The Los Angeles Lakers intentionally left a roster spot open heading into the 2023-24 season so the team could have the flexibility to bring in a buyout target. As one of the premier contenders in the NBA, the Lakers are going to be in the running for any player who is bought out.
With just under a month of the season in the books, fans have an idea not only of what the Lakers may need, but it is also clearer which teams are likely going to sell off assets. The buyout market is starting to take a very loose shape.
It is early, and a lot can change, but there are some compelling buyout targets that could really help the Lakers in their push for championship No. 18.
Gordon Hayward could be a buyout target for the Lakers
Gordon Hayward is in the last year of a four-year, $120 million contract that he signed with the Charlotte Hornets. Hayward’s big deal has not necessarily worked out for the Hornets, who continue to be among the worst teams in the NBA.
While Hayward is no longer worth that price tag, he still has value to the right NBA team, especially as a buyout target. While the Lakers are deep in the wing department, there is no such thing as too much depth and Hayward would provide the team another slash-and-kick option to bring off the bench.
Like Kevin Love a year ago, Hayward’s value as a rotational player has been understated because his salary is so high. Just because he is not worth his current price point does not mean that he isn’t a viable NBA player.
Charlotte has no real reason to keep him around and it is just a matter of time until he is bought out. There is a chance that he could be moved because he is an expiring contract but even then, he would likely be bought out by his new team.