NBA Lockout's Amnesty Clause: What It Is, and 5 Teams That Could Use It
If the NBA lockout ever comes to an end, a big change will be the new amnesty clause. The variation of the clause will allow any team to get out of a big contract without taking a hit to the salary cap.
For example, if the clause was active a few years ago, as Eddy Curry was eating his way out of the league, the New York Knicks could have eaten his contract and spent their extra millions on a player or players who would, you know, play. The clause also can be an attractive bargaining chip for a trade, just as expiring contracts have been and continue to be.
Whether it is by simply absorbing the contract or via trade, here are five teams that could benefit from the new “Curry Clause.”
Cleveland Cavaliers: Baron Davis
A no-brainer. When playing inspired ball, Baron Davis can still be one of the better point guards in the NBA. Coming off the bench or keeping the seat warm for No. 1 overall pick Kyrie Irving on a lottery team will lead to poor effort from Baron Davis and his beard.
Davis is owed 30.7 million dollars over the next two seasons. Trading Mo Williams for a first round pick that became No. 1 overall and getting to shed Davis’ contract? It's no Return of the King, but Cleveland actually came out on top in this one.
Orlando Magic: Gilbert Arenas
The only question with this team is do they use the clause on Gilbert Arenas’ awful contract, or Hedo Turkoglu’s? Both have been huge busts, but Arenas actually is making nearly double ($62.4 through 2014) Turkoglu.
Orlando has to get Arenas off the books. They will have money to play with to find some role players around Dwight Howard. If they use it right, they may have a chance of keeping the best center in the game in town.
Washington Wizards: Rashard Lewis
The Wizards swapped their salary problem (Arenas) for Orlando’s. It is time to say goodbye to Rashard Lewis, but the Wizards are in a unique situation here. There are plenty of teams that need to get money off the books and would be willing to say goodbye to a productive veteran to do so. With Lewis’ contract gone, the Wizards have plenty of cash (only $23.6 million committed for 2011-12) to spend on a pricey vet.
The best trade partner would be the Memphis Grizzlies. They proved they can win without their highest-paid player, Rudy Gay, by subbing him for a committee of productive role players. The team needs to shed money to sign Marc Gasol to a long-term deal, and could use the amnesty clause on Lewis.
The Wizards would get a two-way star and another athlete for John Wall to throw alley-oops to. The unit would be the most improved team in the Eastern Conference and an immediate playoff contender.
Portland Trail Blazers: Brandon Roy
Put this one in the sad but true category. There was a time when Brandon Roy was worth every penny of the $15 million per year he stands to make until 2015. Unfortunately, chronic bad knees have robbed him and the Trail Blazers of that athlete.
No matter the circumstance, a player you would be lucky to get 20 minutes per game for 60 games from is not worth a max deal. Roy would be a nice player off the bench with a contender for an average salary.
LA Lakers: Metta World Peace
I have never seen a worse fit than Ron Artest in the Los Angeles Lakers' triangle offense. I doubt Metta World Peace will be a much better player with this team, even without the triangle. With his declining skills, questionable character and terrible contract ($21.8 through 2014), there is not a chance for the Lakers to trade him.
The team peaked with Peace as Ron Artest when he drained that dagger three in Game 7 of the 2010 NBA Finals, a shot that had no business going in. With Matt Barnes, the team gets what Peace should provide at small forward, but without the baggage. The Lakers need to amnesty Mr. Peace and sign a solid point guard.