Skip to content

Heat uniquely positioned to take advantage of possible amnesty clause

Sep 22, 2011, 3:55 PM EDT

Miami Heat v Dallas Mavericks - Game Three Getty Images

In addition to the free agent bonanza that will take place following the conclusion of the lockout, there is now a distinct possibility that an amnesty clause — akin to the 2005 Allan Houston Rule — will release even more players back onto the open market. For those unfamiliar, such an exception would allow teams to cut one player on their roster without facing any luxury tax penalty for that player’s contract. And, unlike the 2005 amnesty rule, the proposed clause would also remove the cut player’s salary from the team’s salary cap figure. It would functionally wipe clean the entirety of a player’s contract, save for the tiny penalty of the team actually having to pay it. The players would still be guaranteed whatever money is left on their deals, but for the purposes of the team’s moves with regard to the cap and the tax line, those contracts would no longer exist.

A slew of formerly overpaid players would then be added to the free agent market. There are plenty of interesting talents in the league overlooked because of their considerable financial dues, and contending clubs would likely be able to make a run at one or two contributing players with their salary cap exceptions alone (should such things still exist under a new CBA). That kind of free agent influx would help one team in particular; Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com’s Heat Index explains:

This week the Portland (Ore.) Oregonian reported that there’s a consensus among owners to include another amnesty clause in the new CBA that would help clear space in what are expected to be more restrictive salary caps. Of course no one can predict the future but the signs continue to indicate the new deal will have some sort of amnesty option in it.

That’s where the Heat would come in. They would be an attractive destination for players who might be released under such a clause. Because of the free agents they signed last summer, the Heat probably are out of any bidding wars for free agents for the near future. But players who are “amnestied” are likely to sign cheaply, probably at whatever the veteran minimum would be, as they would not have lost any money from their previous contracts.

The Heat need a big man, a point guard and always could use shooters. They can make calls and recruit all they want but signing big-ticket free agents like Nene, Tyson Chandler or J.J. Barea is a pipe dream. But what about getting Rashard Lewis, Baron Davis or maybe even Brandon Roy for cheap? These are all instant candidates to be released under a new amnesty provision and all, in their own ways, could help the Heat.

No team would be more attractive to prospective free agents than Miami, and an amnesty clause would flood the market with more talent in the Heat’s price range. They still may not find their dream point guard or center to bolster their rotation, but there would be far more players capable of immediately contributing as a member of the Heat lineup. In addition to the aforementioned Lewis, Davis, or Roy, the Heat could potentially make another run at Brendan Haywood, look to sign Chris Andersen, spring for either Mo Williams or Chris Kaman if the Clippers choose to cut salary, or even fall into Jose Calderon. Any of those players could significantly impact Miami’s performance on one end of the court or the other, and that’s not even considering the impact this influx would have on the wider free agent pool — nor the potential for the Heat to wipe the $24 million owed to Mike Miller over the next four seasons off their cap figure.

  1. goforthanddie - Sep 22, 2011 at 5:21 PM

    “No team would be more attractive to prospective free agents than Miami”

    Really? Nobody would want to play w/ Kobe/Gasol/Bynum? OKC? Chicago? The reigning world champions? There would be good teams that could offer more than minimum with less distraction.

    • david8726 - Sep 22, 2011 at 5:44 PM

      Kobe / Gasol / Bynum isn’t going to be as good as the big 3 for as long. Kobe is great, but he’s getting old.

      Dallas? Reigning world champs, true, but no one thinks their long term prospects are as good as Miami’s.

      Going forward, the three teams with the brightest futures are probably OKC, Miami, and Chicago.

      Miami 4-1ed Chicago with their incomplete roster last year. And to play in OKC, that means you have to live in OKC, and not Miami.

      Taking all of it into account, Miami is a really attractive spot to land, distractions or no distractions.

      • phintasm - Sep 22, 2011 at 8:44 PM

        I agree with david.

        Also, keep in mind that there’s no state income tax in FL so any prospective free agents could maximize their income.

Leave Comment

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

Featured video

Will LeBron get booed Christmas Day in Miami?
Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. K. Love (3305)
  2. D. Rose (3144)
  3. K. Bryant (2636)
  4. L. James (2584)
  5. R. Allen (2178)
  1. K. Irving (2123)
  2. C. Delfino (2069)
  3. T. Mozgov (1958)
  4. D. Waiters (1922)
  5. A. Davis (1841)