NBA Rumors: 5 Players Most Likely to Get Cut by the Amnesty Clause

John FrielAnalyst INovember 29, 2011

NBA Rumors: 5 Players Most Likely to Get Cut by the Amnesty Clause

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    It's Business 101, kids, and today we're going to learn about the grand idea known as the amnesty clause and how it can impact your NBA team.

    The amnesty clause, as defined by SI.com, "will allow each team to cut one player currently under contract and have that player's salary (which the team still must pay) vanish from its salary-cap number." In English, it basically means that an NBA team can cut any player under contract at any time and not have those fees attached to its salary cap.

    Basically, if an organization cuts a player that's making $10 million, it'll still have to give the player the $10 million, but it can cut that $10 million out of its payroll and have more money to spend on a free agent. It's a beautiful deal that will save a lot of teams the frustration of overpaying an underachieving player even though they'll still have to eventually get the player his money.

    It's a savior for every NBA organization because each one has that player that it regrets signing to a lucrative deal. The amnesty clause allows those organizations to cut that player making $8 million to average 10 points per, only once, and instead go look for someone that is more capable of living up to potential and actually earning his contract.

    General managers make mistakes from time to time, and this is their get out of jail free card. Here are five players that organizations may cut with the amnesty clause in place and these role players not living up to the expectations of their teams.

Mike Miller

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    To say the least, last season was quite the disappointment for the Mike Miller experiment in Miami.

    After Miller shot 48 percent from deep the previous year with the Washington Wizards, the Miami Heat made it a purpose to go out and sign the 40 percent career three-point shooter in Miller as their top perimeter threat.

    It was a wise move of the Heat to go out and sign the premier three-point shooter, but probably not the best of ideas to give him $30 million in return when a pay cut could have very well been an option.

    Even though he was being overpaid, Miller was still expected to be a huge contributor for the Heat. With the big three attracting some attention at mid-range and in the paint, Miller would be able to pick and choose his shots at will, as he'd find himself wide open on too many occasions due to the influence and attention that his superstar teammates bring about.

    Well, none of that happened. Miller shot 36 percent from deep last season and played in only 41 games after suffering a preseason thumb injury that would keep him out until late December. It didn't end there either, as Miller would deal with a thumb injury on his other hand, a concussion and a shoulder injury suffered late in the season.

    Miller would shoot 34 percent overall in the postseason, as well as that stellar 30 percent three-point percentage, and that very well could have been his pink slip after a dismal year that had the Heat regretting letting go of $30 million.

    While it's still very well possible that Miller gets healthy and returns to being the 40 percent three-point shooter that he's consistently been over the course of his decade-long career, the Heat may not want to take their chances on a sharpshooter that lost all confidence when shooting from long range last season.

    Couple that with the fact that thumbs are the most important part of a shooter's release and his may not be the same, and you have yourself one of the NBA's first amnesty casualties.

Brandon Roy

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    Now this story is just depressing.

    After a 2008-09 campaign where he averaged 23 points, five assists and nearly five boards per and a 2009-10 season where he finished with 22 points, five assists and four boards per, the Portland Trail Blazers became convinced that Brandon Roy was the future, and they responded by giving him a deal that awarded him over $13 million a year.

    What did Roy do with that $13 million last season? Not a whole lot besides playing in only 47 games and averaging a dismal 12 points per on 40 percent shooting to go along with three assists and three boards per. After receiving arthroscopic knee surgery to repair a torn meniscus, Roy hasn't been the same, and it showed last year when he didn't have the same agility when driving and lift on his jump shots.

    The surgery was serious, and so was Roy's abysmal play. The Trail Blazers are set to give Roy upwards of $15 million per season for the next five years, and he might never be the same player again due to the critical injury that could potentially derail any hope of him returning to the limelight. He'll be missed in Portland, but with LaMarcus Aldridge taking over the direction of the team, it won't be for too long.

    With the amnesty clause now set to be in use, the Blazers have already made it plain and clear that Roy will be their casualty, and we don't blame them for it. The organization doesn't want to integrate Roy back into the rotation, and it doesn't want to risk keeping him around with the high possibility that he never becomes the player that we saw only two years ago. The team already has Aldridge and appears ready to replace Roy with Wesley Matthews, so this split-up should be amicable.

    Of course, that's no reason for teams not to pursue Roy, as teams have already announced their candidacy in the sweepstakes for the former All-Star without a knee.

Richard Jefferson

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    After signing Richard Jefferson to the league's most grotesque contract last offseason to the tune of four years and nearly $40 million, the San Antonio Spurs may already have gotten their fill of overpaying a role player after two consecutive seasons of mediocre play and only 12 points per game to show for it.

    To say the least, it was strange to see a franchise as wise as the San Antonio Spurs make a deal like this for a player who was 29 years old at the time of his signing.

    Jefferson was a solid player with the Nets, averaging as much as 23 points per game with the team, but he was worth nowhere near the $8.4 million that he was awarded by the team last season after averaging 11 points, four rebounds and an assist per.

    On any team with championship dreams, Jefferson should be highly coveted, as he has been a part of two New Jersey Nets teams that made the NBA Finals and has always proven to be a consistent mid-range threat as well as a solid slasher and driver.

    He was a perfect fit for a Spurs team that needed someone to fill in the vacancy at small forward and stay true to the defensive and fundamental philosophy, but his contract just makes the organization look foolish, as it is very apparent after two seasons that Jefferson doesn't deserve All-Star money.

    He's 31 years old, and this Spurs club is heading in the wrong direction with Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili observing their looming retirement and Tony Parker mulling over the options of joining a new team. With so many key players set to depart the Spurs, Jefferson will fall at the hands of the amnesty clause so that the organization can avoid paying him nearly $10 million to average 10 points per and be the fourth-best player on the team.

Baron Davis

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    He has a player option worth nearly $15 million for the 2012-13 season, so do you really think the Cleveland Cavaliers want to keep Baron Davis much longer?

    I know the team has made some pretty questionable moves in the past, but making Davis leave the team by way of the amnesty clause will be one of its wisest moves since drafting LeBron James with the first pick in 2003.

    Despite making $13 million last year and $117 million for his career, Davis has only made it to two All-Star teams and has yet to go as far as the conference finals. Davis has the talent to become relevant once again, but his lack of commitment is staggeringly embarrassing, he'll be 33 years old within the next few months and his game just hasn't been the same since his final year with the Golden State Warriors.

    Since averaging 22 points and eight assists per in his final season with the Warriors, Davis hasn't averaged more than 15 points per, nor has he shot better than 42 percent from the field. He's been a completely different player since signing with the Los Angeles Clippers in 2008, and it's apparent why the team traded him after only two-and-a-half seasons.

    The guy is a black hole, plain and simple. If you want a 25-foot shot taken within 10 seconds of the shot block starting, then Davis is your man for the job. The past few years with the Clippers and most recently with the Cavaliers have proven to us just how uncommitted Davis can be at times, as he sometimes looks out more for himself rather than his teammates.

    Davis played in 15 games with the Cavaliers last season and averaged 14 points and six assists per while also making two three-pointers per on 41 percent shooting from beyond the arc. He still has the potential to be a solid point guard that's even capable of leading a championship team, but the lack of commitment that he shows for every game is going to make many teams shy away from signing the 12-year veteran.

Marvin Williams

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    The Atlanta Hawks have three choices on what to possibly do with their small forward for the past six years in Marvin Williams.

    They can either package him in a deal that sends out Josh Smith for an elite player, he can get amnestied or the organization can continue paying him $16 million over the next two seasons to underachieve and pray that he doesn't exercise that player option worth nearly $8 million in 2014.

    This shouldn't be too difficult of a decision. A trade isn't always certain, especially one involving a player of Smith's caliber, so Williams becoming a victim of the amnesty clause at the hands of the Atlanta Hawks organization could be a certain thing.

    This comes after another disappointing campaign where Williams averaged 10 points, five boards, and two assists per and was sent to the bench for the first time since his rookie season.

    Williams still managed to get in nearly 30 minutes of action per night, but they just aren't as meaningful as the 35 minutes per he was averaging for three consecutive seasons between 2006 and 2009. Williams has continued to start, but he has also seen his minutes decline over the past two seasons, and it has become extremely clear that the Hawks are looking to cut ties with the player they drafted second in the 2005 draft.

    As far as No. 2 picks go, Williams has been a complete bust in terms of his overall production with the Hawks. When considering that Chris Paul and Deron Williams were taken third and fourth right after Williams was drafted, it only hurts more that the Hawks may be one fatal draft mistake away from being at the top of the Eastern Conference.

    The amnesty clause will play a very important part in the direction of this Hawks team, and it could mean the Hawks freeing up a large portion of money to sign a solid free agent, as well as giving up their tremendous bust of a small forward.