Teams Using Cap Space On Former Players

In the past week, the Cavaliers and Celtics waived players with partially or fully guaranteed contracts, and now that those guys have cleared waivers, the teams are obligated to pay them even though they won't be playing in Cleveland and Boston, respectively. It's a scenario that's likely to play out again between now and opening night of the regular season, when rosters must be trimmed to 15. Several teams have more players with guaranteed deals than they have roster space available, so unless they're able to work out a trade, they'll be on the hook for guys who won't be contributing this year.

Most, if not all, of the players who hit the waiver wire in the next week will have less than $1MM in guaranteed money, but sometimes teams are willing to let go of someone making much more. In the case of Rashard Lewis, whom the Hornets owe $13.7MM this year, the decision to waive him and pay his partially guaranteed amount saved the team an extra $9MM they would have had to shell out if they kept him around at the full amount left on his deal.

Teams can erase the guaranteed portions of a player's salary from their books using the amnesty provision, but they can only do so once, and only on players who signed prior to last year's lockout. We're keeping track of amnesty cuts here, but this list is for players who still count against a team's cap. This list doesn't include cap holds for free agents or unsigned first-round draft picks, all of which count against the cap as well. Otherwise, if you know anyone we've missed, let us know in the comments.

Updated 10-23-12



  • Keyon Dooling ($854K) — Dooling retired in September, but the team is still on the hook for his minimum-salary deal.
  • Dionte Christmas ($237K) — Waived on October 16th despite a guarantee that covered half of his minimum-salary deal.
  • Jamar Smith ($25K) — Waived on October 16th despite a partial guarantee.




  • *Derek Fisher ($644K) — It's unclear whether he remains on Houston's books. It was widely believed that Fisher had exercised his player option for 2012/13 before he agreed to a buyout from the Rockets in March, but Marc Stein of recently heard that Fisher did not opt in. 



  • James Jones ($1.757MM) — Though Jones is with the Heat, he's still receiving money from a contract he signed in 2008 in addition to his current deal. Miami waived Jones in June 2010, on the final day they could do so before the partial guarantees on the three years remaining on his original deal became full guarantees. The move freed up cap space for the team to sign LeBron James, Chris Bosh and others that offseason, and Jones rejoined the team on a smaller deal later that summer.






Trail Blazers

Storytellers Contracts and ShamSports were used in the creation of this post.

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