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Ford: Small Market Teams Could Oppose Amnesty Clause

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ESPN.com's Chad Ford joined Bill Simmons on a recent episode of The B.S. Report to break down the 2011 NBA Draft. The talk switched briefly to the amnesty clause issue. Neither of the two writers are fans of a strengthened amnesty clause that would wipe a contract completely off the books rather than simply refund luxury tax costs. "As a Celtics fan," Simmons said. "That's a big, big, big life raft to throw to the Orlando Magic. To say you can wipe out one contract off your cap. If they get that life raft with Gilbert Arenas, that totally changes their chances of keeping Dwight Howard." Later, he added: "I don't like anything that rewards what [Orlando Magic GM] Otis Smith did the last few years and how recklessly he's spent money. It just seems unfair." Ford noted that small market teams that have carefully managed their salaries might be against a stronger amnesty clause because they would see it as an unfair advantage for higher-spending teams. "Some of these small market teams that have been very fiscally responsible are going to really oppose that," Ford said. "There's a lot of teams out there that have been really been careful with their cap space. It's a competitive advantage they have now. It sort of really screws them if teams like Orlando and Washington can dump these bad contracts all of a sudden. It does't benefit a team like the Pacers, a team that has been really careful with all of their contracts, it screws them." In addition to Arenas and Rashard Lewis of the Washington Wizards, the pair pointed to Los Angeles Lakers forward Ron Artest as another player who could find himself as an amnesty clause casualty. Ford noted that the clause could have a meaningful impact on the race for future titles. "For Orlando and the Lakers who fashion themselves as contenders, getting those contracts off gives them some flexibility." As noted recently, the amnesty clause would need to be strengthened from the previous version to actually wipe a contract completely off the books. -- Ben Golliver | benjamin.golliver@gmail.com | Twitter
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