NBA Players most likely to be released via amnesty

Posted by Unknown on Tuesday, June 11, 2013 with 2 comments
Courtesy of Rob Mahoney 

Charlie Villanueva, Detroit Pistons: Although his entire stint in Detroit has been a disappointment, Villanueva is coming off the worst single season of his NBA career. If the Pistons have any immediate plans for using their cap space (or even want to leave open the possibility of utilizing that space to facilitate a trade later in the season), they should least consider amnestying the single season of salary left on Villanueva’s deal.

Metta World Peace, Los Angles Lakers: An unessential player who isn’t worth his current salary, much less the multiplied cost created by the luxury tax. Again: No amnesty decision the Lakers make is likely to make them a better basketball team, as their cap situation is too great to allow for short-term improvement and flexibility. But if the Buss family gets uncharacteristically thrifty in what looks to be a down year, they may well trim the fat of World Peace’s $7.7 million salary from an otherwise bloated cap sheet.

Joel Anthony, Miami Heat: It seems unlikely that Anthony would ever be amnestied given Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra’s clear appreciation for his work ethic. He’s valuable still as a pick-and-roll defender and an effort rebounder, but Miami could conceivably look to snip the $3.8 million Anthony will make in each of the next two seasons as a way of hedging the tax bill of a costly roster.

Drew Gooden, Milwaukee Bucks: Given Milwaukee’s web of negotiations with Monta Ellis (player option), Brandon Jennings (restricted) and J.J. Redick (unrestricted), Gooden’s amnesty status is a bit complicated. The Bucks have Bird rights on all three of the aforementioned free agents, meaning that they won’t need cap space in order to re-sign them and thus wouldn’t need to amnesty Gooden as a means to that end. Yet until those players are signed (or until Milwaukee renounces their rights), Ellis, Jennings and Redick will each have a cap hold that clogs up the Bucks’ cap space. Combined, those holds come to a total of $33.6 million, which when added to Milwaukee’s committed salary for 2013-14 puts them clearly above the projected salary cap line.
Depending on how things go with Ellis, Jennings and Redick, the Bucks could renounce some of those holds to create some workable cap space, then amnesty Gooden to expand it. But the interesting factor in play with Gooden and the Bucks’ free agents is the amnesty timeline. As previously mentioned, teams can only amnesty players between July 1 and July 9, thus leaving Milwaukee with about a week to engage in negotiations on several fronts and conclude whether amnestying Gooden might actually offer a tangible benefit. That will depend on which of those three free agents the Bucks decide to bring back and for how much, forcing a cost-conscious organization into a difficult dilemma with a ticking clock.

John Salmons, Sacramento Kings: Although Salmons is technically under contract with Sacramento for two more seasons, the final year of his deal has just $1 million guaranteed. That makes him nearly as attractive an amnesty candidate for this summer as it will next, depending on the Kings’ more precise offseason plans. Ultimately, Sacramento is in a position to pick its spot. Will a new ownership group led by Vivek Ranadive be willing to pay Salmons $7.6M to not play? Although an impending decision regarding the future of Tyreke Evans will largely dictate the Kings’ course, it’s feasible for the team to create a good chunk of cap room to work with for either 2013 or 2014, if they’re willing to cut ties with Evans and his cap hold. The odds are on Sacramento waiting until next summer to cut Salmons loose and play the field a bit.

Andrea Bargnani, Toronto Raptors: Newly knighted Raps GM Masai Ujiri wants Bargnani gone, according to Marc Stein of, and a shy trade market could force him to consider alternative options for ditching the problematic forward. That Bargnani has $22.3 million remaining through the final two seasons of his deal might make him an amnesty long-shot, but given his pitiful play and lowly standing with the team, his release through the amnesty clause is at least conceivable. That would be a lot of money for the Raptors to concede just to rid themselves of a once-valuable player, but any decision to amnesty Bargnani would undoubtedly come as a comparative option to the luxury tax bill Toronto would otherwise face with him on the books.

Linas Kleiza, Toronto Raptors: Another potential impediment to amnestying Bargnani is the presence of an even less useful player — this one in the final year of his deal. Kleiza is set to make $4.6 million next season in exchange for some incredibly shaky play, and doesn’t seem very tradeable given his recent run of injuries and largely depressing play. If the Raps can get something — anything— in exchange for Bargnani on the trade market, they may pursue that end and save their one use of the amnesty provision for Kleiza.