Since the trade deadline passed, NBA teams now have to get creative when it comes to adding talent.
Although trades are prohibited, buyouts create huge opportunities for contending teams to add valuable veterans to their squads ahead of the playoffs.
Recently, the Boston Celtics signed Greg Monroe after he was bought out by the Phoenix Suns. He will most likely play a large role on Boston’s second unit and could end up being a major difference-maker down the stretch.
One surprising player has entered the buyout market.
Here’s a hint: he lasted 14 seasons in the NBA and appeared in 1,064 regular-season games and 119 playoff games, winning a title in 2013-2014.
If you guessed Boris Diaw, you’d be correct.
“Name to keep in mind as buyout market begins: Boris Diaw. Has NBA out with his French team Paris-Levallois. 35-year-old's camp has touched base with several playoff teams expressing interest. Great locker room presence, unselfish role player with 119 games of playoff experience,” Tim MacMahon of ESPN reported on Thursday.
Diaw spent just 11 games with the Utah Jazz last season and averaged 5.7 points, 1.9 rebounds and 2.0 assists in 18.5 minutes per game. He spent the previous five seasons with the San Antonio Spurs, and filled an important role on Gregg Popovich's club. Overall, he averaged 7.4 points and 3.8 rebounds in 22.5 minutes per game for the Spurs, but also appeared in a total of 69 playoff games for the club.
Therefore, he might be useful to have in the locker room for a contending team based on his experience alone. His presence in the locker room has been highly-regarded over the years as well.
After he left San Antonio to join the Jazz, Popovich expressed his sadness because he missed his drinking buddy.
"It made our dinners a lot less fun," Pop said when asked about the trade that sent Diaw to Utah, per Aaron Falk of the Salt Lake Tribune. "He was one of the only guys who would drink with me. I try to corrupt all my players with wine. He was easy. He was an easy target.”
The relationship between Pop and Diaw was so strong that the two would joke around mid-game.
“Sometimes we’re up 30,” Diaw said, “and he’s like, ‘I’m just going to leave you on the court so you can lose some weight.’”
Diaw made the decision to return to his native France in order to impact young players.
"I found it very motivating to take part in a project such as this one within a French basketball club,” said Diaw. “This decision wasn’t about the money, it was about joining a club that could benefit from my presence, where I could help guide and teach the young players.”
In 23 games for the French club he is averaging 12.0 points, 6.7 rebounds and 4.9 assists in 30.4 minutes per contest. He has also knocked down an impressive 42.6 percent of his three-point shots.
Although he may go overlooked, it’s worth pointing out what legendary player and announcer Bill Walton once said this about Diaw when he played for the Phoenix Suns earlier in his career.
“And when you look at Boris Diaw and what he's done to this franchise he's changed everything. We celebrate his brilliance and when you talk to Boris Diaw you realize what a classical human being he is. It was 201 years ago today, Beethoven's Symphony No. 3 in Eflat, which escorted in the age of Romanticism in music. And when I think of Boris Diaw, I think of Beethoven and the age of the Romantics. This guy has it all," Walton exclaimed.
If Walton shows up for any negotiations that Diaw is involved in, he'd most likely get signed.
Although it is most likely a long shot that Diaw gets signed, crazier things have happened.