A very, very common question that continues to come in throughout the last 72 hours: What are the benefits to the Portland Trail Blazers in using the Amnesty Clause on guard Brandon Roy before the start of the 2011-2012 season? Here's a quick-hitting short answer. Some of this is review; bullet point No. 6 might be new.
Please note that this post is not an argument for waiving Roy but rather a summary of the circumstances that would result from his departure.
1. Brandon Roy's contract would be removed from Portland's cap number and luxury tax bill, providing a greater degree of long-term flexibility and taking the Blazers out of the luxury tax (but not below the salary cap) this season.
2. The Blazers would therefore save big money on their luxury tax bill this season. Depending on their free agent dealings, this savings would likely be $8 million or more.
3. The Blazers would recover full use of a regular Mid-Level Exception rather than the Mini-Mid-Level Exception available to taxpayers. This means they could offer a 4-year contract starting at $5 million per year instead of a 3-year contract starting at $3 million per year. This would theoretically allow them to add a better player prior to the start of the 2011-2012 season.
4. The Blazers would recover a portion of Brandon Roy's salary based on the results of a silent bidding amnesty auction of teams that are currently under the cap. This figure could be significant if there is a team that is seriously interested in acquiring his services.
5. By getting below the luxury tax line, the Blazers would delay the start of their "luxury tax repeater" clock. The new collective bargaining agreement includes a harsher luxury tax system with escalating penalties. While assessment of the extra penalties doesn't kick in for two years, the repeater system begins immediately. Teams that go into the luxury tax four out of five seasons, starting with the 2011-2012 season, are subject to much harsher tax penalties. If Portland plans to spend big money in the future or simply wants to obtain an added degree of flexibility in potentially spending big money in the future, avoiding the luxury tax this year would ensure that they can go into luxury tax territory more often in the future without garnering the extra penalties.
Late update: 6. As a non-taxpayer, the Blazers would be recipients of a portion of the money taxpayers must pay to the rest of the league. This would be multiple millions of dollars at minimum.
Those are the major financial benefits. On-court, you can make a case that Roy's departure would mean more breathing room and development possibilities for Wesley Matthews and Nicolas Batum. If the Blazers waive Roy but don't acquire a free agent replacement for him that would mean potential playing time for second year guard Elliot Williams and/or additional minutes for rookie guard Nolan Smith.
Monday's reports of Portland's plan to use the Amnesty Clause on Roy have drawn some push back.
Jason Quick of The Oregonian did an interview on 750 AM The Game in which he laid out the merits of a potential Roy return. Audio here (scroll down).
Joe Freeman of The Oregonian reported on 1080 AM The Fan Tuesday afternoon that "Blazers have NOT made a decision on Brandon Roy. From people inside organization."
-- Ben Golliver | firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter