Deadline moved up in concession to players
By Marc Stein
In a concession to the NBA Players' Association, the deadline for the "amnesty" clause, which will allow teams a one-time exception to waive a player without paying further luxury tax on the player's contract, has been moved up to Aug. 15.
Teams such as the Dallas Mavericks and New York Knicks, who are expected to use the clause -- also known as the Allan Houston Rule -- to waive Michael Finley and Houston to avoid paying future luxury tax on their contracts, will have less than two weeks to make their decision once the labor deal is implemented Tuesday at noon ET.
The original deadline was Oct. 1.
The Mavericks are trying to trade Finley to keep him out of the Western Conference and to avoid losing him without compensation. If they end up waiving him, a string of playoff contenders, including the Phoenix Suns, San Antonio Spurs, Detroit Pistons, Denver Nuggets, Houston Rockets, Chicago Bulls and Miami Heat, are expected to pursue Finley.
The union argued that an Oct. 1 deadline gave the teams releasing players too much control over their players' futures. The Aug. 15 deadline is early enough to give Finley, Houston and anyone else released via the clause a chance to compete for free-agent dollars long before training camps open Oct. 3.
Other amnesty candidates include the Los Angeles Lakers' Brian Grant, the Portland Trail Blazers' Derek Anderson and the Indiana Pacers' Austin Croshere.
Because of the Knicks' interest, the amnesty clause has become known known as the Allan Houston Rule. It is expected to be a one-time option that teams will not be able to save if they don't use it this year.
Teams get luxury-cap relief, but not salary-cap relief for the released players, who must be on a team's 2005-06 roster but have been acquired before June 21.
Teams, such as the Toronto Raptors, who bought out Alonzo Mourning for $11 million, also can get relief for players no longer on the roster but whose salary remains on the payroll.
Players cannot be re-signed by the teams that released them for the length of the terminated contract. Teams remain responsible for paying the players, even if the players sign elsewhere.