. Even if buyout candidates generally consist of marginal contributors, that can mean the difference between an early postseason exit and a deep run.

Every contender is prowling the free agent pool for available talent. We have seen the Detroit Pistons buy out half their roster, or at least it feels that way. The Miami Heat already added two guards to their depleted backcourt, most recently signing Patty Mills — with 95 career playoff games under his belt — on Tuesday, per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

In addition to Miami, the Lakers, Sixers, Suns, Bucks, Thunder, Hornets, and Knicks have all added meaningful talent to their roster. There is more left to come as well, with Marcus Morris Sr., Killian Hayes, and Joe Harris all on the list of free agents that are still available.

Let's rank the best moves to date.

5. Aleksej Pokusevki, Charlotte Hornets

The Oklahoma City Thunder waived Aleksej Pokusevski to made room for veteran additions — a real turning point in the front office's approach, even if Poku himself wasn't too valuable to OKC's lineup in 2024. There's a decent chance the 7-footer from Serbia is on his last legs in the NBA, but it's too soon to discount the upside tied to the 22-year-old's unique physical attributes and intriguing skill set.

Pokusevski was limited to 34 games last season due to a leg fracture and other minor injuries, but his production when healthy was thoroughly intriguing. The lanky forward averaged 8.1 points, 4.7 rebounds, 1.9 assists, and 1.3 blocks on .434/.365/.629 splits in 20.6 minutes. He emerged as a legitimate floor-spacer on offense and a disruptor on defense. He has never been particularly polished, but it's difficult to find 7-footers with Poku's agility and skill level. Even if he hasn't put all the pieces together, he is still young.

The Charlotte Hornets will get a chance to operate patiently with Poku in a less competitive environment. It's a great fit on paper, with LaMelo Ball making life easier on all his teammates. Poku can run the floor, sprint into spot-up 3s, and offer complementary rim protection on defense. Once Charlotte's frontcourt gets healthy, the imposing strength of Mark Williams could perfectly counterbalance Poku's lack of muscle.

It's a total shot in the dark for Charlotte, but as far as buyout candidates go, none carry greater upside. If Poku can deliver on his mystery-box skill set, the Hornets could walk away from the buyout market as winners. His non-guaranteed contract for next season allows Charlotte an extended runway to test the former first-round pick's mettle.