2013's amnesty period came to an end last night at 11:00pm CST, leaving just seven teams and 11 players still in play for the amnesty clause. The Bobcats, Lakers, Heat, Bucks, and Raptors all used the amnesty provision this year, making 20 teams in total that have taken advantage of it in the last three years.
While that leaves 10 teams who haven't amnestied a player yet, three of those clubs will no longer have any players eligible. The Pelicans entered this offseason with no amnesty-eligible players under contract, and the Pistons (Charlie Villanueva, Greg Monroe) and Jazz (Derrick Favors, Gordon Hayward) both elected to keep their remaining amnesty-eligible players, all of whom are on expiring contracts.
That leaves the following list of teams that could still release a player via amnesty next July:
- Atlanta Hawks: Al Horford
- Boston Celtics: Rajon Rondo
- Chicago Bulls: Joakim Noah, Carlos Boozer
- Memphis Grizzlies: Zach Randolph, Mike Conley
- Oklahoma City Thunder: Kevin Durant, Kendrick Perkins, Nick Collison
- Sacramento Kings: John Salmons
- San Antonio Spurs: Tony Parker
It's safe to assume that, barring a catastrophic, career-threatening injury, Horford, Rondo, and Parker are safe, meaning the Hawks, Celtics, and Spurs are unlikely to use the amnesty provision. That leaves just four teams in play. Here's a look at the candidates on those clubs:
Even though Noah will still have two years left on his contract entering next offseason, he's still young and productive enough that it's hard to imagine him becoming a realistic amnesty candidate before his deal expires. The same can't be said for Boozer. After being discussed as a potential victim last summer, he didn't inspire too many rumors this time around, but there's still a consensus that he could be in danger next July.
With Luol Deng's contract set to expire, the Bulls could clear a big chunk of cap space by letting Deng expire and amnestying Boozer. The veteran power forward is coming off a decent season, but he's not the same player he once was, and clearing his $16.8MM cap hit for 2014/15 could have significant cap and tax benefits.
Randolph and Conley both continue to be essential pieces of the Grizzlies' core, so I think it's extremely unlikely that either player becomes an amnesty candidate. Still, it's worth noting that Randolph is on the books for $16.5MM in 2014/15, and Conley will still have two years left on his contract heading into next summer. We've seen situations change quickly before, so I don't want to entirely shut the door on either possibility, but it's a long shot that Memphis uses its amnesty provision.
Oklahoma City Thunder:
Durant isn't going anywhere, and I doubt the Thunder will be so hard up for flexibility next summer that they'll need to clear Collison's modest $2.24MM cap hit from the books. But Perkins has been and continues to be a very viable amnesty candidate. OKC decided this year that Perkins still provides enough value on the court that it's not worth paying him to play for another team, but when his salary increases to $9.65MM in 2014, the club may change its stance.
On the surface, Salmons looks like one of the strongest amnesty candidates remaining, but after this season, most of his remaining salary is non-guaranteed — the Kings are only on the hook for $1MM of his $7MM total. That means that Sacramento could choose between saving $6MM in cap space by buying out Salmons for $1MM, or saving $7MM in cap space by paying him his full salary. It's pretty hard to imagine many scenarios in which clearing that extra $1MM in cap room is worth paying Salmons an extra $6MM, so it looks like the Kings won't use their amnesty clause.
Overall, while it remains possible that players like Boozer or Perkins could be released in 2014, it looks like most of the teams that are going to use the amnesty provision during this CBA have already done so.