What would an amnesty clause mean to the Blazers?

As was reported in a fanshot and on the main page here at BE, an amnesty clause is being pushed by owners in the new CBA. This amnesty clause would allow one player from each team to be waived, and, while his salary is still fully guaranteed, it would no longer count against either the salary cap or luxury tax. 

(Quick note: This article assumes current salaries remain consistent in the new CBA as well as a hard cap not being implemented for at least a few years.)

The only realistic target for this on the Blazers would be Brandon Roy, as every other player has either a relatively small salary (players still on rookie or minimum deals), contracts expiring in the next year or two, (Miller and Camby), or are too valuable to even consider. (LA, Wallace, Matthews) 

First, a look at the current Blazers cap situation for the next two years: (all salary information cited from Storyteller)

  2011-12 2012-13
Brandon Roy $15,032,144.00 $16,460,538.00
Marcus Camby $12,866,331.00
LaMarcus Aldridge $12,372,000.00 $13,500,000.00
Gerald Wallace $9,500,000.00 $10,500,000.00
Andre Miller $7,807,728.00
Greg Oden $8,788,681.00
Wesley Matthews $6,135,126.00 $6,505,253.00
Luke Babbitt $1,768,800.00 $1,892,280.00
Elliot Williams $1,348,800.00 $1,442,880.00
Rudy Fernandez $2,180,443.00 $3,187,808.00
Nicolas Batum $2,155,365.00 $3,166,231.00
(Ryan Gomes) $1,000,000.00 $750,000.00
Patty Mills $1,171,494.00
Armon Johnson $788,872.00
Chris Johnson $788,872.00
Earl Barron $1,106,941.00
[#21 Pick] $1,123,100.00 $1,207,400.00
(Victor Claver) [#22 in 2009] $1,078,200.00 $1,159,100.00
(Petteri Koponen) [#30 in 2007] $877,300.00 $943,100.00
(Joel Freeland) [#30 in 2006] $877,300.00 $943,100.00

(Yellow indicates qualifying offer; Orange indicates partially guaranteed; Green indicates unsigned draft pick)

If none of the options are picked up, that would leave the Blazers with a salary cap number of $70,103,783 to begin the summer. However, we will operate under the assumption that the options for everyone but Earl Barron will be picked up, committing the Blazers to a cap number of $88,660,556. 

As the salary cap has remained at or near $58,000,000 for the past three seasons, we will assume that number will not change drastically one way or another. This leaves the Blazers a projected $30,000,000 over the salary cap for 2011-2012, and approximately $15,000,000 over the luxury tax threshold. (based on 2010-2011 levels) 

(Note: Unsigned draft picks are counted against the cap until the start of the regular season, and the luxury tax is calculated based on the team salary on the last day of the regular season)

So, with all of that, what impact would releasing Brandon Roy with no salary cap consequences have? 


  • The impact on the Blazers' flexibility to sign free agents and make trades in the coming off-season would be none. While Brandon's salary of $15 million is considerable, with the Blazers set to be more than double that over the cap already, no added flexibility would be gained. 
  • It would pull the Blazers much closer, and possibly even below the luxury tax threshold, meaning a difference of paying over $18 million to the league and receiving a check of somewhere between $1-4 million. A difference of over $22 million to Mr. Allen's wallet.
  • The major impact to the basketball side would come in the following off-season, the summer of 2012. It is here that Marcus Camby's $12 million and Andre Miller's $7.8 million will likely also be coming off the books. Combine that with Roy's $16.4 million salary that year that would be removed, and over $36 million currently on the Blazers' books would be removed, presumably placing them well under the salary cap and giving them the flexibility to sign free agents and execute sign-and-trades when the likes of Dwight Howard, Chris Paul, and Derron Williams will be free agents. 
  • While the Blazers are unlikely to be destinations for any of these marquee players, the ability to take on salaries and make unbalanced trades would be an excellent opportunity to expand on a potential core of LaMarcus, Gerald Wallace, Wes Matthews, and Batum. 

As a proud owner of two different BRoy jerseys that are still worn to every home game I can make it to, it absolutely pains me to even think of releasing him. But the potential benefits are tremendous, while the risks of Brandon returning to his all-star form on another team seem fairly remote at this point. 

(Thanks to Storyteller and Larry Coon's CBA FAQ for their excellent information used throughout this post) 

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