Amnesty Asterisk | Red's Army - The Voice of Boston Celtics Fans
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Amnesty Asterisk

Earlier this month on RedsArmy, I scanned through each team looking for potential players that might get "amnestied" by their current employers. There's been some discussions about players such as Baron Davis, Rashard Lewis, Gilbert Arenas, Richard Hamilton, Mo Williams and Memhet Okur tossed around for debate. Logically, the contending teams (Miami, LA Lakers, Chicago, OKC, Boston) would love to swoop in and sign one of these guys on the cheap for two reasons: 1) because they're capped out, possibly in luxury tax territory and 2) they'd be willing to sign for short money for a chance to win.

Hold that thought. The fine folks over at Cowbell Kingdom highlighted the third bullet point regarding the Amnesty Clause, and it's a huge one regarding contending/capped/taxed teams:


  • Each team permitted to waive 1 player prior to any season of the CBA (only for contracts in place at the inception of the CBA) and have 100% of the player’s salary removed from team salary for Cap and Tax purposes.
  • Salary of amnestied players included for purposes of calculating players’ agreed-upon share of BRI.
  • A modified waiver process will be utilized for players waived pursuant to the Amnesty rule, under which teams with Room under the Cap can submit competing offers to assume some but not all of the player’s remaining contract. If a player’s contract is claimed in this manner, the remaining portion of the player’s salary will continue to be paid by the team that waived him.

So if the Celtics were planning on taking a hard look at Baron Davis to back up Rajon Rondo, or Rashard Lewis spotting Kevin Garnett and/or Paul Pierce some much needed minutes, it's not as easy as waiting for them to get jettisoned by their current team and pitching the "we need YOU for the final championship run" pitch.

Basically, teams under the cap will get first dibs at said players then will most likely move in a reverse process, with the teams with the highest payrolls having the last shot at it. It's just another small, but important wrinkle in that tangled thing called "parity."  Having say, the Timberwolves getting the first crack at signing Richard Hamilton won't put them over the top, but it does take away the chance for a team like the Celtics or Miami to bolster their bench.

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  • shaq or sheeds contract eligible for amnesty?

  • I believe Shaq officially filed his retirement with the league, thus making the remaining player option he had, get voided. As far as Sheed goes, they owe him roughly $500,000 give or take, which I’m not sure is worth it for them to amnesty.

  • thanks.. never found clarification. why sheed doesn’t qualify, hoopshype has him on the books for 6.8

  • No problem. Hoopshype’s number is the full amount they would have paid, had he fulfilled his entire contract. Since he and the team agreed on a buyout, his payments were reduced but still had to remain for the length of the deal. He’s “only” on the books this year for roughly $500k.
    Now, if he did what Shaq did, that is, officially file his retirement papers with the NBA offices, then his money comes off the books completely. Assuming this retirement rule stays the same in the new CBA, it means Shaq has to stay retired for at least a year, just in case you hear any crazy rumors of him returning.