And what, you may ask, is secondary waivers?
The details still need to be ironed out in “secondary negotiations” between lawyers from the league office and the, ahem, union, but there is going to be a bidding process for players released under the amnesty clause of the new collective bargaining agreement.
How will that bidding process work?
Something like this:
Let’s say the Orlando Magic decide to release Gilbert Arenas, who has $62 million remaining on his contract over the next three years, including $19.2 milion in the upcoming season.
Arenas would first be placed on waivers, and it is safe to say that nobody is going to claim that contract during the 48-hour waiver period. But Arenas would then be placed on “secondary waivers,” and teams will space below the salary cap would be allowed to place bids on him. If the Sacramento Kings, to use a random example, were willing to spend $6 million to acquire him, and no one else made a higher bid, then he would become the Kings’ property (and the money the Magic would have to pay him this season would be reduced by whatever Arenas’ new team is paying him.)
Remember, all teams now must spend a minimum of 85 percent of the cap (rising to 90 percent in Year 3 and beyond) , and the Kings are currently $17.5 million below the minimum. So this will give many of the under-the-cap teams (a group that also includes Denver, Indiana, New Jersey, Washington and New Orleans) to do some bargain hunting prior to the opening of training camps Dec. 9.
“That’s what the clause is in there for,” a party familiar with the impending process told Ira Winderman of the South-Florida Sun Sentinel. ‘It’s so the Lakers can’t go in and scoop up all the players.’
Here is more on the amnesty provision from Howard Beck of The New York Times:
“Arenas is a prime candidate because of his bad knees, his diminishing skills and his reputation for causing locker-room friction. Orlando, which is fearful of losing Dwight Howard to free agency next summer, cannot afford poor team chemistry. Cutting Arenas would not give the Magic any cap room, but it would drop them below the tax threshold, saving them millions. (Rashard) Lewis is another obvious candidate, after his production plummeted last season (11.7 points, 5.1 rebounds, .433 field-goal percentage). However, waiving Lewis would leave the Wizards with just $19 million in salaries — $30 million below the minimum payroll. They would have to sign several players just to comply with the rules, no doubt creating more bad contracts in the process. Perhaps the most enticing candidate is (Brandon) Roy, a Portland Trail Blazers guard. Just 27, Roy is a three-time All-Star and a dazzling scorer. But he has chronic knee problems and played just 47 games last season, his scoring average plummeting to 12.2 points. He is owed $68.3 million over the next four seasons. Paul Allen, the Blazers’ billionaire owner, can surely afford the bill, but waiving Roy will not create cap room.”