The ever-important amnesty clause | Magic Basketball



May 13

The ever-important amnesty clause

Via Zach McCann of the Orlando Sentinel:

The Orlando Magic are in somewhat of a financial bind, but the new collective bargaining agreement could provide some relief.

As the NBA and the players’ union continue to negotiate terms of the new CBA, a couple of recent proposals could give the Magic salary relief and provide Dwight Howard with a significant incentive to stay in Orlando if the proposals are eventually agreed upon.

While these provisions would also help other teams, the Magic would welcome any assistance in rectifying their dire financial situation and acquiring some salary flexibility. […]

Marc Stein of said the league’s recent proposal “called for the ability for each team to shed one contract outright before next season through a one-time amnesty provision that wipes that contract off a team’s books — even though the player must still be paid — reminiscent of a similar provision in the summer of 2005.”

This, of course, is music to the ears of Magic fans desperate to get Gilbert Arenas’ behemoth contract off the books. Would Otis Smith ditch Arenas — someone he shares a close relationship with — to lessen the Magic’s future payroll? It’d take a small amount of pride swallowing, but it’d be difficult for Smith to keep Arenas around if the amnesty clause is in option.

Important to note: In 2005, a team was not allowed to re-sign a player it used the amnesty clause on. So if Smith chose to waive Arenas, he would be ending their professional relationship in Orlando.

If the Orlando Magic want any hope of salvaging their ability to reconstruct an elite team and championship contender around Dwight Howard before it’s too late, the proposed amnesty clause could be general manager Otis Smith’s get-out-of-jail-free card.

It’s no secret that Gilbert Arenas has one of the worst contacts in the NBA, if not the worst, and for the Magic to potentially have the ability to release him outright with no penalty against the luxury tax (he would still be paid by the franchise) like the 2005 rule would be a huge step in the right direction in fixing the roster. The question, of course, is what are the odds the amnesty clause sees the light of day in the new collective bargaining agreement?

According to Larry Coon, the preeminent CBA expert, the chances are high.

If Smith decides to waive Arenas, then only Hedo Turkoglu‘s contract would be left to be dealt with. And needless to say, Turkoglu’s contract — which has three years remaining in shelf life but is partially unguaranteed in its final year — is far easier to move in theory if its decided that change is needed at the small forward position.

It’s quite possible that, somehow, someway, Smith may be able to undo his mistakes and get rid of two albatross contracts in Arenas and Turkoglu this offseason. There’s no guarantee that happens but it’s certainly of occurring within the realm of reality. As such, Magic fans should keep an eye out on what happens with the new CBA.

It might save Orlando’s future.

Carlo Simone
Carlo Simone

 I know it would be hard for Otis to do but this would be great.  One of the main reasons he brought Arenas in was because he was just about the only player in the NBA you could get for Rashard.  By using the amnesty clause you could essentially get rid of the mistake of the Lewis contract and Arenas contract in one swipe.  Then we'd be in much better position to lure a top flight point guard or someone else to Orlando.


The Magic simply need to hire whoever is making the ANCIENT Spurs and Celtics remain elite. Because frankly, getting rid of Gortat - a legit 7-footer, perfect backup and more than capable starter - to get MORE aging shooters like Hedo and Arenas (to satisfy Stan's hard on for 3point shooters) was moronic.

Stan always blames defense while his offense falls apart. If defense was a priority, he wouldn't have benched Ariza (who then got traded), then let go of Pietrus -our only players who had any kind of chance at guarding athletic guards (think Kobe, Rose).

Had we even made it to the finals this year, we'd been fried. What do you know? It happened at the hands of the underdog Hawks. Almost a sweep too, In the first round... The difference in coaching from these two teams was night and day. The Hawks overachieved and focused on penetration while Stan showed his "offensive creativity" and what he could do with a roster full of 3-point shooters: Take 3s.

Result? SVG's 3point-chucking "strategy" went so well the Magic now have the distinction of having one of the worse 3point performances in a single game in playoff history.

But! let's blame:

Vince Carter


 Alright, correct me if I am wrong.  Arenas' contract could get wiped off the books, but it still has to be paid.  It is the same thing as deciding a Capital Lease in the business world.  You are still paying the lease, but whether it is actually on the books depends on circumstance.  In other words, regardless if Arenas' is off the books, we still have to pay him.  Correct?  The clause would basically move the team salary under the cap, correct?  So, would management be willing to pay more and improve the team in such a case?  It would still cost them in the long run, just not as much luxury tax.  Are we still not in the same position?  I may be wrong on this, just looking for clarification.  


Couple of things - firstly, the amnesty clause in the 2005 CBA only exempted teams from luxury tax implications, not salary cap ones, so if there was any such clause in the new CBA, it would have to go further than that.

Secondly, as far as I'm aware Turk's contract is still partially guaranteed in the final year. ShamSports states as much in the popup for Turkoglu. I have seen a lot of comments that it's fully unguarateed, but nobody has ever provided an authoritative source as to that so, for the time being, I'm going with Sham's version. How much, of course, the guarantee is and what conditions are attached to the final year, nobody seems to know either.

Except presumably the Magic organisation and Turk's representatives.


Please yes and thank you.


 I'm sure we'd all love to hear what fantastic offensive strategy van Gundy should have used with a roster full of 3 point shooters other than shoot threes.


Sort of. If the Magic can cut Arenas without salary cap penalty they will, depending on the level the cap is set at under the new CBA, likely be under the cap. However, not by enough to actually be able to spend more than the current exceptions, the MLE and BAE.

If it's a hard cap then I suspect cutting Arenas would be a no-brainer as it's just about the only way the Magic can get close to a hard cap. But if it's the current soft cap regime that is maintained, merely with a lower cap level (to get overall payrolls down and increase the amount of revenue sharing) than Smith may consider it more advantageous to keep Arenas and his hefty salary around, as it will be the only way the Magic can keep their payroll well over the soft cap.

I'm not convinced by the whole "Arenas will be cut if there's an amnesty" argument. I think Otis Smith still believes in him and, if there's a soft cap regime under the new CBA, it wouldn't surprise me to see Smith trade Nelson - say, for a starting SG to replace J-Rich - so that van Gundy has to give the keys to the team to Arenas.

Short version - until we know what's in the new CBA, any of this sort of speculation is pretty meaningless.