NBA Lockout: Once Lockout Is Lifted, These 15 Teams Should Use Amnesty Clause
Since the spring, NBA teams have known that an Amnesty Clause, a rule that allows teams to eliminate bad player contracts under certain conditions is coming. Back in 2005, teams were able to shed bad contracts but only received luxury tax relief. When players are shed via Amnesty this year, 75% of the contract will not count against the salary cap. There is also rising support for teams to have two years to decide to amnesty a player, where as in 2005 teams had just two weeks. Many small market teams argue that this rule clearly helps big market teams the most. However, you can still expect all teams to be debating which players, if any they wish to shed. Each team has its own set of bad contracts, and there will be many teams that could decide to lose a player. These are 15 teams likely to set a player free.
Biggest Amnesty Candidate: Marvin Williams
Remaining Contract: 3 Years/ $23,288,000
At this point, the Hawks most likely won't be able to find a trade for this guy. He's been in the NBA for 6 years, got an extension and still hasn't proved to live up to the hype of being a No. 2 pick in the NBA draft. Williams continued to play poorly, putting up just 10.4 points a game and 4.8 rebounds a contest this past season. He also only started 52 games, and played his lowest amount of minutes in his career. Atlanta is slowly starting to give up on him, and I wouldn't be surprised if they decided to shed his contract.
Biggest Amnesty Candidate: DeSagana Diop
Remaining Contract: 2 Years/ $14,297,600
Diop hasn't had a good season in his whole career. He posted a PER of 5.39 this past season and has never done better than a PER of 12.40. He has been in the NBA for 10 seasons now and has never posted more than 3 points a game. He was once a player who was believed to have a huge amount of potential and was a lottery pick, but now he has been reduced to playing just 16 games off the bench last year for the Bobcats. They would love to shed his contract.
Biggest Amnesty Candidate: Baron Davis
Remaining Contract: 2 Years/ $28,800,000
Baron Davis isn't a bad player, but the Cavs should definitely consider shedding him. Especially now that they have No. 1 pick Kyrie Irving. He and Ramon Sessions, who started 38 games last year for Cleveland, can take care of point guard for the Cavs. Baron is only getting older, and his huge remaining contract is something that can't be ignored. It would be a wise move to save cap space by losing Davis, then they can go ahead and start the Irving-era once the lockout ends.
Biggest Amnesty Candidate: Ben Gordon
Remaining Contract: 3 Years/ $37,200,000
A lot of you might have thought that I was going to say that Richard Hamilton is the biggest candidate, but don't be too surprised. The truth is, Gordon is coming off a season where he had just 27 starts, 11.2 PPG, and a PER of 12.46. 37 million over the next 3 years is way too much to pay a bench guard. Hamilton has a bad contract too, but there was some interest from other teams near last year's trade deadline. This leads me to believe that the Pistons will still be able to trade Hamilton if necessary. Hamilton could prove to be a useful asset to contending teams and the Pistons could probably get a deal done. Gordon however, does not show much appeal to other teams, and Detroit should find cutting him a smart and crucial move.
Golden State Warriors
Biggest Amnesty Candidate: Andris Biedrins
Remaining Contract: 3 Years/ $27 Million
Biedrins is still the Warriors primary starting Center, despite the fact that he only gets 5 points and 7 rebounds a game, and shoots an awful 32% from the free throw line. Biedrins has the value of a bench player, and odds are nobody will want to trade for a bench player if they have to pay him 9 million a year. I'd expect Golden State to let him go.
Los Angeles Lakers
Biggest Amnesty Candidate: Luke Walton
Remaining Contract: 2 Years/ $11,780,000
Walton should be the one who the Lakers drop. He played just 9 minutes a game, he averaged 1.7 PPG, and he shot just 33% from the field. Walton has had seasons where he started for the Lakers, but his days with them may be over. One way the Lakers may be able to lose two bad contracts is if Walton retires. Walton's back condition is making him consider retirement, and he has been advised by some doctors to stop playing. If he retires, a player the Lakers could drop would be Ron Artest, who is owed $6.8 Million this upcoming season.
Biggest Amnesty Candidate: Darko Milicic
Remaining Contract: 3 Years/ $15,674,500
Milicic may have found a place in a starting role for the T-wolves, but his 8.8 points and 5.2 rebounds a game aren't anything too special. There are so many people who resent Milicic, the 2003 2nd overall pick, and have lost hope that he will become anything more than a mediocre starter. Although there is no urgency to cut him loose, you have to think that Minnesota would at least consider letting him go.
New Jersey Nets
Biggest Amnesty Candidate: Travis Outlaw
Remaining Contract: 4 Years/ $28 Million
Outlaw spent his first season with the Nets in a mostly starting role, starting 55 of his 82 games played. Even though he had never started more than 11 games, he put up his worst season, with a PER of 8.80. It was the only season in his career that he had a PER under 12, so it's obvious he had a significantly worse season than any he has ever had. With the Nets trying to make cap room to sign big names like Dwight Howard, they would happily set Outlaw free and rid themselves of having to pay the $28 million remaining on his contract.
New York Knicks
Biggest Amnesty Candidate: Renaldo Balkman
Remaining Contract: 2 Years/ $3,350,000
Balkman isn't a big contract, but the Knicks don't need him. They wouldn't let go of a guy like Ronny Turiaf; they've grown too fond of him. So although Balkman is only paid 1.7 million this year, he only played eight games last year, only three with the Knicks. They wouldn't be shedding a lot of space, but it's more room to sign another big free agent which seems to be one of their goals.
Biggest Amnesty Candidate: Andres Nocioni
Remaining Contract: 2 Years/ $14,150,000
Elton Brand will not be cut from Philadelphia's roster. Coach Doug Collins has a huge amount of support behind Brand, and he will not be leaving. Instead, I expect it to be Andres Nocioni. Nocioni is owed $6.65 million this upcoming year and he has not made a particularly big impact on the 76ers roster. He played just 17 minutes a game last year and put up a tad over 6 points per contest. His PER of 10.19 isn't very appealing, and he is the most logical choice if Philadelphia would end up cutting a player.
Biggest Amnesty Candidate: Josh Childress
Remaining Contract: 4 Years/ $27 Million
Giving Childress a 5 year contract worth $33 million after he had spent 2 years in Greece was a risky move. Even after his play in Atlanta, he probably didn't deserve that much money. So he ended up disappointing along with all the other Suns acquisitions, Hakim Warrick and Hedo Turkoglu. He played 54 games for the Suns and started only three. He found himself at the very end of the rotation by the end of the season. His five points a game and 49 percent at free throws were by no means impressive. The suns would be wise to cut him loose.
San Antonio Spurs
Biggest Amnesty Candidate: Richard Jefferson
Remaining Contract: 3 Years/ $30,492,000
It may not be urgent for the Spurs to drop Jefferson if they want to maintain the success they were having last season, but it should be an option that they consider. Jefferson is owed $9.2 million this season, $10.1 in 2012-2013, and $11 million in 2013-2014. That is a lot for a guy who is only putting up 11 points a game. Jefferson may still only be 31, but something has been affecting his play in the last couple years. He put up a career low in almost everything since his rookie year.
Biggest Amnesty Candidate: Gilbert Arenas
Remaining Contract: 3 Years/ $62,423,766
Arenas performed very poorly once he came to Orlando. He wasn't needed much so he only played 21 minutes a game, and he had a career low PER of 10.82. He only gave them eight points a game and shot just 34 percent from the floor. His career is plunging further and further, and his performance last season doesn't justify a reason for the Magic not to cut him. They will gladly erase the huge mistake they made when they took Arenas.
Biggest Amnesty Candidate: Brandon Roy
Remaining Contract: 4 Years/ $68,278,526
Getting rid of Brandon Roy would be an extremely unpleasant thing for Portland to do, but it may have to happen. They can't afford to keep hoping that Roy will get better. He has deteriorating knees and it is even possible that he may not be in the NBA for more than a few more seasons. Cutting ties with Roy is what Portland will have to do in order to truly start over. Otherwise their payroll will get out of control.
Biggest Amnesty Candidate: Rashard Lewis
Remaining Contract: 2 Years/ $45,942,000
The Magic were originally the ones to create Lewis into an overpaid monster. When they couldn't take him anymore they used his insane contract to swap for Gilbert Arenas with the Wizards. Now in 2011, this Amnesty rule is often referred to as the "Rashard Lewis rule". He is always the first player that comes to mind when thinking of bad contracts. The Wizards will be extremely happy to escape his contract and they will instantly become suitors for some good free agents. The Wizards will gain a huge amount of cap space, and gain the most out of this amnesty clause.