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2013 Amnesty Primer

Today is the last day of the July moratorium, which means NBA teams can officially resume full activity beginning tomorrow. In addition to signaling the end of the moratorium, July 10th also marks the first day that teams are eligible to amnesty players. This year's amnesty period will run from the 10th until the 16th — after that, teams that still haven't used their amnesty clause won't get another chance to do so until next July.

With amnesty week upon us, here's a refresher on how the process works, which teams still have the amnesty option available, and which players remain amnesty-eligible….

How does it work?

The amnesty provision provides a team an opportunity to clear a bad contract from its books for salary cap and luxury tax purposes. Although a team still has to pay the remainder of the amnestied player's salary, as it would for any released player, the player's salary no longer counts against the team's cap (except for minimum payroll purposes) when the amnesty clause is used. For instance, if and when the Lakers amnesty Metta World Peace, they'll still pay him his full $7,727,280 salary for 2013/14, but will remove that figure from the cap, significantly reducing the team's tax bill.

The amnesty provision can be used on any player, as long as the following rules are observed:

  • A team can only amnesty one player — not one player per season.
  • The amnesty provision can only be used on a player who signed his contract prior to July 1st, 2011. If a contract was signed, extended, or renegotiated after that date, the player cannot be amnestied.
  • A team can only use its amnesty provision on a player who was on its roster on July 1st, 2011. If a player was traded after that date, he cannot be amnestied.
  • The amnesty clause can only be used during the seven days following the July moratorium. If a team doesn't amnesty a player during that week, it won't get another chance to do so until the following July.
  • A team that has yet to use its amnesty clause can do so in any of the next three years. The 2015/16 season is the last year in which a player can be amnestied under the current CBA.

Amnestied players are placed on waivers, but the waiver rules are slightly different than usual. An under-the-cap team can still place a full waiver claim on an amnestied player, if it doesn't mind being on the hook for the rest of the player's contract. However, clubs also have the option to submit partial waiver claims, in what essentially amounts to an auction for the player's services. If no team places a full claim, the team with the highest partial claim is awarded the player. If two teams bid the same amount, the club with the worse record wins out. If neither a full or partial claim is submitted, the player becomes an unrestricted free agent.

For a few more details on the amnesty process, check out our complete explanation in the Hoops Rumors glossary.

Which teams still have the amnesty provision available?

Exactly half of the NBA's 30 teams have used the amnesty provision in the last two offseasons, leaving 15 clubs with the option of amnesty still at their disposal. These are the teams still in play, per our amnesty provision tracker:

  • Atlanta Hawks
  • Boston Celtics
  • Charlotte Bobcats
  • Chicago Bulls
  • Detroit Pistons
  • Los Angeles Lakers
  • Memphis Grizzlies
  • Miami Heat
  • Milwaukee Bucks
  • New Orleans Pelicans
  • Oklahoma City Thunder
  • Sacramento Kings
  • San Antonio Spurs
  • Toronto Raptors
  • Utah Jazz

The Pelicans no longer have any amnesty-eligible players left on their roster, and reports have suggested the Bobcats will amnesty Tyrus Thomas, while the Lakers will amnesty World Peace. That would leave just 12 teams with the amnesty option available.

Which players are still eligible to be amnestied?

While there are 35 players still eligible to be amnestied, some are likelier candidates than others. I examined a few of this summer's potential amnesty candidates back in March, but here's the complete list of players that technically remain amnesty-eligible, along with the total money left on their deals:

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