As we all know there is going to be an amnesty 2.0 clause in the newest CBA (and by the way, I was talking about the amnesty clause way back in June). Before getting into the specifics, lets look at some reason why a team would use it:
To clear a contract off the payroll to increase cap flexibility. This mostly applies to teams that are either a little over the cap or already under the cap and want create more cap space for a trade or free agent. Examples: The Wizards amnestying Rashard Lewis to create even more cap space for them to use for a trade or free agency. The Cavaliers amnestying Baron Davis to create even more cap space for them to use for a trade or free agency.
A team in the luxury tax has a player who doesn't contribute and doesn't want to pay double for this one contract or by amnestying someone it puts them under the tax. Examples: Orlando amnestying Gilbert Arenas so they don't have to pay the extra $20 million in luxury tax (and it would be easier for them to eventually get under the cap without his albatross of a contract). The LA Lakers amnestying Luke Walton because he doesn't play and they can save some money in the luxury tax by amnestying him.
Almost every writer/analyst has been saying that they expect NY to amnesty Balkman. I'm saying hold on, let's look at the numbers. So now look at where we are right now. We are above the cap by like $2 million (assuming it's $58 million) and Balkman makes $1,675,000. We are also not near the luxury tax (assuming it's between $70-$72 million).
After looking at the numbers, give me one solid reason to amnesty Balkman this summer. We don't gain any cap space, flexibility (we actually lose a contract that could be added to make a trade work), or even put any more money in Dolan's pockets. It would just be waste. The smart thing to do would be hold onto and not use it on anybody this year, and in 2012 if amnestying Balkman makes a difference in signing somebody (which it could very well), then obviously do it. It's also not completely unrealistic to believe we'd be able to dump his contract in a trade. I'm just saying wait on it and don't jump the gun. Let's hold onto this valuable asset (the amnesty clause) because we've seen how crippling certain contracts could be and *knock on wood* if something happens to Amar'e it would be a great back up plan to have the amnesty clause just in case.
Also, I want to point out that what if they allow teams to trade for a contract and then amnesty that player. That could be huge for us because we could essentially "pay the bill" for another team's bad contract and pick up an asset in the progress. An example to make it more clear: Steve Nash and Josh Childress (and maybe Lopez) for Billups and Douglas. New York then amnesties Childress and keeps Nash. This would save Phoenix around $30 million of cash and cap space (spread out of the 4 years left on Josh's contract). But then again this is probably very unlikely, because if the NBA truly seeks parity and competitive balance (which I don't believe is possible or what they want), then allowing big spenders to pay the bills for cheaper owners would be counter-productive. I have also not heard any mention of this being legal, so it's just a hypothetical until we hear the final details (and I don't expect them to allow teams to trade for a contract and then amnesty them).
Please comments, question, or anything. It just feels so good to actually talk about something besides the lockout!