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Stein: Amnesty Clause Could Be Used Now Or Later?

Marc Stein of ESPN.com reports that the amnesty clause that would allow an NBA owner to waive a player and pay him his contract outright in order to free up salary cap flexibility might take a new form. ----------------------------- Sources say that there’s a determined push led by San Antonio Spurs owner Peter Holt to allow teams to have at least two years to decide whether or not to amnesty one player, with multiple sources telling ESPN.com this week that they believe the concept -- with restrictions that are still being haggled over -- has indeed won sufficient support to be included in the new labor deal. Six years ago, teams had only two weeks to decide whether to use the amnesty clause or lose it forever. Now? There is a growing likelihood that teams will be able to "save" their amnesty clause through next season, or perhaps beyond. ----------------------------- This would be particularly helpful for the Portland Trail Blazers, who face a decision on whether to amnesty guard Brandon Roy, who has been hampered by knee injuries. Essentially, it would allow the Blazers to have another test-run year to see whether he can be a productive contributor over the course of a season and whether he can continue to turn games in the postseason. While Roy's 2011-2012 salary is set to be $15 million, far more than he would currently bear on the open market, the financial damage in overpaying for one season is far less than the risk associated with not amnesty'ing him under the old system and being forced to keep him through 2014-2015. With a condensed free agency period and limited salary cap flexibility to find an adequate replacement, the likelihood that Roy will return to the Blazers for the 2011-2012 season goes up immensely if this is the final amnesty proposal. If you're one of Portland's remaining executives, it's much easier to sell "Let's wait a year and see whether he rebounds, we can always waive him later" than "We need to move on right now" if owner Paul Allen asks your opinion and continues to insist on a "Win now" mentality. Also, remember, the Blazers currently do not have any other awful contracts on the books that might entice them to use the amnesty clause immediately. -- Ben Golliver | benjamin.golliver@gmail.com | Twitter
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