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The Trail Blazers Could Really Use an Amnesty Clause – But on Who?

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In an exercise in annual futility, we again look at the ultimate what if scenario – what if the NBA resurrected the amnesty clause?

Portland Trail Blazers v Dallas Mavericks - Game Five Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Brandon Roy is arguably one of the greatest players in the 48-year history of the Trail Blazers.

Unfortunately for Portland, and the rest of the basketball-watching universe, his short-lived Pacific Northwest reign was officially ended with a few signatures on an NBA amnesty document seven years ago.

In an exercise in annual futility, we again look at the ultimate what-if scenario – who would the Blazers dump if the NBA resurrected the amnesty clause?

A quick refresher

The NBA’s Amnesty Clause:

- Was introduced as part of the league’s 2010 Collective Bargaining Agreement.

- Allowed contracts signed before 2011-12 to be waived with no cap implications.

- Allowed each team the chance to amnesty one player until the 2015-16 season.

- Helped teams waive a total of 22 players.

- Included Gilbert Arenas (Orlando), Baron Davis (Cleveland) and Travis Outlaw (New Jersey).

Portland’s current cap situation

No one in their right mind would describe the Blazers’ payroll as flexible or filled with talent-appropriate contracts.

And unfortunately for President of Basketball Operations Neil Olshey, no amnesty clause was included in the most recent 2017 Collective Bargaining Agreement.

As Olshey prepares for the draft, free agency and trade season, how much easier could his job be made if a burdensome contract was removed from the team’s roster with no impact on the cap?

While other teams might have that one particular contract they would take back if they’d had their time again, the Blazers have two standout contenders – both of whom were signed/re-signed in the summer of 2016.

Since we last posed this question, Evan Turner and Meyers Leonard each have one less year on their contracts, making them slightly easier to trade but still ridiculously difficult to move.

Both have two remaining years with Turner owed $36,475,409 ($17,868,852 this coming season) and Leonard $21,882,021 ($11,286,515).

With only nine guaranteed contracts currently confirmed for the 2018-19 season, the Blazers already have $112,000,975 committed – Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum, Turner, Moe Harkless, Leonard, Al-Farouq Aminu, Zach Collins, Caleb Swanigan and Jake Layman. Wade Baldwin and Georgios Papagiannis are non guaranteed.

As a result, removing Turner’s hefty contact would drop the team’s salary to eight players and $94,132,123, with Leonard’s prospective amnesty dropping the team’s payroll to $100,714,460.

All other contracts would likely be moveable in trades, without having to give up an asset, like a draft pick.

Evan Turner’s Amnesty Potential

Turner is far and away Portland’s most maligned contract (not player). If he was earning $10-$12 million less a year, there would be no issue with him either coming off the bench or being traded to another team.

He is well and truly in the rotation but his lack of shooting and average defense means he will never be able to live up to this contract.

With the possible departure of Shabazz Napier and Pat Connaugton respectively this summer, the Blazers are seriously shallow at the guard and wing positions, so moving Turner would also require serious reinforcements this summer.

He would seemingly leave a larger hole on the court than Leonard.

Meyers Leonard’s Amnesty Potential

This season, Leonard was demoted to fifth big man, behind Jusuf Nurkic, Aminu, Ed Davis and Collins. With both Nurkic and Davis free agents, it would appear Leonard is still stranded behind Collins, Swanigan, whoever the Blazers choose to keep and any prospective veteran free agents.

With only junk time on the horizon, a fresh start would seem to be the best option. Problem is, the seven footer hasn’t shown anyone else his contract is worth taking responsibility of.

Yes, his contract is less in monetary value but in actual fact, it could be more of an anchor holding Portland back from moving forward than Turner’s contract.

So, 12 months after posing this initial question, has your mind changed? Would you rather the Blazers part ways with Turner, Leonard, or someone else entirely?

Other teams who could make use of a new Amnesty Clause:

Joakim Noah (New York)
Ryan Anderson (Houston)
Luol Deng (Lakers)
Timofey Mozgov (Brooklyn)
Bismack Biyombo (Orlando)
Brandon Knight (Phoenix)
Nicolas Batum (Charlotte)
Ian Mahinmi (Washington)
Kenneth Faried (Denver)
Danilo Gallinari (Clippers)
Chandler Parsons (Memphis)
Gorgui Dieng (Minnesota)
Carmelo Anthony (Oklahoma City)

Poll

Who would you rather the Blazers amnesty?

This poll is closed

  • 50%
    Evan Turner
    (656 votes)
  • 48%
    Meyers Leonard
    (639 votes)
  • 0%
    Someone Else
    (13 votes)
1308 votes total Vote Now