The amnesty provision, though providing the basis for all kinds of conjecture in the whirlwind, post-lockout offseason, was designed for the purpose of giving teams an out. It can only be used once by each team at an unspecified juncture between now and the start of the 2015-16 season.
This particular bit of the new collective bargaining agreement provides an annual window for teams to rid themselves of unwanted contracts throughout the life of the document, and the nature of the standard upscaling salary makes the amnesty option all the more reasonable as the years roll on.
So it was with Elton Brand. After helping anchor Philadelphia's staunch defense last season, the Sixers will reportedly use the amnesty provision on the final year of Brand's contract, worth $18.2 million, per Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports.
The Sixers are still on the hook for paying Brand what he is owed, but by using the amnesty provision, they have opened up the space necessary to both re-sign Spencer Hawes and, as also reported on Friday (again via Wojnarowski), add free-agent swingman Nick Young.
From here, Brand undergoes the amnesty waiver process, in which teams under the salary cap are given the opportunity to bid for his services. Many will undoubtedly be interested in adding a very serviceable big man on a one-year deal, making it all but certain that Brand doesn't make it to unrestricted free agency by way of going unclaimed.
That, in turn, essentially limits the pool of possible teams to five:
Considering the Mavs' reluctance to add any salary beyond the 2012-13 season, their need to fill out the roster and their desire to surround Dirk Nowitzki with remotely decent players, picking up the remaining year on Brand's deal makes a lot of sense.
Brand could end up eating minutes earmarked for Tristan Thompson, but might the Cavs' raw, undersized center pick up a thing or two from an equally undersized pro like Brand?
The Blazers aren't likely to be a playoff team this year, but Brand would be a nice addition to a frontcourt that could use some filling out. Brand may not be an ideal fit, but he would still provide quality minutes for a team still trying to figure itself out.
If the Bobcats are flirting with Antawn Jamison, why not entertain the option of picking up Brand? He would sop up minutes, put up some points, pull down some boards, be a model citizen and bring hometown appeal as a Duke alum.
Ideally, New Orleans would be in the market for a younger vet to bring in on a multiyear deal, but Brand would certainly work in a pinch and wouldn't at all compromise the team's long-term flexibility.
Honestly, there's not a bad landing spot among them, even if it's possible that all five teams will miss the postseason this year, but such is the nature of the waiver system.
It's pretty much unthinkable for a team under the cap to be a legitimate contender, and rare enough that a regular playoff club could sneak under the cap line. Thus, Brand will be courted by a handful of middling teams in varying stages of disarray, all potentially interested in the minimal cost and investment of his services.