As more details become available as to what’s included in the NBA’s new labor deal, one of the more interesting additions to the CBA is the so-called “amnesty clause,” where every team can waive one player and remove their salary from counting against the cap. While the player still gets paid, jettisoning a player in this fashion would help franchises create cap space or simply save on potential luxury tax expenditures. While the early names to surface have been Gilbert Arenas (3 years, $62.4 million), Rashard Lewis (2 years, $46 million) and Baron Davis (2 years, $28.8 million) owing to their onerous remaining contracts, one name that may have you surprised is that of three-time All-Star Brandon Roy.
Sure, the 27-year-old has been slowed by knee issues, but don’t forget that he was a member of the All-NBA Second Team in 2009 and the All-NBA Third Team in 2010. And after his legendary Game 4 performance in this year’s playoffs despite just playing 47 games last season, there are plenty of teams – Chicago, Minnesota, Golden State – that would still be interested in signing him.
According to ESPN.com’s Marc Stein via Twitter last night, Blazers coaches have been told waiving Roy is a “strong possibility.” This coming from an organization that still doesn’t have a GM in place. But with $68.3 million headed his way over the next four seasons, you can understand why Portland is going to take some time to think about this.
“Paul Allen, the Blazers’ billionaire owner, can surely afford the bill, but waiving Roy will not create cap room,” writes Howard Beck of The New York Times, who calls Roy perhaps the amnesty clause’s “most enticing candidate.” And because the amnesty rule doesn’t expire, it might make sense for the Blazers to take a wait-and-see approach with Roy before they cut him loose – especially with Greg Oden‘s future not yet determined.
Marc Stein and Chad Ford of ESPN.com have more:
If there’s a more interesting amnesty conundrum out there in 2011, show us. Because of Roy’s stature in the organization and the community, it’s still hard to imagine Portland going through with letting him go. Rewind to his franchise-player flashes in Game 4 of the Dallas series and it gets even harder. The reality, though, is that Roy has deteriorating knees, more than $50 million guaranteed left on a cap-clogging contract that runs through 2014-15 and little else on last season’s highlight reel apart from that Game 4 eruption.
Although there’s an undeniable sense in Rip City that the Blazers will be tempted to give Roy one more season to regain something resembling his old form, one rival exec insists that “Roy would be gone for sure if [Rich] Cho was still there” … and that it’s only a matter of time even without Cho in charge.
Cutting ties with Roy, expensive as it’ll be, is the only way they can truly start over. The Blazers, if they kept him for even one more season, would have a payroll approaching $75 million when the season starts.
When we caught up with Roy this July in Seattle, he made it clear that he’s healthy, would like to stay in Portland and that the Blazers are “in a good position” as far as contending for a title.
“Myself personally, I have a lot of confidence because when I played well against Dallas, we won,” said Roy. “So that gave me confidence that I can play at a high level and still help my team win games. You know, my confidence was up and down coming back from the injuries. But right now it’s high and I’m looking forward to next year.”
What do you think? Will the Blazers keep Roy? Should they keep Roy?
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