2011 NBA Free Agency: What the Amnesty Clause Means For the NBA

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2011 NBA Free Agency: What the Amnesty Clause Means For the NBA
Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images
Brandon Roy.

After learning over the weekend that there is going to be a 2011-12 NBA season, the basketball world is preparing for a very interesting, short offseason. Additionally, there are some issues that have not been resolved completely and are not expected to become finalized until the end of the week.

However, one issue that is worth discussing is the amnesty clause included in the upcoming collective bargaining agreement.

The amnesty clause will allow teams to rid themselves of a bad contract. However, the rules and regulations of what else can be done with the amnesty provision are still coming out and will not be completely known until the finalized agreement is signed.

According to Chris Sheridan, a player that is released by the amnesty clause cannot be picked up by a team that is over the salary cap.

For example, if the Orlando Magic decided to waive Gilbert Arenas using the amnesty clause, he would ultimately be put on “secondary waivers,” where teams that are not over the salary cap can add him to their team at a smaller pay scale than his initial monster-sized contract.

Thus, this would allow those teams not over the salary cap to add players cut from other teams to their rosters.

The reason behind using this system is that it will allow for sharing and an attempt to level the playing field within the league. There are 30 teams out there, some of which are struggling financially, and this rule will help them. Additionally, this rule will disallow teams over the salary cap from adding more talent and widening the gap between themselves and the non-competitive teams.

Overall, the NBA appears to have a strategic plan in mind to bridge the gap between competitive and non-competitive NBA teams with the inclusion of an amnesty clause.

By disallowing players who are released by the amnesty clause to join teams over the salary cap, players who have been speculated to be released (via the amnesty clause) such as Brandon Roy, Gilbert Arenas and Mike Miller, amongst others, will most likely find a roster spot on a team that can use their skills.

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