NBA Players Most Likely to Be Amnestied Next Summer
With another deadline for using the amnesty provision come and gone, the list of NBA players with awful contracts has truly become a select club.
As of 5:00 p.m. EST on Tuesday, July 17, Elton Brand (76ers), Ryan Gomes (Clippers), Brendan Haywood (Mavericks), Chris Andersen (Nuggets), Luis Scola (Rockets), Josh Childress (Suns), Darko Milicic (Timberwolves) and Andray Blatche (Wizards) were dumped by their respective teams and made available to clubs with cap space via the waiver bid process.
So who does that leave?
In the following slides, you'll find a rogue's gallery of underachievers who, for one reason or another, survived the chopping block in 2012. Nevertheless, they are all but certain to be sent packing in the summer of 2013.
Chicago Bulls: Carlos Boozer
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
2013-14 Salary: $15,300,000
It’s possible that Carlos Boozer draws too much heat from Bulls fans.
He is a solid scorer, if uninspiring, on a team that desperately needs to put points on the board. In fact, his per 36 minute averages (via Basketball-Reference.com) are just about flat to his days in Utah.
Last season, he finally began to develop chemistry with Bulls center Joakim Noah, which is something that Chicago had hoped to see out of the gates.
That being said, the Bulls may still shed him from their books in 2013 for two reasons.
Taj Gibson is a starting quality power forward, and will be paid like one very shortly. If Omer Asik’s offer sheet from Houston is any indication, a deal in the $8-10 million per year range for Gibson may be a foregone conclusion.
In addition, the Bulls may have a cheaper frontcourt scoring option in Spanish league star Nikola Mirotic. Mirotic, whose draft rights the Bulls own, is probably a few years away (via ESPN) from coming to the NBA. However, the promise of playing the minutes vacated by Boozer could lure him over sooner.
Milwaukee Bucks: Drew Gooden
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
2013-14 Salary: $6,687,400
Drew Gooden had been cruising along like the journeyman talent that he is until 2010, when the Bucks inexplicably decided to float him a $32 million, five-year offer.
Coach Scott Skiles wasn’t behind the move, that's for certain. A defensive stickler and notorious hard case, Skiles has played Gooden—a bad defender—grudgingly during his tenure with Milwaukee.
Now that the Bucks have a trio of young frontcourt studs in Larry Sanders, Ekpe Udoh and 2012 draftee John Henson, they have all the incentive in the world to preserve Skiles’ sanity by sending Gooden to the waiver wire.
Miami Heat: Mike Miller
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
2013-14 Salary: $6,200,000
Heat fans' most recent memories of Mike Miller are fond. He scored 23 points in a closeout Game 5 of the NBA Finals, going seven for eight on three-pointers, all of which were shot while he nursed a blindingly painful back.
Still, he’s owed $6.2 million and $6.6 million in 2013-14 and 2014-15.
An injury-prone player, Miller’s ailments are only likely to get worse—not better—at 32 years old.
Expect sentimentality to give way to cap logic in the summer of 2013, when the Heat exercise the amnesty clause to correct their worst signing of the Big Three era.
Detroit Pistons: Charlie Villanueva
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
2013-14 Salary: $8,580,000
The question isn’t “why amnesty Charlie Villanueva?”
The question is, why amnesty him next season? That is, as opposed to last week, when the entire city of Detroit would have volunteered to drive him to the airport.
Shedding Villanueva’s contract wouldn’t have got the Pistons under the cap this summer.
However, by the summer of 2013, when Corey Maggette, Jason Maxiell, Rip Hamilton (bought out in December 2011) and Will Bynum’s contracts are set to come off the books, dumping Villanueva will make Detroit one of the biggest players, cap-wise, in free agency next offseason.
Fans should rest easy. Villanueva will be ceremoniously shown the door in just 12 months.