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NBA’s amnesty window open, here are three candidates to watch

Jul 10, 2013, 12:55 PM EDT

Los Angeles Lakers v Denver Nuggets Getty Images

The NBA’s amnesty window is open — from now until July 16, teams that haven’t used their one-time amnesty provision since the lockout can wipe one contract off the official books, so long as that is a contract they signed before the lockout.

Which means there are only 13 teams and 34 total players where they amnesty clause is in play. Most of those are not contracts the teams want to get rid of — Al Horford in Atlanta, Rajon Rondo in Boston, LeBron James in Miami, Tony Paker in San Antonio, Kevin Durant in Oklahoma City and so on.

For all the fanfare of the amnesty clause as a “get out of jail free” card, teams generally are cautious to use it. They have to pay the player anyway — amnesty a player and he comes off the official league books but the player still gets paid — so this has to just be a guy you want gone.

We know one amnesty is coming this year — Charlotte has already said they will amnesty Tyrus Thomas. Which makes sense, he completely fits the mold of a guy it was time to throw in the towel on.

Do not expect the Bulls to amnesty Carlos Boozer or the Thunder to use theirs on Kendrick Perkins. In the case of Oklahoma City, GM Sam Presti has said the organization doesn’t believe in the amnesty clause as useful — they are going to have to pay him anyway, they may as well get something for that. The Bulls might amnesty Boozer a year from now when they can open up a lot of cap room to chase free agents, but this year he stays as the Bulls try to make a run.

Here are three other guys to watch:

Metta World Peace, Los Angeles Lakers. This is obvious because it has already been out there that the Lakers are likely to send World Peace on his way. The Lakers could amnesty Kobe Bryant, but there is zero chance of that. They could amnesty Pau Gasol, but he has trade value if they want to move him. World Peace is the odd guy out and letting him go would save the Lakers in excess of $14 million (that number was much higher until Dwight Howard bolted and the Lakers payroll fell).

John Salmons, Sacramento Kings. Salmons is a nice wing player that the Kings oddly gave a large and long contract to. Now they have the just drafted Ben McLemore and they are reportedly in the hunt for Monta Ellis (Atlanta remains the front runner), so why have Salmons in the picture. Salmons is due $7.5 million in 2013-14, and $1 million guaranteed in 2014-15

Charlie Villanueva, Detroit Pistons. This was a bad contract the day it was signed — back then Villanueva had some value but there was no reason to ink a big multi-year deal. Joe Dumars had cap space and he was going to spend it, no matter what. This should be a no brainer. Villanueva is owed $8.58 million next season.

  1. readysethike - Jul 10, 2013 at 1:03 PM

    could the lakers or clippers take a chance on Tyrus Thomas and sign him for the mid level exception. or is he too much of a malcontent

    • smoothaswilkes - Jul 10, 2013 at 1:41 PM

      Not sure about the Clippers but the Lakers already used their mini MLE on Kaman.

    • loubearkane - Jul 10, 2013 at 6:37 PM

      Thomas needs a veteran team LA & Brooklyn would have been ideal but he will get mid-level some where. He’s only 26 so a team like Phoenix could throw a bone at him

  2. lastdukestreetking - Jul 10, 2013 at 1:09 PM

    Unless there is some odd bidding war, there is no reason to offer an amnestied player like Thomas more than the vet minimum. He’s getting his salary from his old team. He can’t get more money unless a team offers him more than he is currently paid which has about a zero percent chance of happening.

  3. packfaninca - Jul 10, 2013 at 1:21 PM

    The Bucks gave John Salmons the large contract, not the Kings. Sacramento traded back in the draft with Milwaukee (7 to 10) and swapped Beno Udrih for Salmons in a move that not only made the Kings worse but also increased the long term team salary as well.

    • loubearkane - Jul 10, 2013 at 6:38 PM

      Salmons is a good player , like a 7th man , 2nd guy off the bench that can score.

  4. silverandblackfan77 - Jul 10, 2013 at 1:38 PM

    The amnesty tool is useful its a chance to get rid of a mistake

    • bougin89 - Jul 10, 2013 at 1:54 PM

      If it allows to save on luxury tax or if it’s the difference between acquiring another player(cap space reasons). You are still on the hook for 100% of the remaining guaranteed portion of the contract though.

      • dondada10 - Jul 10, 2013 at 2:13 PM

        Right. So when the Knicks amnestied Billups to immediately sign Tyson Chandler, it was a great move. But if the organization isn’t interested in signing a new player, they might as well hang on to the expiring contract as a trade chip.

      • bougin89 - Jul 10, 2013 at 4:46 PM

        Agreed, although the Knicks amnestying Billups was a HUGE waste of money for the Knicks. Just a month or two before they picked up his player option for 13 or whatever million it was. All they had to do was decline his player option earlier that offseason and they could have saved every penny.

        Still, you’re comment is right on for the topic we are discussing.

      • bougin89 - Jul 10, 2013 at 5:20 PM

        I meant to say picked up their **team option** on Billups.

  5. smoothaswilkes - Jul 10, 2013 at 1:49 PM

    Kurt – Don’t forget the Lakers can also use the amnesty on Steve Blake. Although it looks like he will be starting at the 2 while Kobe is out. Why they’d use it on Ron Ron without having another 3 on the roster is beyond me but the offseason is far from being over.

  6. jschwanny - Jul 10, 2013 at 1:49 PM

    The Bucks need to amnesty Drew Gooden. He gave them nothing last year and will count against the cap for around $13 million over the next 2 years….a perfect amnesty candidate.

    • therealhtj - Jul 10, 2013 at 2:06 PM

      That would be awesome – it’d be the 2nd time he’s been amnestied. Really shows just how big a steaming pile collective bargaining is in the NBA.

      • katra2logic - Jul 11, 2013 at 3:57 PM

        No, it goes to show how big a steaming pile some organization’s front office people are. Cheers :-)

    • skinsfanwill - Jul 10, 2013 at 2:14 PM

      They should, but I don’t see that making any sense. What free agent says, ” I want to go to Milwaukee.” they can only end up overpaying for the next guy, just to get him to come there. Then they’d be stuck with 2 bad contracts. Tough town to build a team in.

    • loubearkane - Jul 10, 2013 at 6:39 PM

      Drew doesn’t have many other cities to play in.

      • jimsjam33 - Jul 10, 2013 at 9:36 PM

        Drew Gooden would be a tremendous pick-up for the Clippers if they could get him for the veteran minimum . ideal back-up for Blake Griffin for 12 to 15 minutes per game .

  7. Michael - Jul 10, 2013 at 2:33 PM

    Sacramnto was rumored to be the frontrunner this morning…but hopefully you’re right and not everyone else.

  8. ProBasketballPundit - Jul 10, 2013 at 2:45 PM

    Sure, Sam Presti. There’s no use for the amnesty clause… oh except for keeping James Harden and getting under the luxury tax line. You can’t say that wouldn’t have been useful considering you traded a superstar for nothing over $8 million. But I guess amnestying Kendrick Perkins now would make him look foolish for not having done it last summer.

  9. wordpress3zzz - Jul 10, 2013 at 3:05 PM

    who edits this, “Tony Paker”?

    • bsplaincs - Jul 10, 2013 at 3:52 PM

      This goes out to every a$$ Clown who has to add there English degree into a conversation. Look if you can read and understand it great!!!!! besides that know one cares if it’s spelled wrong. as for who Edits this stuff the answer is : Your Mama……

      • rushbacker - Jul 10, 2013 at 4:02 PM

        Great point, bub. Literacy is highly overrated.

      • magicrat13 - Jul 10, 2013 at 4:19 PM

        you mean: “…who has to add THEIR English degree…”…

        you’re welcome…

      • blueballzny - Jul 10, 2013 at 4:40 PM

        In your sentence “know one cares if it’s spelled wrong”, its “no” not “know”….A$$ clown!

      • Anoesis - Jul 10, 2013 at 5:17 PM

        bs: Either that train-wreck of a paragraph was intentionally ironic or you’re angling for a job here. Either way you look like a moron.

  10. cowpiesnotcowboys - Jul 10, 2013 at 7:09 PM

    Lakers should amnesty Kobe. He’s done.

  11. lakerwoman - Jul 10, 2013 at 8:25 PM

    No, no, no…not Metta!! We love him!!

  12. bucs24 - Jul 10, 2013 at 8:56 PM

    Give it to Kobe he’s not coming back this year

  13. rationalitybias - Jul 11, 2013 at 5:36 AM

    Presti gets it, you have to pay the player anyways. If the Lakers used it on Kobe, he would be unable to sign with them.

  14. dezglobal - Jul 11, 2013 at 9:23 AM

    Pistons need to get rid of Charlie V

  15. addictedzone - Jul 11, 2013 at 10:38 AM

    It’s not always about who is let go, but rather where they wind up…

    Sometimes the amnesty clause lets a top team sign a veteran player for the minimum (while his old team pays him) to help the new team win a Title (e.g. Chris Andersen)

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