While everyone was watching the clock strike 12 on Jeremy Lin on Tuesday night, the bell also tolled for the end of this year’s amnesty period.
Teams had until midnight Tuesday to use the amnesty clause – a one-time provision delineated in the new CBA that provides immediate relief from both the salary cap and the luxury tax – and both the Denver Nuggets and Los Angeles Clippers beat the buzzer, making late decisions to let go of Chris Andersen and Ryan Gomes, respectively.
That brought the total number of teams to use the amnesty clause since the end of the lockout to 15, creating a full NBA roster of players deemed too expensive for their own good.
You know what? That roster would be a playoff team. Easily.
Sure, it’s a little weak at the wing positions, where it could probably use a little more athleticism. And there is considerable injury history that can’t be ignored. But it has plenty of size, depth and veteran experience.
Here’s the breakdown:
POINT GUARD: Chauncey Billups (New York) would start, with Baron Davis (Cleveland) off the bench.
SHOOTING GUARD: Brandon Roy (Portland) would probably get the starting nod over Gilbert Arenas (Orlando), who also could be an emergency third point guard. Charlie Bell (Golden State) would be the team’s fifth guard.
SMALL FORWARD: Weakest position on the team, with Josh Childress (Phoenix), Travis Outlaw (Brooklyn), James Posey (Indiana) and Ryan Gomes (LA Clippers) trying to hold their own against the LeBron Jameses and Kevin Durants of the world. We would probably start Outlaw, the best all-around player in the bunch.
POWER FORWARD: Pretty good health and even better depth, starting with the crafty Luis Scola (Houston). He would be backed up by Elton Brand (Philadelphia) and Andray Blatche (Washington).
CENTER: A three-headed monster of Brendan Haywood (Dallas), Darko Milicic (Minnesota) and Chris Andersen (Denver). Not much offense but very good shot-blocking.
In December, we ran a piece that nominated amnesty candidates for all 30 teams. Of the 15 players who have been victims of the amnesty provision, we correctly predicted 10 of them, allowing for some leeway.
The 15 teams with the amnesty provision still available to them are Atlanta, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Detroit, LA Lakers, Memphis, Miami, Milwaukee, New Orleans, Oklahoma City, Sacramento, San Antonio, Toronto and Utah.
The next time any of these teams can consider using the amnesty clause is next summer. The provision must be used on a player who was on his team’s roster on July 1, 2011.
And with players with awful contracts such as Tyrus Thomas, Carlos Boozer, Charlie Villanueva, Rudy Gay, Mike Miller, Drew Gooden and John Salmons still out there, you can bet that they will.