If an Amnesty Clause is approved, could that serve to add more available talent to this offseason? Not exactly sure how an Amesty works in terms of signing those players.
Dwight Howard to the Los Angeles Lakers? Chris Paul to the New York Knicks?
Here's the problem with those super trades. What incentive do the Orlando Magic and New Orleans Hornets (owned currently by the NBA itself) to make a deal before knowing the rules of the new, yet-to-be-written Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA)?
It may be inevitable Howard and Paul relocate eventually, but why should their respective franchises assume inevitability when the new CBA may ensure the opposite?
Rule changes could involve a hard cap, no Mid-Level Exception, no sign-and-trades, a non-mandatory franchise tag and who knows what else?
Almost every minute rule in the CBA impacts player movement on some level. So far there isn't even an agreement to speak off. The NBA landscape may have a very different look once everything is hashed out.
Expect a lockout July 1st which could last part or all of the summer. Lost games are not a given but certainly a possibility. A late start to the season may be more likely than a full year off. Will the league be ready for business on opening day? Hopefully.
The new agreement is expected to have some variation of the "Allan Houston Amnesty," which in the current CBA allowed for a team to cut a player without that salary counting against the luxury tax. Ironically the New York Knicks used this one-time cost saver on Jerome Williams instead of Houston.
The players still get paid which is why it's favorable to the union. The owners gain flexibility and save money. It's a win-win.
Word is there may be another amnesty clause (even possibly two) in the new deal, with the money not only coming off the tax but the cap as well.
Notice all the trade proposals flying around the internet and radio? The Lakers should take on the contract of Gilbert Arenas to entice the Magic to deal Howard?
An amnesty clause would change that significantly.
There's a good chance Arenas may be waived via amnesty before next season, allowing for the Magic to save roughly $6-$19.2 million in tax in the first year, depending on the tax threshold, total salary for Orlando and the new CBA.
Obviously rules on tax may change completely but the current owners' proposal has the existing system gradually evolve to a hard cap, phasing out luxury tax altogether. It remains to be seen how a compromise is reached but the point is the same on Arenas.
Suddenly the Magic, without Arenas, have just $57 million committed to next season. Technically there's still the payment to be made to Arenas, so it doesn't solve everything but it puts Orlando in a different position financially.
Given the chance, the preference for the Magic is to rebuild a contender around Howard rather than dealing him.
With so much up in the air, why would they deal him before July, prior to knowing full well what options they might have had?
The Hornets aren't even in a difficult cap/tax position. They have to wait and see if David West opts out of the final year on his contract at $7.5 million. Given he's coming off of a severe knee injury, that's still up in the air.
The pressure is to sign Paul to extension before he hits free agency. He may or may not but the answer won't be known before the new CBA is rolled out.
Neither Howard nor Paul is applying Carmelo Anthony-like pressure to their teams and how long did it take for the Denver Nuggets to drag out that situation?
Perhaps Orlando or New Orleans prefers to take the Utah Jazz/Deron Williams approach, deal before months of distraction and negotiation . . . but it's just short-sighted to do it before the new CBA.
Maybe there's a Kwame Brown/Pau Gasol deal to be made and every GM with the interest and the capacity should do their due diligence . . . but honestly, save the pipe dreams until after the expected lockout is resolved.
Then again the Grizzlies aren't looking so "foolish" these days any more.
It's not just the $62.4 million owed to Arenas by the Magic that may see an amnesty cut. Almost every team has some contact they regret:
Atlanta Hawks: Marvin Williams makes $25 million over the next three years.
Boston Celtics: Boston has done a fine job making sure they don't have any salaries on the books beyond next season save Rajon Rondo and Paul Pierce. If the Celtics believe their run is over, would Boston actually amnesty long-time star Paul Pierce?
Probably not, but it could open up a tremendous amount of spending power in 2012. Perhaps more likely would be the one year left on Jermaine O'Neal's contract, but Boston may be a team that opts not to amnesty at all.
Charlotte Bobcats: The obvious choice for the Bobcats would be DeSagana Diop and his two years for $14.3 million. Then again they could look to go in a different direction with Stephen Jackson and his two years, $19.3 million but obviously there's a big drop-off in production from Jackson to Diop.
As with Pierce and Boston, it'd probably make more sense to look for a trade if it's time to move Jackson.
If Charlotte has buyer's remorse on Tyrus Thomas, he is owed $33.4 million over the next four years.
Chicago Bulls: Given that Chicago is about to start the Eastern Conference Finals, this is a team that has done well when it comes to constructing a team around Derrick Rose.
Carlos Boozer hasn't quite lived up to expectations but he doesn't seem like an amnesty candidate. If there's anyone, perhaps it's C.J. Watson who is owed $3.4 million next season.
Cleveland Cavaliers: The Cavs traded for Baron Davis midseason but that wasn't about Baron as much as it was about the L.A. Clippers first-round pick this June, unprotected. Given that Davis is owed $28.7 million over the next two, his stay in Cleveland may be short-lived.
Dallas Mavericks: The Mavericks need to re-sign Tyson Chandler which would open the door to cutting backup center Brendan Haywood who is on the books for $45.4 million over the next five (although his finally year isn't fully guaranteed).
Haywood can still produce so that wouldn't necessarily be an easy decision but it might be the inevitable one.
Considering how much the Mavs have spent through the years, the franchise is otherwise in a good place with no true junk contracts.
Denver Nuggets: Al Harrington made more sense when the team was looking to contend around Carmelo Anthony. His $27.7 million over the next four may not fit, even though his final two years are only 50% guaranteed.
Chris "Birdman" Anderson is also on the books for $15.6 million over the next three but the fans still seem to love him in Denver.
Detroit Pistons: The Pistons would most certainly get rid of Rip Hamilton's $25 million, of which $21.5 million is guaranteed. Investing in Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva haven't exactly paid dividends.
Jason Maxiell's $10 million over two is superfluous as well.
Golden State Warriors: The Warriors need to get out of Andris Biedrins' deal as soon as they can. His game is about as shaky as his free throw shooting. He's set to earn $9 million a year for the next three seasons.
Houston Rockets: The Rockets don't have much to regret on their books. Hasheem Thabeet may never pan out. Is it worth $5.1 million next season to find out? How about Brad Miller's $4.8 million?
Indiana Pacers: The Pacers could have used more than one amnesty the last few years but they've finally gotten to the point where their bad contracts are gone. James Posey for just one year ($7.6 million) would probably be the choice.
Los Angeles Clippers: The Clippers are in good shape financially. If there's one guy they might cut, it'd be Ryan Gomes at $8 million over two seasons.
Los Angeles Lakers: Luke Walton's 25-year contract (seemingly) is actually nearing its end but given that his role in the rotation had dropped significantly (with Coach Phil Jackson), the Lakers make jump at the chance to drop his $11.5 million remaining (two season).
An argument can be made to drop Ron Artest's $21.8 million or Steve Blake's $12 million, both over three.
Memphis Grizzlies: Things have certainly changed for the Grizzlies. Has O.J. Mayo turned a bad situation into possibly a long-term destination? Does Memphis need Rudy Gay?
Gay is too valuable an asset to amnesty. Memphis may pass on it altogether.
Miami HEAT: At the time, Mike Miller seemed like a great fit. Instead he hasn't and is still owed $24 million over the next four years.
Milwaukee Bucks: Corey Maggette at $21.2 million over the next two. There's your amnesty.
Then again, was Drew Gooden a good investment with $26.3 million due over the next four?
Minnesota Timberwolves: The Wolves don't have a lot of money down long-term unless they want to park with serviceable point guard Luke Ridnour's $12 million over three, but that doesn't make a lot of sense given his level of production.
Perhaps if the team isn't happy with Nikola Pekovic, Martell Webster or Jonny Flynn but amnesty just doesn't seem to make sense for Minnesota.
New Jersey Nets: Travis Outlaw at $7 million a season for the next four can't seem like a great idea but that's the deal the Nets gave him. Do they want out?
If not, the amnesty would probably be Johan Petro's $6.8 million over two.
New Orleans Hornets: It would be a very bold move for the Hornets to dump Emeka Okafor who is due $40.5 million over the next three. Although he's not an All-Star, he's still a productive player at the center position.
Jarrett Jack is solid at $10 million over the next two. Trevor Ariza played big in the playoffs with $21.8 million due over the next three. New Orleans may also be a team with no reason to use the amnesty.
New York Knicks: Years of terrible contracts have come of the books. Now the worst might be Renaldo Balkman's $3.4 million over two.
Oklahoma City Thunder: What's amazing about the Thunder is what they've been able to accomplish without breaking the bank. The only player who doesn't seem to fit would be Nate Robinson who is owed $4.5 million next season.
Orlando Magic: While the obvious choice is Gilbert Arenas, it's not like Hedo Turkoglu has an attractive contract at $34.8 million over the next three. Given that Hedo's last year isn't fully guaranteed and Arenas makes almost twice as much, Gil looks like the no-brainer.
Philadelphia 76ers: Elton Brand seemed like a bust in first year with the team but he's gotten healthy and productive. Instead Andres Nocioni is the odd man out with $6.7 million due next year (plus a team option for $7.5 million the following season).
Phoenix Suns: Josh Childress. Period. $27 million due over the next four and he doesn't crack the rotation.
Portland Trail Blazers: It's a crazy argument but if the team truly believes that Brandon Roy will not be healthy over the duration of his contract (four years left at $68.7 million), this is one way out of that. Hopefully it won't come to that and Roy can go on to a productive career.
Otherwise the Blazers have invested in a solid roster that just needs to stay healthy.
Sacramento Kings: Francisco Garcia has had some strong moments for the Kings and some completely invisible stretches. He has two more years guaranteed at $18.3 million along with a team option for another at $6.4 million.
There's a chance that the rules won't allow a team under the cap to use the amnesty and Sacramento may not want to cut anyone with it anyway, given the chance.
San Antonio Spurs: Would the Spurs cut Richard Jefferson after he opted out of a big year to take a lengthy - but cheaper per season deal? He's on hook to make $30.5 million over the next three but proved to be a much improved player in his second year with San Antonio.
Toronto Raptors: The Raptors are heading into a much better place financially after years of spending through the Chris Bosh era. They tried to trade Jose Calderon at different times but at this one can they get a better player in given there's no other point on the roster?
Calderon makes $20.3 million over the next two but he may be a player the Raptors need to keep. Perhaps Linas Kleiza but he can still be productive. The Raptors may not move on the amnesty at all.
Utah Jazz: Raja Bell didn't give much in his first year with the club. It's not a lot but it may make sense to get out of his $6.7 million over two.
Washington Wizards: The Wizards will look at Rashard Lewis who makes $21.1 million next year and is on the books for $22.7 the following season (albeit $11-17 million is guaranteed). If cut, Lewis would become a key free agent this summer for a playoff team in need of outside shooting.
Some of the interesting players who could end up free agents: Rashard Lewis, Rip Hamilton, Marvin Williams, Baron Davis, Al Harrington, Andris Biedrins, Mike Miller, Corey Maggette, Nate Robinson, Gilbert Arenas, Andres Nocioni, etc.
That's a lot of talent that could (somewhat unexpectedly) end up on the market. Ultimately teams will be active through the NBA Draft and up until the June 30th deadline. There's as good a chance as any for multiple trades but when it comes to a team dumping their franchise player on a maybe, that's going to have to wait until the new CBA is locked in . . . not out.