There are rumors that the NBA is thinking about installing an "amnesty clause" in the new CBA that is apparently no where near being completed yet. So without anything else to talk about, let us discuss how this might impact the Celtics.
First, what is this amnesty clause? Is it like the Allen Houston Rule from a few years back (which ironically was not used on Allen Houston). Not exactly.
It’s a provision that would allow teams to waive players under contract and have money owed to them removed from their salary cap. The players would still get their guaranteed money but they would become unrestricted free agents.
Great, so we can waive any bad contracts that we have without any consequence. But wait, we don't really have any bad contracts. We've got the Big 3, Rondo, Jermaine O'Neal, and Avery Bradley on his rookie deal. That's it. The rookies haven't even signed yet. Is it worth considering waiving one of the Big 3? Briefly, no.
But to add more text to this debate, consider Jay King's take.
Even if the Celtics released Kevin Garnett (and the $21 million left on his contract), that would leave them with more than $51 million of salary in 2011-12. That would likely put them just under the salary cap, and it would be difficult to replace Garnett’s production without having more money to spend. Ditto goes for Ray Allen, whose two-year, $20 million also expires after the 2011-12 season. Jermaine O’Neal, who will make $6.2 million next season in his contract’s final year, also would seem to be safe from being released under the provision: after all, he is currently Boston’s only center.
So it is a total waste for us, right? Not so fast. The Heat Index article linked above gives us this take.
The Heat need a big man, a point guard and always could use shooters. They can make calls and recruit all they want but signing big-ticket free agents like Nene, Tyson Chandler or J.J. Barea is a pipe dream. But what about getting Rashard Lewis, Baron Davis or maybe even Brandon Roy for cheap? These are all instant candidates to be released under a new amnesty provision and all, in their own ways, could help the Heat.
The article goes on to mention Gilbert Arenas (an obvious choice) and points out that you never know who else might be let loose. Jay doesn't agree, but I still think that Boston would be a destination for ring-chasing free agents, especially in the positions that we need (and the Heat do not) like backup small forward and shooting guard. Brandon Roy anyone?
On the flipside, there is one more wrinkle to all this to consider. This Amnesty Clause would benefit a whole lot of teams that were not as fiscally responsible as the Celtics were over the last few years. They essentially are gifted a get out of contract-jail free card and the teams set up well for 2012 get nothing. Imagine if the Magic get out from under Gilbert's contract, use that extra space to add a piece or two which makes Dwight Howard giddy with title dreams and signs on for a max extension. Oh well, thanks for hording all that cap space Danny. Enjoy your door prizes.
So we might get some short term help from this theoretical clause, but it might hurt us in the long run. At least by helping the rest of the league. But that's the breaks. I still think that cap flexibility is a good thing headed into the next era. Danny will have to adapt and react to any new rules and the more wiggle room he has the better.