There has been a lot of talk over the last several weeks about the new CBA’s “Amnesty Clause” for NBA teams. In it’s most basic sense, the clause is a do-over for teams, where they can rid themselves of one hideous contract. So in a league awash in bad deals that cripple teams, the rule would provide the option to eliminate the absolute worst of the worse. (Stuff you need to know: it’s not as easy as just eliminating a contract. Check this out for the details of the clause.)
Depending on how many teams decide to use the clause, there could be a lot of very talented NBA players instantly unemployed. So who are the best of the “worst” players who could potentially be available? Here are my Top 5:
5. Baron Davis – Common sense says that if there is any sure thing in these Amnesty Clause scenarios, it’s that the Cavs use theirs on Boom Dizzle. He’s great when he’s healthy and in shape (two things that rarely coincide), but he is also owed almost $14 million this season. With Kyrie Irving and Ramon Sessions on the roster, BD is expensive and expendable.
4. Travis Outlaw – If there was ever a team that wanted a do-over for a bizarre decision, it would be the Nets for their choice to give Travis Outlaw a five-year, $35 million free agent deal before the start of last season. With $24 million left on Outlaw’s deal and the Nets’ desire to open up in Brooklyn with Deron Williams and Dwight Howard on their roster, Outlaw’s a goner.
3. Gilbert Arenas – Gil’s situation in regards to the Amnesty Clause and the $62+ million still owed to him is a complicated one. We’ll let ESPN.com’s Marc Stein and Chad Ford explain:
Amnesty 2011 gives Magic GM Otis Smith an opportunity to undo a gamble on his good buddy Gil that backfired spectacularly and take at least some of the considerable tension out of the air after the toxic end to last season in that first-round exit to Atlanta … at a time when the weight of Dwight Howard’s 2012 free agency happens to hang over all of Central Florida. The Magic, remember, have a deep-pocketed financier in Rich DeVos that would be on the short list of NBA owners who could withstand the huge financial hit required to send Arenas away. So it’s going to happen. It’s just of matter of when.
2. Brandon Roy – We broke down the Roy/Portland Trail Blazers situation here. For lots of reasons, B-Roy will be on the market.
1. Rashard Lewis – Ahh, Rashard. Let’s be honest, the Amnesty Clause should really be known as the “Rashard Lewis Clause” – ‘Shard is the poster child for knucklehead contracts being handed out by overzealous owners. As part of the ridiculous $113 million contract the Magic signed him to years ago, the Wizards are on the hook to pay Lewis more than $22 million this season and more than $40 million total. Losing that contract gives the Wizards lots and lots of money to re-tune a large part of their roster to (in theory) build around John Wall.
Honorable Mention: Elton Brand, Ron Artest, Beno Udrih, Richard Jefferson, Josh Childress, Al Harrington
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