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NBA buyout deadline has more allure than trade deadline
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David Lee, Anderson Varejao and Andrea Bargnani have already hit the market. No decision has been made on Joe Johnson.

The buyout deadline is shaping up as more interesting than the trade deadline.

Players who were on a roster this season have to be waived by March 1 to be eligible to play for another team in the playoffs. Once the trade deadline passes, there are always some high-priced veterans who either weren’t moved, or were shipped to an undesired location, who negotiate their release to sign with a contender once they’ve cleared waivers.

Lee had lost a rotation spot in Boston, was waived when the Celtics didn’t make any moves before Thursday’s deadline, and was signed by Dallas on Monday. Varejao was dealt to Portland when Cleveland acquired Channing Frye and has agreed to a deal with Golden State, a person with knowledge of the deal said Sunday night.

Bargnani was gone shortly after new general manager Sean Marks took over, though it’s unclear how much interest, if any, there is in the former No. 1 overall pick.

Johnson could follow him out of Brooklyn if he sought a deal, though he hasn’t said if that would interest him. There would surely be interest in the former All-Star if he does become available.

Tyronn Lue knew immediately he was sticking around in Cleveland. Kurt Rambis could make a case in New York if he gets the Knicks into the playoffs.

Then there’s Tony Brown.

He became Brooklyn’s interim head coach when Lionel Hollins was fired last month, and didn’t even really have a boss at the time since general manager Billy King was re-assigned the same day. Sean Marks got the GM job on Thursday and wasn’t even asked about Brown during his introductory press conference, which probably shows how much chance people think Brown has to keep his job permanently.

But he says he isn’t just auditioning for Marks, anyway.

Five coaches have been fired this season, and only Lue when he replaced David Blatt got any long-term commitment. That’s usually the case for interim coaches, who understand their seat on the bench is temporary until a coaching search, perhaps unless they engineer a big turnaround.

Brown won’t with a Nets team lacking talent. But the former assistant to Doc Rivers and Rick Carlisle, among others, can show he’s worthy of a look at a head job somewhere.

“A lot of teams are looking to see how I’m doing in this position so it’s a resume-type deal here,” Brown said, “and if I can run a team and run it successfully — obviously the record’s not going to be what you’d want — but I’m in a position where I can help improve players on this team and that’s kind of where my focus is going to be.”

Things to watch this week:


uBACK TO CANADA: In another rough season in Minnesota, the Timberwolves thrived in Toronto. They return Wednesday to Andrew Wiggins’ hometown, where Zach LaVine won the slam dunk contest and Rising Stars Challenge MVP awards during All-Star weekend, and Karl-Anthony Towns took the Skills Challenge crown.


uHORNETS BUZZING: Charlotte has won five straight overall and four in a row on the road, both season highs. Next up is a visit Wednesday to Cleveland for a matchup between the two hottest teams in the East.


uANOTHER CHANCE: Jimmer Fredette is expected to get another NBA opportunity Monday, as the Knicks plan to sign him to a 10-day contract. Fredette was MVP of the NBA Development League All-Star Game, but the former NCAA player of the year at BYU has averaged just 6.0 points for three NBA teams.


uSATURDAY SHOW SEQUEL: The Warriors and Thunder staged a good one on Feb. 6, a 116-108 Warriors win in Oakland despite 40 points from Kevin Durant. They do it again this Saturday in Oklahoma City.