Sunday, November 27, 2011
11/27/2011 06:14:00 PM | Posted by Jacob Noble | Edit Post
The Amnesty Clause game is here, all in good fun.
Good news has arrived to NBA fans around the country. Not that the league is back and we will have basketball on Christmas day, but that the league and NBPA has agreed to an Amnesty clause! Remember when your favorite team signed that player for too much money over too many years? Well worry no more, he might be gone if your team chooses to use this new option.
The Amnesty Clause as defined by the league is:
• Each team permitted to waive 1 player prior to any season of the CBA (only for contracts in place at the inception of the CBA) and have 100% of the player’s salary removed from team salary of Cap and Tax purposes.
• Salary of amnestied players included for purposes of calculating players’ agreed-upon share of BRI.
• A modified waiver process will be utilized for players waived pursuant to the Amnesty rule, under which teams with Room under the Cap can submit competing offers to assume some but not all of the player’s remaining contract. If a player’s contract is claimed in this manner, the remaining portion of the player’s salary will continue to be paid by the team that waived him.
If you are like me and didn’t attend law school, this can be a bit confusing to the average reader. Basically, a team will get to use this clause only once in this CBA. It can be basically for any player signed prior to the new CBA (or even any player signed in the new CBA, I will have to get an expect on that). The player would be cut, however the team will still be responsible for that player’s salary. The way it would work on waiver claims, is all teams interested in the player’s services would then bid for him. The bid will basically be the amount of the current player’s contract that team bidding would be willing to pay. The team willing to pay the most of the remaining salary owed would win the player and that new salary. The next set of questions would be what part of the salaries paid hit whose salary cap. I would think the bid amount will hit the Cap and Tax but the remaining portion of the Amnesty clause wouldn’t. Now that we got this out of the way, let’s go team by team to see who is most likely to be amnestied.
There aren’t many bad contracts on this team outside of Joe Johnson, and even his contract is justifiable, not saying I agree but I see their reasoning. Joe is on the books for 5 years and $107,333,589. The Hawks would be responsible for this contract and it’s hard seeing any team willing to pay more than 50-60% of this contract for his services, leaving the hawks in approximately $40-$50 million dollars down the drain. Sure it would not affect their salary cap but would ownership take that large loss without a star player and cap space to do it all again? It is unlikely that the Hawks use this exception anytime soon.
Since there are no loopholes in this clause, the Celtics can’t use this method on Kevin Garnett and resign him for a veterans minimum, where he would still earn $20 plus million and the Celtics will have his cap space. They have no use for this clause at all, if anything they need to pay Rajon Rondo more money.
They might want to use this on Boris Diaw at $9 million per season, but with only one year left, it wouldn’t be worth wasting this. Corey Maggette would not be a bad candidate for this either with $21 million over two years. With Michael Jordan in the front office and not on the court, who knows what this management is capable of in terms of signing bad players for too much money. Tyrus Thomas is worth the 5 years, $40 million because of his age and ability, although a bit high. I do not see the Bobcats using this clause this season.
Carlos Boozer had a down year last year after signing a very generous 5 year, $75 million dollar contract. He would be most fans choice to Amnesty however, back to the Joe Johnson situation. Is it more valuable to hold onto Boozer or pay $20-$30 million dollars to a player to play for another team and have his cap space? You will essentially be paying double for a lesser quality player than Boozer. The clause doesn’t make sense for the Bulls right now either.
Finally a team that seems fit to use this clause to lure in some high priced free agents. The Cavs could use this on Baron Davis (5yrs, $42.6 million), Antawn Jamison (2yrs, $28 million) or Anderson Varejao ( 5yrs, $43 million). Most will assume to use this on Baron Davis and although I can’t argue why they shouldn’t other than that Anderson Varejao is more deserving. Playing in only 31 games last year and never scoring more than 10 points per game, does not warrant close to $9 million per season, especially since he is not any kind of specialist except for a hustle one. Brian Scalabrine is not worth $5 million, there is no way Varejao is worth double.
Hard to pick on the World Champion Mavericks but every team can improve. Brendan Haywood benefited from his era which Mark Cuban can now fix this mistake of paying an average center 6 years for $52 million dollars. This would allow the Mavs to sign Tyson Chandler for his $10 million plus per year contract. Shawn Marion would be another candidate for the amnesty clause but he is more valuable at 4 years, $32 million.
Only one candidate on the Nuggets worthy of receiving the Amnesty axe and that person is Al Harrington. Already been picked as most likely to follow Shawn Kemp’s lockout diet, Al Harrington is owed over $33 million in 5 years. No other Nugget has more than $20 million tied up in salary.
Joe Dumars became famous for picking Darko Milicic, winning a championship with “no superstar” and signed a bunch of bad contracts prior to the Lebron James free agency frenzy. This clause was developed for general managers like Joe. Now the question becomes who do they release? Ben Gordon signed a 4 years, $48 million dollar contract, Charlie Villanueva signed a 4 years, $31 million and Richard Hamilton is owed #37 million in three years. A team desperate to clear some wasted space and receive some cap relief, I think the Pistons would be best suited to use this clause on Charlie. Ben Gordon and Rip are more servable then Charlie, as Kevin Garnett said, he is a cancer to his team.
Golden State Warriors
The two largest contracts on the Warriors happen to be decent deals for those players. Monta Ellis being a top five scorer in the league is worthy of a 4 years, $44 million dollar contract. David Lee recently signed a big deal, and although he has had a rough season last year, he is still more valuable on the Warriors for 6 years, $79 million then paying $25 million to a player on another team. I don’t see Golden State using the clause this year but I can see it happening down the road on David Lee.
With Yao Ming gone, it is time for the Rockets to turn a new leaf and make space for a new superstar. They have a great second or third player in Kevin Martin. Very efficient and locked him down at 3 years, $34 million dollars. The player that will help them turn the corner would be to use Luis Scola’s 5 year, $47 million dollar contract on acquiring a superstar with the cap space the removal of Yao will add. Scola is a very nice player on your roster but no way is he worth almost $10 million per season. Daryl knows this.
A very young team that will have only $35 million in salary cap used up, they will not be looking to cut any one with the amnesty clause. They have to decide to sign long term and who to let go.
Los Angeles Clippers
The Clippers are another team under the salary cap that will need to sign Eric Gordon and Blake Griffin when their contracts expire. The Clippers could use this clause on either injury prone Chris Kaman or decreased production from Mo Williams. Both players are around 3 years, $25 million remaining on their contracts but I don’t think the Clippers use the clause on these guys.
Los Angeles Lakers
Clearly the declining of Kobe skills over the next four years along with the increase in pay, $108 million over 4 years, makes him a candidate for this clause, but that would be a PR disaster. The two candidates would be Ron Artest (4yrs, $28 million) or Luke Walton (3yrs, $17 million). I would pick this option for Luke over Metta World Peace because I still believe that Artest can play defense and help in the playoffs. Either way, I don’t see LA using it, it won’t help them achieve non-taxpayer mid level exception status being over $100 million in salary.
The Memphis Grizzlies have $59 million used in salary cap with Zach Randolph, Rudy Gay, Mike Conley, OJ Mayo, Marc Gasol (restricted FA), Tony Allen, Xavier Henry, Darrell Arthur, Greivis Vasquez and Sam Young. They will not be using this clause because the big money guys, Zach (5yr, $83 mil), Gay (5yrs, $82 mil) and Mike Conley (6yrs, $44 mil) are all worth their contracts at the present day. No use using the clause now opposed to later down the road with the increases in each contract and skill diminishing.
Here is how the Miami Heat can get out of Chris Bosh being maxed out at 6 years, $110 million. They would rather trade him to get more value in return, which is why this would never happen. There are rumblings of using the clause on Mike Miller who is owed $29 million over 5 years. I wouldn’t use the clause here either considering having Miller wouldn’t prevent the Heat from filling out the roster with a mid-level, bi-annual and every other clause available. The Heat will not be using the Amnesty clause this year.
Drew Gooden (5yr, $32 mil) should be the lone candidate for this. Milwaukee moved two other bad contracts of John Salmns and Corey Maggette.
Only $43 million tied into salary with 12 players under contract either in Rookie contracts (Love, Wesley) or low money deals (Darko, Tolliver). No use blowing this clause now but with Kahn, we never know.
New Jersey Nets
Having spent $40 million in salaries this up coming season, it’s hard to image that the Nets have a player they could use this clause on. No one outside Deron Williams and Travis Outlaw make over $5 million per year. So clearly, Travis Outlaw at $35 million over 5 years is not worth it and would allow New Jersey to sign another star next to Deron.
New Orleans Hornets
This all depends on if the Hornets will try everything they can to pair someone up with someone or if they end up trading him for a bunch of pieces. Either way, Emeka Okafor doesn’t seem worth the remainder of his contract which is $52 million over 4 years. I would use this clause to bring the salary below the cap by $18 million. He is the only one worthy of this but the league seems destined to finding an owner first.
New York Knicks
James Dolan gave everything he had for Carmelo and A’mare, I doubt he would use the clause on either of these two considering everyone else is under rookie contracts.
Oklahoma City Thunder
Only Kevin Durant (6yrs, $88 mil) and Kendrick Perkins (5yrs, $40 mil) are over $4 million per season or in a rookie contract. They will have to sign Russell Westbrook to big dollars soon anyway, no place to use the clause here.
In the same boat as the Hornets but with Dwight Howard, the Magic need to bring in a side kick for the future, not the veterans over the hill they have settled on. Hedo Turkoglu is owed $45 million over 4 years and Gilbert Arenas is owed $80 million in 4 years. They are over the Cap by close to $20 million and will not see the light of day in the free agent market until these deals as well as Jameer Nelson (3yrs, $23 mil), JJ Reddick (3yrs, $20 mil), and $36 million tied in with Quentin Richardson, Chris Duhon, and Brandon Bass. The Magic are much further than one amnesty clause from getting over the hump.
Elton Brand would easily be the victim for the 76ers to use the Amnesty clause on with $51 million due over three years. I don’t see the new ownership willing to take on that loss right off the bat. I see them standing pat at least for this first year.
Who not to use this clause on for the Suns? Steve Nash and Jared Dudley is all I can think of. They are not going anywhere. Vince Carter (2 yrs, $35 mil), Josh Childress (5yrs, $33 mil), or even Channing Frye (5yrs, $30 mil) would be a good candidate. This would be perfect to relieve them of the Vince Carter burden and use that $18 mil cap to bring them under for the first time in a while.
This can become sensitive, what I am about to say. The Trailblazers should use this clause on Brandon Roy because $82 million over 5 years is too much for an injury prone player whose future is uncertain. Wesley Matthews is reasonably priced at $32 million over 5 years and Aldridge earned every penny of his annual salary as long as he continues playing like he did last season. Brandon is the victim in this case because he will hurt the team more than he would help with his injuries and salary burden.
Francisco Garcia wouldn’t be a bad amnesty player with $24 million on the books over 4 years. Everyone else is on rookie contracts. Must be nice Maloofs.
San Antonio Spurs
Bye bye Richard Jefferson and your $38 million over 4 years. Don’t listen to me though, take it from ProjectSpurs.com
This is a tough one with all short contracts for around $5-$9 million. You could see them using it on anyone from Jose Calderon (3yrs, $29mil), Leandro Barbosa (2yrs, $14mil) or Amir Johnson (5 yrs, $30 mil). But I can also see them not using it at all this year, which will most likely be the case.
Unless you aren’t a fan of Al Jefferson (3yrs, $42 mil) or Mehmet Okur (2yrs, $20 mil), then you probably agree this clause will not be used this year.
Rashard Lewis will make $63 million over 3 years. As Lil Wayne says, that’s Beaucoup money. Take $20 million off salary cap and the Wizards have $40 million in free agent money. No brainer here.
Would love to hear your opinions! Comment on who you would Amnesty for your favorite team.
*All salary information was taken from Sham Sports