Following the February 9 trade deadline, the next big date to watch is March 1. Players waived after March 1 are not eligible to play in that season’s playoffs. Effectively, that’s the last day for playoff teams to add anyone who is on another team’s roster after the trade deadline.
The way this happens is that the player is waived by his current team. Upon clearing waivers, which the vast majority of players do, they become a free agent. In many of these cases, players and their former team will come to an agreement to buy out the remainder of their contract. This means the player gives back some portion of their guaranteed salary in order to become a free agent.
Sometimes these buyouts occur immediately on the heels of the trade deadline and the player clears waivers by the end of the weekend. For others, the buyout negotiations may run through the All-Star break and get completed before the end of the month. But in almost all cases, any significant buyouts will occur by March 1, to allow that player to remain playoff-eligible.
Here are some key players to keep an on eye on for the 2023 buyout market. In most cases, these are veterans on an expiring contract. Some may have some salary that goes into next season, and it’s very rare for a deal running more than two seasons to be bought out. In addition, most of these players are either out of their team’s rotation, or they are blocking minutes for a younger player to get into their team’s rotation. Or their teams are expected to make other changes before the deadline, which will push them even further to the backend of the roster.