NBA AM: Recapping The Latest Amnesty Activity
Lots of amnesty activity going on around the league this summer, so figured this would be a good opportunity to provide the latest update on each player impacted. But first, here’s a short refresher on what the Amnesty provision is (and isn’t) under the current collective bargaining agreement.
Amnesty is a one-time opportunity for teams to release one player via the waiver process and remove him from their team salary and luxury tax computations. For a player to be eligible for the Amnesty provision he must be on his team’s roster continuously from July 1, 2011 to the date he is amnestied, without any new contract, extension, renegotiation or other amendment to his contract in the meantime. Teams cannot amnesty players they sign, receive in trade, extend, renegotiate, or otherwise amend after July 1, 2011.
Here are the players who were impacted by this provision this summer:
Luis Scola – Power Forward: The Houston Rockets are expected to amnesty Scola with the primary intent on become even bigger players in the hunt for All-Star center Dwight Howard. Houston hasn’t been publicly acknowledged by Howard or his camp as one of his preferred destinations, but there are many who believe the Rockets would be willing to take a one year rental to land him and attempt to woo him once there.
Scola averaged 15.5 points and 6.5 rebounds last season with Houston, but his numbers dropped significantly compared to his 2011 production despite roughly the same amount of nightly minutes.
The minimum bid for Scola in year one would be at least $3 million. There aren’t many teams remaining who could absorb that salary.
The Dallas Mavericks, after striking out early in free agency, are reportedly interested and the widely believed frontrunner in placing a bid for his services.
Elton Brand – Power Forward: The Philadelphia 76ers are in the hunt for a starting power forward after using their one-time clause on Brand this week. The winning bid for Brand will be announced on Friday afternoon with the Dallas Mavericks also reported to be serious players for the veteran.
The plan for Dallas would be to bring Brand off the bench in a reserve frontcourt role behind Dirk Nowitzki and Chris Kaman.
The Portland Trail Blazers and Phoenix Suns are two other teams under the salary cap who can submit a blind bid, but Blazers officials have consistently maintained that using cap space on aging veterans isn’t part of their short term plans.
If Brand clears the amnesty waiver process, the Los Angeles Lakers have also been rumored to have interest in bringing Brand in on a veteran’s minimum deal for next season.
Brendan Haywood – Center: Haywood emerged as the Dallas Mavericks’ starting center last season in large part due to the departure of Tyson Chandler to the New York Knicks in free agency.
Haywood posted averages of 5.2 points, 6 rebounds and 1 block per game last season. The importance of Haywood manning the team’s interior next season became less critical when the Mavericks agreed to terms with former All-Star Chris Kaman earlier this week.
According to the Charlotte Observer, the Charlotte Bobcats who are coming off a 7-59 season will be among teams targeting the eleven year veteran.
Darko Milicic – Center: Milicic showed signs of growth as Minnesota’s starting center in 2011 under head coach Kurt Rambis, but never seemed to find his niche in Rick Adelman’s system in 2012 and thus he’s now looking for a new employer.
Milicic was the No. 2 overall pick of the 2003 draft which included LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony and Chris Bosh but hasn’t been able to find the same level of success in the league as those All-Stars.
In the past Milicic has stated he’d prefer to return overseas iif things didn’t pan out in the leaguebut according to the Star Tribune’s Jerry Zgoda, Milicic’s agent says his client would like to return to the NBA for the foreseeable future.
Can Marvin Williams Turn The Corner In Utah? The Atlanta Hawks reached the playoffs the past five seasons, but have decided to go in another direction by orchestrating trades and becoming active in free agency this summer.
One of the casualties of this change was Marvin Williams who served as Atlanta’s starting small forward since the 2007 season. Earlier this month, the Hawks dealt Williams to Utah in exchange for former All-Star guard Devin Harris.
Williams, the No. 2 overall pick of the 2005 draft, was criticized heavily in Atlanta in part because the team selected him over guards Chris Paul and Deron Williams who have turned into perennial All-Star performers. But with a fresh start in Utah, and fewer expectations, Williams may be in store for a breakout season in his new environment.
“This is definitely an exciting time for me and my family,” Williams told Randy Hollis of the Deseret News. “Obviously (it’s) my first time being traded, but to be able to play for an organization like the Utah Jazz really is exciting. I’m excited, I’m definitely excited. It’s something very new for me. I’ve been in Atlanta the last seven years, and that’s all I ever knew. So a new opportunity, get a chance to play with new guys, play for a new coach, live in a new city, it’s all going to be something new for me, so it definitely is an exciting time for sure.”
Williams said news of the deal caught him by surprise and reiterated he had no desire to leave the Hawks but ultimately understand it’s a business.
“It was unexpected, obviously,” Williams said. “I have always loved Atlanta. I’ve loved the fans there, I loved playing there, I loved my teammates there, it’s a great city. But I understand the nature of the business — trades happen — and you have to move on and it’s time to turn the page to the next chapter.”
The Jazz made the playoffs last season but were swept in the first round at the hands of the more experienced San Antonio Spurs. Williams believes his postseason experience will be an asset to the young Jazz. Williams has played in a total of 42 playoff contests with postseason averages of 7.3 points and 3.8 rebounds.
“I’m a young guy but I’ve been in the league, this is coming up on my eighth year,” Williams said. “I’ve been to the playoffs before so I’ve won a little bit. Hopefully I can come in and just play my game, and hopefully my game really fits in with the Utah Jazz and that’ll help us take this organization to the next level.”
Williams averaged a career-high 14.8 points per game in 2008, but saw his offensive touches, minutes and role with the Hawks gradually reduced each season since then.
Update On JaVale McGee: According to Benjamin Hochman of the Denver Post, the Denver Nuggets have a five-year, $50 million deal on the table for restricted free agent JaVale McGee.
However, McGee and his team are still entertaining offers from around the league in an effort to potentially find a more lucrative deal. McGee’s decision to work the market a little more likely is based on fellow free agent class big men Brook Lopez (5 years, $60 million) and Roy Hibbert (4 years, $58 million) signing to huge deals.
Of course, both Hibbert and Lopez have had far better careers up until this point, but Nuggets head coach George Karl believes McGee could ultimately develop into an All-Star caliber performer in time.
Denver can match any offer received for McGee and are expected to do so unless an opposing team does the unexpected and presents a Max level deal.
Kidd Comfortable In Reserve Role, But Expects To Close Games: The most glaring weakness for the New York Knicks over the past eighteen months has been at the point guard position. The Knicks addressed their depth issue this summer by signing future Hall of Fame guard and proven floor general Jason Kidd.
Kidd is a little long in the tooth these days at the age of 39 but remains a very capable option. The Knicks are expected to use Kidd in a reserve role backing up the emerging Jeremy Lin, which is fine with the veteran but he insists he wants to play solid minutes as well.
“I would love to start,” Kidd told Fred Kerber of the New York Post. “I mean, my job is to make Jeremy better at practice and stuff like that, but at the end of the day, it’s about six minutes. If I’ve learned anything in the last 18 years, it’s the last six minutes of any NBA game, down 15 or up 15, you can still win or lose. So that’s the best part of the game.”
Kidd also envisioned playing side by side with Lin in late game situations.
“That’s up to Coach [Mike] Woodson,” Kidd said. “Again, it becomes about playing basketball. We’re basketball players and a lot of times the media gets lost with playing positions — the point guard, the two guard, the power forward, center. So the last six minutes, I’ve always said, is the most important part of the game. … I’d like to be on the court helping or if not helping Jeremy or whoever’s my teammates. Letting them know what I see and hopefully I can help us win ball games.”
NBA Chats: There is one NBA chat on the schedule today. Salary cap expert and author of the CBA FAQ Larry Coon will be taking your questions at 3:00pm. Get your questions in early here.