How NBA's Amnesty Program Can Help The Kings

The Oregonian's John Canzano reports that NBA owners are in favor of an amnesty program that will not only allow teams to waive a player to prevent paying luxury tax ... but that will allow teams to wipe a player off of their cap sheet completely. (If you think that the league will eventually get its hard cap, this makes total sense. There won't be a luxury tax, and you'll always have to pay the waived player. So the only benefit of amnesty would be the cap savings.)

The Sacramento Kings have no disastrous contracts. A true cap hawk would argue that you could cut John Salmons loose to save $25 million over three years. (His deal is guaranteed for $1 million in 2014-15. I guarantee he doesn't get picked up for the full $7 million.) But the Kings aren't waiving Salmons to save dough on account they just traded for him, losing a good player on a fair contract and moving down in the draft to get him.

Cutting Francisco Garcia would drop $11.9 million over two seasons, and I imagine the Kings would strongly consider this if the amnesty program is approved and a deal goes down before the season is lost. I like Garcia, but his minutes will be limited with three big-minutes guards and a new small forward, and while he's a great dude, being the chemistry guy isn't worth $6 million a year if you can't get on the court.

But the bigger impact will be in who becomes available due to the amnesty program.

Canzano tosses out Brandon Roy as a potential amnesty casualty if cap dollars can be erased. He might not be a great fit with Tyreke Evans, another guy who needs the ball, but that's a good player on the market, even in his current state. The Utah Jazz could trim off Al Jefferson, Paul Millsap or Devin Harris. Those are good players. The Warriors could decide that David Lee wasn't worth the contract (unlikely, but possible) or that Andris Biedrins needs to go (more likely).

Most of the players will be bad: Darko Milicic, Baron Davis, Gilbert Arenas, Rashard Lewis, Richard Jefferson, Travis Outlaw. But Corey Maggette's not bad. He could be waived under the program. Brendan Haywood could be a good fit next to DeMarcus Cousins and J.J. Hickson. Marcin Gortat or Josh Childress? Emeka Okafor?


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Hell, teams could really go wild to undo recent contracts. Consider Rudy Gay. Faced with a hard cap and knowing that the team beat the No. 1 seed without Gay, why wouldn't the Grizzlies consider focusing on the core of Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol and developing the younger wings like O.J. Mayo, Xavier Henry and Josh Selby?

When paired with a hard cap, the amnesty program could make teams act weird, and could throw the market into volatility. As a team with maximum flexibility, that can be a real boon. We'll see how it plays out. Eventually. Maybe.

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