The Washington Wizards are purportedly one of the teams that benefited most from the new CBA agreement (well, at least if you hear Chad Ford tell it). Ted Leonsis’ gripes with system issues notwithstanding, the major reason is the amnesty provision that will reportedly be tucked away therein—allowing the team to waive someone like Rashard Lewis (not as likely as one would think) or Andray Blatche to improve their cap situation.
An even a larger benefit, however, is their ability to bid on other teams' amnesty waivers.
Here’s the way it works: Teams over the cap like the LA Lakers and Miami Heat will not be allowed to sign amnesty’ed players until they go through a waivers process. Teams under the cap will be able to bid for players that teams use amnesty on after Dec. 9; those teams will bid the amount of the player’s salary they’d be willing to pay for the remaining years on the contract, up to the cap. In Rashard Lewis’ case, if he went to waivers and the highest bid was $3 million, the Wizards would pay approximately $19 million in each of the last two years of his contract, and the bidding team would pay the remainder.
Seems simple enough. The bidding is blind, however, so it encourages teams to put their best offer on the table—and the team utilizing amnesty then gets a break in the amount of the highest bid. Win-win.
The teams in position to be big buyers based on the amount of cap room available are the Denver Nuggets, Sacramento Kings, Indiana Pacers, Memphis Grizzlies, New Jersey Nets, Washington Wizards and New Orleans Hornets.
That’s only seven teams at least $15 million under the cap. Of course the Nuggets still have to offer contracts to Nene and Arron Afflalo, and the Grizzlies still need to lock up Marc Gasol before they even think about making other offers. The Nets seem to be determined to swing a blockbuster trade for Dwight Howard, and will probably be using amnesty on someone like Travis Outlaw to facilitate. So the bidders may actually be even more limited.
This is a dream scenario for the Wiz, where star-caliber players will not have a say in what team they land with.
Many of the expected amnesty targets aren’t particularly valuable, for obvious reasons, and some chronicled here may eventually be spared the amnesty ax. Others just don’t make sense for the Wizards.
You won’t find Brandon Roy on this list, whose high-risk/high-reward might make more sense for somebody looking for that one missing piece (though at $2-3 million a season I’d be a buyer). Likewise you won’t find any mention of Brendan Haywood—who falls into the “been there, done that” pile.
Who do you think will be a casualty of the amnesty provision? And if so, who should the Wizards target? I look forward to hearing your suggestions in the comments section after your read.