The new amnesty clause is seen as a valuable lifeline for clubs to get out of some bad contracts signed before the new CBA. Under the new amnesty:
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.
Essentially, let’s say the Celtics have a player on their roster with $10 million left on their contract. They can cut this player and have the full $10 removed from their salary cap, a move which could conceivably get them under the salary cap/luxury tax threshold. So, the player is going to get paid regardless. Should a team sign this player to let’s say a contract for $6 mil, the Celtics would be on the hook for the remaining $4 mil.
The clause could be seen as a huge asset for teams looking to shed some dead weight without being handcuffed for years to come.
The amnesty can only be used on deals signed under the former CBA agreement. Currently, only Jermaine O’Neal would be at least entertained as a possibility for exercising this clause. However, removing O’Neal will not provide the breathing room worthy enough to make the move. The Celtics can afford to carry a higher than normal salary range and are in no position to let a big walk away over money that is already signed under contract.
Going into next season is a whole new ball game though. Paul Pierce would have almost $40 mil left on the table and that freed up cap space could be enough to make a serious play at the next crop of free agents that are set to hit the open market after this season. As of now, Dwight Howard, Deron Williams and Chris Paul are all set to become free agents following this season and would like nice in green as the team transitions into a new era. Many things can and will happen before than, but at least the Celtics will have a new set of options to explore in order to make sure they are putting the best team as possible on the parquet.