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Blazers G Brandon Roy And The Amnesty Clause: Sunday Night Chatter

The latest chatter from credible sources regarding Portland Trail Blazers guard Brandon Roy and whether he will be waived via the Amnesty Clause prior to the beginning of the 2011-2012 NBA season. 

Howard Beck of The New York Times reports that some believe not many players will actually be waived via the amnesty clause.

"I don't think there will be very many at all," said one team executive, who asked to remain anonymous while the lockout remains in effect.

At most, three to six teams will take advantage of the amnesty clause this year, the executive said - a view that was echoed by others around the league. The reasons are varied and complicated. Some teams are so far above the cap that removing one player will not provide room to sign free agents. A few teams have such low payrolls that they would dip below the minimum-payroll requirements. At least 10 teams have no obvious candidates for amnesty.

...

Perhaps the most enticing candidate is Roy, a Portland Trail Blazers guard. Just 27, Roy is a three-time All-Star and a dazzling scorer. But he has chronic knee problems and played just 47 games last season, his scoring average plummeting to 12.2 points. He is owed $68.3 million over the next four seasons. Paul Allen, the Blazers' billionaire owner, can surely afford the bill, but waiving Roy will not create cap room.

Marc Stein of ESPN.com, who has written before that he believes Roy will be waived via amnesty, posted the following on Twitter.

Amnesty Clause Rumble of the Day: Blazer coaches have been advised that using provision to waive Brandon Roy is strong possibility. And new Minnesota coach Rick Adelman, I'm told, would have level of interest in signing Roy after knee fears led to Wolves' Roy/R. Foye draft swap

Releasing Roy wouldn't net cap room for Blazers. If Allen can eat $60-plus mil left on Roy deal, full mid-level exception usage AND re-signing of Oden easier to pull off for GM-less Blazers. 

Ability teams have to pocket this amnesty clause for down-the-road usage, as Howard Beck noted, means we might not see many 2011 Amnestys

So it must also be said that B-Roy, if soon on open market, will have lotta teams calling ... all thanks to Game 4 fourth quarter vs. Dallas

After conferring with Storyteller, here's a ballpark estimate of how much a test year for Roy would cost under one likely scenario...

Cutting Roy and getting nothing out of him could cost up to $68 million: up to $63 million in Roy's guaranteed future salary plus whatever it costs to bring in a replacement ($5 million per year if the Blazers waived Roy and then used their full Mid-Level to replace him). Even if they used the MLE and re-signed Oden at the Qualifying Offer level, the Blazers would remain below the luxury tax line so tax payments would be avoided entirely. 

If the Blazers retain Roy in 2011-12, they will still be on the hook for his $63 million. If they then gave Oden the Qualifying Offer amount of $8.8 million, they wouldn’t be eligible to use the full $5 million MLE, only the smaller $3 million MLE for taxpayers. Using the MLE available to them and factoring in contracts for Roy and Oden, Portland would likely incur a tax payment of about $13 million.

Using rough estimates here, the Blazers would wind up paying $68 million to waive Roy and sign Roy's replacement with their full Mid-Level. They would wind up paying $76 million to retain Roy while incurring luxury tax penalties associated with Roy, a mini-MLE signing and re-signing Oden at the Qualifying Offer number.

So you're talking about an estimated $8 million additional cost to take a test year with Roy under one likely scenario. (There would be another $3 million in salary cost to sign the mini-MLE player but that player wouldn't need to be Roy's replacement and that could theoretically be money better spent on adding a frontcourt piece for multiple years. You could consider that a move that's independent of the Roy decision, or not. Either way, the new mini-MLE number is small enough that the test year ballpark cost is similar.)

Note also that Allen would receive a portion of the $63 million owed to Roy back as a refund when Roy was claimed during the waiver process. That amount would not be known when the decision whether or not to waive Roy is made but it could be significant.

-- Ben Golliver | benjamin.golliver@gmail.com | Twitter