2014 Amnesty Primer

Now that the July moratorium is over, the seven-day window for teams to use the amnesty provision has begun. The collective bargaining agreement’s amnesty clause comes up in rumors almost year-round, but teams only have seven days to use it. This year’s amnesty period started Thursday and runs through this coming Wednesday. Here’s a look at how the process works, which teams are still have the amnesty at their disposal, and which players remain amnesty-eligible:

How does it work?

The amnesty provision allows a team to clear an especially player-friendly contract from its books. The team must still pay the player the remainder of the salary on his deal, but it doesn’t count against the salary cap or toward luxury tax calculations. A team may only amnesty one player for the length of the collective bargaining agreement — not one player per season. The provision only applies to players who were on the roster of the same team they’re on now, under the same contract, on July 1st, 2011. Teams may not amnesty players who’ve been traded or who have signed new contracts or extensions since that date.

What happens when to a player once his team uses the amnesty provision on him?

When a team uses the amnesty provision, the player is placed on waivers. The waiver rules are slightly different, however. Teams can place claims for the full amount of the player’s contract, as usual, but they can also submit claims for a partial amount, a feature unique to amnesty waivers. That can turn the process into an auction of sorts, since the rights to the player go to the team that submits a claim for the largest portion of the player’s contract. If multiple teams bid for the full amount, or for the same partial amount, the team with the worst record last season gets the player. In the case of a successful partial waiver claim, the new team is responsible for the amount of the bid, and that money counts against the cap. The previous team is responsible for the rest, but, as we explained above, the money doesn’t count against the cap. The new team has discretion over any non-guaranteed salary in the contract, and that can lead to odd scenarios, as I explained.

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, and which players are still eligible to be amnestied?

More than half of the league’s 30 teams have already used the amnesty provision, while others have no amnesty-eligible players remaining on their rosters. That leaves a select group of clubs that retain the power of amnesty. There’s a total of just nine players who can be amnestied, and realistically, only Carlos Boozer, Kendrick Perkins and perhaps Nick Collison seem like realistic candidates. Here’s the complete list:

To keep up with how teams use the amnesty clause this week and for a glance at how they’ve used it in years past, bookmark our Amnesty Provision Tracker.

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