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Anthony Bennett May Be Available

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The former No. 1 pick is set to be bought out. Any takers?

John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

According to Yahoo Sports, Anthony Bennett has reached a contract buyout agreement with the Minnesota Timberwolves. This sets into motion a 48-hour waiver period where teams have the opportunity to claim Anthony Bennett and the remainder of his contract. Only a few teams have this option, per Adrian Wojnarowski:

Four teams have the salary cap space or the trade exemption necessary to absorb Bennett's $5.8 million contract: the Cleveland Cavaliers, Philadelphia 76ers, Portland Trail Blazers, and Utah Jazz.

The most interested party among these teams is likely the Portland Trail Blazers.

Bennett played his best basketball as a pro for two Blazers coaches - Jay Triano and David Vanterpool - this summer on the Canadian national team, and undoubtedly Blazers general manager Neil Olshey will lean on his staff for intel on Bennett. Portland is still $13 million below the minimum salary threshold, which could factor into a possible decision to claim Bennett.

Indeed, with the need to meet the salary floor, the Trail Blazers may just take on Bennett's contract because they have few options left to spend the money. (On a side note, how stupid is this? Requiring teams to throw money around/away...)

However, it's not clear if the Blazers would be willing to commit $5.8 million to acquire Bennett off waivers. Paul Allen, the Blazers' owner, has shown a reluctance to pay the luxury tax in order to retain free agents, even when the team was competitive (aka before LaMarcus Aldridge left). It may be hard for Mr. Allen to pay about the MLE's worth of money for someone with as shaky of a track record as Anthony Bennett has. Instead, the Blazers could decide to wait for Bennett to hit free agency (and be available for as little as the minimum). This would allow the team to use their cap space to prey on capped teams that could be willing to pay Portland a first-round pick or two in order to unload an ugly contract.

That's where the Los Angeles Clippers could come in. If* Anthony Bennett does reach free agency, the Clippers should give the kid a look and a recruiting pitch. At only 22 years old, he is younger than Austin Rivers. Similar to Austin, Bennett bombed out with his first team, but is looking for an opportunity to start over and prove himself. He has definitely shown flashes of talent and promise. As much as people rag on Bennett for being a 'bust', he was basically thrust into the role of being the number one overall pick, even though his selection there came as a surprise to many.

Granted, for the Clippers to sign Bennett, that would require Bennett to want to be on the Clippers. With the Clippers deeper than ever before, it could be hard for Bennett to carve out any significant minutes for himself. On the other hand, the Clippers' depth is made up mostly of veterans that could very well not mesh well together, or become injured during the season. Some projections foresee Paul Pierce grabbing minutes at power forward. The question for Bennett would inevitably come down to whether he would prefer to rebuild his value as a focal point of a team, or as a young player surrounded by veterans that could help him develop and look better than he would otherwise.

Regardless of his answer, the Clippers should inquire to see whether Bennett is interested.

*This may very well be nothing more than a hypothetical. There are already rumblings that the Philadelphia 76ers will also give Bennett a serious look. For Bennett's sake, let's hope he avoids that mad experiment of amassing random and miscellaneous pieces.