New Amnesty details via SI.

The8thDeadlySin
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New Amnesty details via SI.

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If waived by the Trail Blazers, Brandon Roy would have no say in which team acquires him. (AP)

We’ve all been obsessing for months over the new amnesty rule, which will allow each team to cut one player currently under contract and have that player’s salary (which the team must still pay) vanish from its salary-cap number. Teams will be able to use amnesty once over the course of the new collective bargaining agreement.

The rule comes loaded with moral issues: Why should teams that signed or acquired overpaid, non-productive players be rewarded with a get-out-of-jail free card, especially since the new, harsh luxury-tax penalties won’t come into effect until the 2013-14 season, giving teams two years to prepare? And wouldn’t the rule be unfair to teams that have kept their cap sheets clean for this crop of free agents? They might face more competition as rivals shed salary, and players who end up as amnesty cuts might view such teams as unappealing destinations, since such players could sign minimum-level deals with glamorous contenders.

The league has tried to fix that last issue by creating a waiver process for players cut via amnesty, according to the details of the league’s proposal. The net result is that teams under the cap will have the first shot at any amnesty victims, preventing those players from flocking to contenders over the cap (the Lakers, Mavericks, Celtics, Spurs, Magic, Bulls and even the Grizzlies). Here’s a slightly simplified version of how it will work:

• Say the Trail Blazers use their amnesty provision on Brandon Roy, who is set to make $15 million this season and $69 million over the four years left on his contract. Releasing Roy would not take the Blazers under the cap — a reason they might wait — but it would take them under the dollar-for-dollar luxury-tax line.

• When we first contemplated amnesty, we thought Roy would then be a free agent, able to sign with any team. Fans of contending teams salivated over picking up quality veterans on minimum salaries — cheap contracts they’d be willing to take, since their old team would still be paying their full salary.

But this is not what will happen. Instead, Roy would be placed into a hybrid waiver market open only to teams under the salary cap. Those teams would then submit bids detailing how much of Roy’s $15 million salary they’d like to pay. The highest bidder gets him; Roy has no choice in the matter. The winning team will pay only the money it offered in its bid, with Portland paying the rest. So, if the Hornets, desperate for a shooting guard and able to get under the cap if they lose David West, bid $4 million for Roy and win, the Blazers would be on the hook for the remaining $11 million.

As you can see, the system prevents players from joining contenders on the cheap and from earning two salaries at once — at least, if someone under the cap claims them.

The list of teams under the cap includes a bunch of bad teams with little use for tainted veteran talent (the Raptors, Wizards, Kings and Bobcats); one team with massive cap room and an interesting young nucleus (the Pacers); one crazy revenue-generator with an even better young nucleus (the Clippers); one club angling for bigger things (the Nets); and a few interesting wild cards that could go in a variety of directions (the Rockets, Pistons, Warriors and Nuggets). Would those teams want one of the possible amnesty candidates — Roy, Travis Outlaw, Baron Davis, Gilbert Arenas, Rashard Lewis, Brendan Haywood, DeSagana Diop, Marvin Williams and others?

Your first instinct is to say “no” — that a rebuilding team or an up-and-coming bunch does not need to spend money on players like these. But some are good players, which is easy to forget. Take Lewis, a guy the Wizards may not actually cut via amnesty, given that they have to stay above the new, higher minimum-salary floor: Lewis’ contract has become a punch line, but he is a useful player who improved defensively playing under Stan Van Gundy. Lewis is a “stretch” power forward with legitimate three-point range and an efficient post game he can use against smaller defenders.

Or what about Davis, a possible backup point guard for the Warriors and Clippers as they try to push for a bottom-tier Western Conference playoff spot? Or even Outlaw, a younger stretch power forward who can swing to small forward and has to play better than he did last season?

Depending on future plans, you could see a team under the cap grabbing one of these players on the cheap to help now and serve as a trade chip later.

But here are two major questions the league, per several sources, hasn’t answered yet:

1. Would the team acquiring such a player have to sign him to a contract that runs for the same length as his old one? In other words: Could you acquire Roy via waiver for one season, or would you have to sign him to a four-year deal that parallels his Portland contract? Lewis has two years (including this one) left on his deal. Arenas has three. This is an important question.

2. Would these contracts count as “new” for the purposes of the “stretch” exception, which will allow teams to waive players they sign once the league resumes business and “stretch” the cap hit out into the future? The idea behind the “stretch” rule is to make it easier for teams to part with non-performing players, so that a team could waive a guy with two years left on his deal and stretch the cap hit over five seasons, softening the immediate blow.

But are these waiver/amnesty contracts “new”? If a team is “forced” to sign Roy for four years, can it waive him after the first one (if he performs poorly) and stretch the payments out over seven seasons? Or do these deals count as “old,” since they are linked to pre-existing contracts?

It will be hard to make predictions about amnesty until we know all of this stuff, but the general managerquoted in this New York Times story is probably right: I’d be surprised if we saw more than a half-dozen guys change teams this season via amnesty, and the number could be much lower. Teams might choose to wait on amnesty if using the clause won’t provide immediate cap room (as is the case in Portland with Roy and Dallas with Haywood), and especially since the new luxury tax doesn’t kick in for two seasons. It’s easy to say Dallas should just slice away Haywood’s bloated deal, but why not keep him for now as Tyson Chandler’s backup and potential injury insurance? And as I’ve noted before, some teams just don’t have a quality amnesty candidate, and others (such as the Hawks) may not be in a place financially to pay someone tens of millions for nothing.

There’s a good chance amnesty won’t provide the immediate excitement fans have been anticipating, but it will still be fascinating to watch this process play out.

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McDunkin
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This rule will make Free

This rule will make Free Agency in 2k13 so much better

JunkYardDog
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great job and it's becoming

great job and it's becoming more and more obvious that very few players are going to be cut via this amnesty clause... maybe only little contract players such as renaldo balkman, zaza pachulia (...).

and I think it could also end up with players being cut (via the amnesty) and being unable to find a team.

I still have a question : Is this legal (in us) not to let the choice to a worker to sign whereever he wants ? (cause I'm french and I am very surprised of what I hear about this part of the amnesty).

The8thDeadlySin
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The thing is, they can always

The thing is, they can always quit. There are other leagues for them to play in. You don't wanna follow the NBA rules, try the ABA, they have some quirky rules..

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Thanks for this post...learned something new

Now if only I read this before I posted some crazy Kobe/Howard/MLE loophole scenario

aamir543
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Quick Queston: Wilson

Quick Queston: Wilson Chandler is in China right now, and can't leave till at least Febuary, probably later, assuming that his team will make the playoffs. He is supposed to be a restricted Free Agent, so when he comes back how exactly will his free agency, and do the Nuggets have the right to match any offer, and if so, than do you guys think that they would elect to do that, considering that their whole season is sort of tarnished, because no J.R. Smith, Chandler Martin, and possibly not Nene.

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The Nuggets do looked screwed from where I sit

If Chandler is stuck overseas and can't be signed until Febuary or beyond, that will suck for their plans...But it also pushes them closer to the #1 pick in the draft...It seems that Ty lawson and Danilo Gallinari are the only pieces to that puzzle, I would not be suprised if Nene stays because he'll have to be getting a fat offer sheet from Nuggets to stay and add some stability...I can also see the Chineese Team who signed JR Smith releasing him after that Injury I heard he suffered, so he and Aaron Affalo are still also possibilties for the Nets to retain as well as Nene...I can see them go after Thad Young too, in a potnetial S&T with Philly...

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I think Denver is in a really

I think Denver is in a really good spot right now. I think Lawson, Gallinari are great building blocks, and I would expect them to retain to retain Afflalo who compliments those guys well. Also Faried, and Movgov have good backup potential up front, and Hamilton could give a similar role off the bench as JR Smith did, but with a lot less volatility. This gives them a good young core of 6 young guys. However, I think it's doubtful Nene re-signs, so they'll be sending out 2 very inexperienced backup bigmen as their starters, which will probably end with them losing a ton of games. But with this draft stacked with big men with star potential, I think they are in a perfect position to tank the season and let their young guys grow and wait for Drummond/Sullinger/Davis to join the team next year.

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The Nuggets having lost JR

The Nuggets having lost JR Smith and Wilson Chandler to China until at least February could actually be helpful as if they did struggle this year and get a high draft pick, they could perhaps bring Chandler and Smith back next year and the team could have an immediate bounce.

If Smith or Chandler want to go elsewhere then the Nuggets hold their restricted rights so that could bring in a pick or at least an asset if they could do and S and T.

I wonder if they might try for David West as they need a PF with K-Mart in China and Nene maybe moving on.

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The Nuggets having lost JR

The Nuggets having lost JR Smith and Wilson Chandler to China until at least February could actually be helpful as if they did struggle this year and get a high draft pick, they could perhaps bring Chandler and Smith back next year and the team could have an immediate bounce.

If Smith or Chandler want to go elsewhere then the Nuggets hold their restricted rights so that could bring in a pick or at least an asset if they could do and S and T.

I wonder if they might try for David West as they need a PF with K-Mart in China and Nene maybe moving on.

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With the amnesty clause I

With the amnesty clause I wonder if any team would be bold enough to release a player who still has value to them in the hope that someone would pick up a significant amount of that salary and then the original team maybe sources a cheaper like for like replacement. You could just see someone like David Kahn perhaps overpaying for a supposed big name.

I like the idea that waived players would only effectively be allowed to sign for a team below the salary cap level as this stops the contenders cherry picking bargain basement role players. The thought of say Gilbert Arenas stuck on a lottery team for another 3 years would be interesting in the least. Also if a player had no offers at all from a team under the salary cap would they then become available to teams over the salary cap. I can see a few canny GM’s putting in veteran minimum bids for all the players they are interested in as one or two could well fall to them and thus they get a bargain bin player with a subsidised salary.

JunkYardDog
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Some new stuff about this

Some new stuff about this amnesty system....

http://nba-point-forward.si.com/2011/12/06/details-of-amnesty-provision-emerge/

Teams will not be able to use the amnesty provision on a player acquired in a trade

The salary of any player waived via the amnesty clause will continue to count toward the salary floor

Teams will not be able to use the new “stretch” provision on players they acquire via the amnesty process

If a team bids on a player in the amnesty waiver process, it is bidding on the full length of his contract, not just the first season

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