While the lockout appears to be in the final act of a long and frustrating drama, several reports have indicated what changes are likely to be written up in the new CBA. The "Amnesty Clause" is one such topic that has been discussed and how several teams can benefit by using it. One of the best rules about it however is one that John asked Larry Coon about and he answered here.
The majority of analysts and fans out there agree that the Celtics don't have any glaring contracts that they should use this on (unless of course, you're Bill Simmons who thinks it's a good idea to amnesty Jermaine O'Neal). For its true purpose, the amnesty clause most likely won't be used by the C's directly. But as Doc Brown likes to say to Marty McFly: "You're not thinking FOURTH DIMENSIONALLY!!!"
If we take Doc Brown's advice and borrow his DeLorean to travel to the future, we can take aim at "amnestied players" from other teams that the Celtics might target. This all may change if Marc Stein's recent update suggests that the amnesty clause may be a card that can be played within two years or so.
Atlanta Hawks: While Joe Johnson has in many ways, become the poster boy of te 2011 lockout, much like KG was in 1998, I doubt Atlanta pulls the trigger here. However, the potential sale of the team to Alex Meruelo is now in jeopardy, so who knows what the ownership (whomever they may be) elect to do in terms of cutting costs?
Green Guage: Still, even if they did, JJ would command a lot of cash and while he's a solid player I don't think Danny Ainge is willing to over-spend for him and kill their cap space for next summer. Marvin Williams would be the only other candidate, but unless they could nab him for a 1-year deal I'll gladly pass.
Charlotte Bobcats: While Tyrus Thomas has about $34 million over the next 4 years coming to him, he's their only relative "big" on the roster. He's always been one of those tease players, so it's more likely they would waive DeSagana Diop.
Green Guage: Diop is big, and the C's may make a courtesy call, but anything more than a minimum offer would be jaw dropping.
Chicago Bulls: Carlos Boozer, Luol Deng and Joakim Noah all have several moneybags coming their way for years, but they are all key pieces on a contending Bulls team.
Green Guage: Out of the three, Noah (yes THAT Noah) would be great on the C's (I assure you Doc would love him) but he's going nowhere just like none of these Bulls are likely to land on the C's.
Cleveland Cavaliers: Not many options here either unless they feel like Anderson Varejao is too damaged/overpaid at this point. They also might need to get rid of him in order to extend Kyrie Irving and/or Tristan Thompson in a few years (depending on if the new CBA rules allow you to extend rookies sooner).
Green Guage: Baron Davis could be a possibility and not a bad one year backup option to Rondo (similar to Sam Cassell) so I would expect Ainge to make a serious bid for Davis.
Dallas Mavericks: No sooner as the ink dries from the new CBA will Mark Cuban pull the trigger on Brendan Haywood. If he doesn't, it would be just as bad as signing him for as much as Rondo makes to begin with.
Green Guage: Would the C's pick him up? They are desperate for bigs without a doubt. But how much Haywood can give at this point is in question. It's also unlikely he gets sold on the "sign with us for a shot at a title" pitch since he just won one by well, watching.
Denver Nuggets: While JR Smith, Kenyon Martin and Wilson Chandler all opted to play overseas, they may opt to use the 2-year amnesty window or give Al Harrington all the hamburgers he can eat as a lovely parting gift.
Green Guage: The final two years of his deal are only 50% guaranteed. He's well traveled for sure and could be a solid backup to Pierce and KG, but again, at a very low cost is the only way I'd go with him.
Detroit Pistons: This may be the team with the most amnesty options thanks to Joe Dumars. Richard Hamilton is the most likely to go mainly because he's wanted out of there for what seems like two years now. Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva are tempting but Hamilton is most likely to go.
Green Guage: He'd be a fantastic pickup for a final championship run to back up Ray Allen and Pierce, but again, at what cost in terms of money and years? If they could tender Jeff Green for one year and sign Hamliton for a similar 1-2 year deal at reasonable money, that would be a solid backup at both SG/SF spots.
Golden State Warriors: Andris Biedrins seems like the most likely here, except if you look at David Lee's contract, it's large. Almost albatrossian. Lee cashed in by putting up solid numbers (and hustle) on a horrible Knicks team but is he really worth roughly $70 million for the next 5 years? The new ownership (and Jerry West) may think otherwise and cut bait here, hoping Biedrins produces at least at the defensive end.
Green Guage: Lee would be a good fit in Boston for his rebounding and energy, but unlikely is going to sign a low money deal.
Houston Rockets: Louis Scola is a pipe dream and is signed for relatively cheap money so forget about it. There isn't any one player that sticks out here.
Green Guage: Don't expect another controversial gift from Kevin McHale.
Indiana Pacers: You would think James Posey would be gone quickly, but if Marc Stein's report becomes a reality, there's no rush for the Pacers to get rid of him now when they could trade his expiring contract at the deadline.
Green Guage: C's fans have longed for Posey ever since his glorious contributions to banner #17 but, he's far too long in the tooth for even the C's to take at this point.
LA Clippers: Chris Kaman and Mo Williams could be potential candidates here and the C's could definitely use both.
Green Guage: Kaman, if healthy, can plug a huge hole in the bigs rotation while Mo Williams could be a perfect backup to Rondo. Again, it's likely both could command more than the Celtics would (and should) be willing to offer but keep an eye out here. It's also worth noting whom they sign as a backup PG as it could be a signal as to how they feel about their expectations of Avery Bradley.
LA Lakers: The list to pick from includes Metta World Peace, Derek Fisher, Steve Blake and Luke Walton.
Green Guage: Moving on…
Memphis Grizzlies: Unless the Memphis front office has immediate buyer's remorse with Zach Randolph, Rudy Gay and/or Mike Conley, there's not much here they would get rid of logically.
Green Guage: The C's most likely wouldn't overpay for any of those players, except for Gay but it's unlikely he gets waived.
Miami Heat: Many have targeted them as the 2011 lockout poster boys, but depending on how the CBA finally shakes out, they may have a tough time surrounding LeBron, Wade and Bosh with viable players. Still, it won't matter all that much as last year's bunch proved the age-old theory: teams with multiple superstars reign supreme and they will.
Green Guage: Other than perhaps getting rid of Mike Miller's infinite contract, there's not much here, and the C's would pass on him as well.
Milwaukee Bucks: Corey Maggette would garner a look, but only has 1 year remaining after this season and expiring contracts are big bargaining chips in any CBA. Gooden is a prime example of owners needing "to protect themselves from themselves" because really, $32 million through 2015 is justifiable where?!?!?
Green Guage: As for Ainge's potential interest in Gooden: well yeah no thanks.
Minnesota Timberwolves: Another classic case of owners in need of an "NBA bailout," Darko Milicic is another prime example of head-shaking off-season moves. He'll most likely be gone unless Kahn is stubborn enough to keep him due to being "his guy." Brad Miller could be amnestied here, but with only one guaranteed year left, Milicic would be the more logical option.
Green Guage: Despite the C's needing big bodies, they need ones that actually care just a smidgen about playing basketball too.
New Jersey Nets: Another WTF signing from the summer of 2010, Travis Outlaw should have his bags packed already. $35 million remaining through 2015?
Green Guage: With a reasonable deal, the C's could use him as a backup wing, but if they tender Jeff Green for 1-year there's no need.
New Orleans Hornets: The Hornets might consider Emeka Okafor just because he makes roughly $13 mil per season through 2014, but if they have any hopes of retaining Chris Paul, they can't maintain a revolving door roster around him, especially with bigs.
Green Guage: Trevor Ariza and his $7 million per year through 2014 (player option in final year) is a likely option here. He could be another viable option for the C's, but not enough he demands a long term deal.
New York Knicks: Unless they will attempt to clear as much space as possible to nab Chris Paul or Dwight Howard, there's no immediate need. Think about that for a second. For the better part of a decade (thanks, Mr. Thomas) they were the case study of how to kill cap space and keep on killing it when it's dead. Now, they're finally relatively tidy in that regard (thanks, Mr. Walsh).
Green Guage: Renaldo Balkman is a minimal candidate here, as so would be the C's interest.
Oklahoma City Thunder: It would be the dream of many Celtics fans if Sam Presti had uber-buyer's remorse on Perk and decided to get rid of him, but that's not happening. It would be more likely if he pulled the trigger on Thabo Sefolosha, if anyone. Nate Robinson is an expiring contract, and again, that is always a good chip to have.
Green Guage: C's may have interest in Thabo as another wing backup, but not much.
Olrando Magic: Both Gilbert Arenas and Hedo Turkoglu are solid choices, but Arenas might not be topped in the entire league. I wouldn't be surprised if Otis Smith has the paperwork done before the rules have already been written.
Green Guage: Would the C's have interest in Arenas and all of his non-quirky, quirkiness? Let's put it this way: If Ainge had no scruples in trading for Ricky Davis (on a young team trying to learn how to win), signing Stephon Marbury (on a team that was attempting to repeat) or signing Sam Cassell (on a team with great chemistry attempting to win the frist title since 1986) then he'd absolutely be interested. Clearly Ainge is not concerned about off the court baggage as long as you can help the team win. I'm just not sure Arenas' knee CAN win, or even contribute much anymore.
Philadelphia 76ers: Many would think that Elton Brand is an easy choice, but apparently not. I actually tend to agree with that. That leaves Andres Nocioni, but he's also an expiring contract (the second year is a team option) so they'd be better served using him in a possible trade.
Green Guage: While there has been speculation in the past the Ainge has had interest in him, I don't see him doing much other than kicking the tires here.
Phoenix Suns:Amazingly, Robert Sarver refused to sign Amare Stoudemire to a lucrative extension, opting to have that money alloted to Josh Childress, Channing Frye, Jared Dudley and Hakim Warrick. Yeah…
Green Guage: Childress, who at one time was supposed to be the pioneer for NBA-to-Europe-defectors is the prime option here, but hardly for the C's.
Portland TrailBlazers: Unless Paul Allen chooses sentimentality over logic, Brandon Roy and his unfortunately fragile knee is gone. The only other option would be Wesley Matthews, but Roy is due far too much money, even for a zillionaire like Allen.
Green Guage: Unless it's a one-year-hope-lightning-strikes-like-a-Bill-Walton-re-run deal, then Ainge should just politely decline.
Sacramento Kings: The Kings are David Stern's favorite lockout term as a "have-not." But when the last CBA was ratified in 1999, they were one of the NBA's powerhouses for several years until Chris Webber's knee went the Penny Hardaway route on him. Compiling matters worse, they traded Webber for Kenny Thomas' awful contract and have been stuck rebuilding ever since. They just traded back for John Salmons, who was signed to a head scratching deal in 2010 so he could be gone. The other viable option would be Francisco Garcia.
Green Guage: As much as Salmons amazingly tortured the C's in the first round matchup with the Bulls in 2009, they'll pass here. Garcia could be an option as well, but again, if they are committed to Green, there's no need.
San Antonio Spurs: Richard Jefferson and that's AFTER they've re-done his contract once. When he was running with Jason Kidd in New Jersey, he was a headache for those Pierce/Walker teams that played far beyond their capabilities. Now, he seems to be one of those guys that's a "system" player, and he has not fit into SA's system (read: he doesn't play defense).
Green Guage: On the cheap, he'd be a great option for the C's, but again a lot of the free agent wing players depend on Jeff Green.
Toronto Raptors: Several folks might look at Jose Calderon's $10 million per year for the next two years salary and choke on their food, but he's also their starting point guard and only has one more year left on the deal after this one. It's doubtful they get rid of Andrea Bargnani's absurd deal, or even Linas Kleiza's relatively cheap deal (3 years left, team option on 3rd year). Perhaps they realize they overpaid for Amir Johnson and get rid of him, but his deal is rough only in the amount of years.
Green Guage: Calderon would be a fantastic backup PG to Rondo, provided he could stay healthy, his FT shooting and natural PG abilities would fit nicely here. It's a toss up, but the C's could have interest in him or Johnson (on a small deal) if either are released.
Utah Jazz:Celtics fans can forget about dreams of Big Al Jefferson being released and re-signing here (no doubt he would, he loved it here). It's true that Utah has a glut at the 4/5 spots (and the C's NEED some), but it seems like they are more apt to waive Memhet Okur. This is a bit odd to me, as I'll stick with my "only has one year left after this" theme. They'd be better off using him as a trade asset. It all depends on how strongly they feel about Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter.
Green Guage: Those two, along with Paul Millsap makes for an abundance of bigs, and Al, Millsap and Favors all due for extensions at the same time could complicate things. Raja Bell is signed on the cheap, but for three more years. He would likely be a short-term option for the C's and fit well in a veteran backup wing role. C's fans would love him, but would love it more if Big Al gets the heave-ho.
Washington Wizards: Rashard Lewis name has gone hand and hand with Gilbert Arenas as the two poster boys for amnesty, which is ironic since they were traded for one another. But the Wizards don't have any other horrible contracts and Lewis' deal is up after next season (unguaranteed year after that).
Green Guage: It's likely they still cut him though and I think the Celtics kick the tires here based on his 3-point shooting and ability to bring other bigs out of the paint. Not a ton of interest, but there would be some.
Remember, a lot of this hinges on 1) what the new CBA rules are of re-signing your own players and 2) how they feel about their own free agents. If many of the same rules apply, then they will most likely re-sign Big Baby and Green. Delonte is most likely to return as well, which would be good for both he and the team.
Keep in mind too that they need to decide how they feel about Avery Bradley's role. I think it's a bit unfair to judge him just yet since he was hurt most of the year and the C's were attempting to win a title, so there was little time to allow him to "work out his mistakes" during real game action. If they're still lukewarm on him, don't be surprised if they make a strong run at Baron Davis.
Most importantly however, is the fact that Ainge needs to keep that cap space open for next summer. Even if there's a minuscule chance that Dwight Howard would sign here, he has to leave that option there. Or maybe Ainge completely blows it up and trades Rondo to New Orleans for Chris Paul to lure Dwight here. Either way, that space needs to be maintained, meaning they can't go overboard signing any of these guys (including their own free agents).
One last note on the amnesty clause: I'm hardly in favor of it mainly because it's essentially like a corporate bailout for teams that made horrible deals. If it were purely used for injury related purposes, like the Brandon Roy situation, then I'd be in favor of it. But just because you chose to sign a mediocre player to an absurd contract (dollars or years), you shouldn't be allowed to simply wave a magic wand to absolve your boneheaded move. You can argue about how good or bad Ainge's tenure as GM has been, but he has never had many (if at all) horrible contracts just eating up cap space (he turned Theo Ratliff into Kevin Garnett so there was a means to that end). Big market or small market, hire better front office personnel and we wouldn't have many of these problems.