Some of you may remember ‘The Allan Houston Rule‘ a few years back (Larry Coon’s explanation of it here), which essentially allowed teams to waive a player without having to pay any luxury tax on that contract. Zack Lowe of SI.com points out that in the new collective bargaining agreement, a broader amnesty rule is being discussed in conjunction with a hard salary cap that would put virtually every team well over that cap number. Basically, the amnesty rule would make up for the fact that most teams invested in long-term deals under the old agreement, and those deals would become even more burdensome under a new, more strict cap.
Lowe then lists some players for each team who would be candidates to be waived under this hypothetical amnesty provision. Here’s what he said about Detroit:
Wow, could this team use some salary-cap amnesty. It’s tempting to slash Ben Gordon’s deal, which is worth $37.2 million over the next three seasons, but Gordon is probably in that “Joe Johnson sweet spot” where it’s too early to dump him if doing so means paying him in full amount anyway. The same may be true of Charlie Villanueva.
That would leave the aging Richard Hamilton, owed $21.5 million in guaranteed money over the next two seasons.
I think Lowe’s reasons are essentially right. Getting out of Gordon’s expensive deal would certainly be tempting, but I have little doubt, based on what went on during the season and the fact that the team already made efforts to move him, Hamilton would be the guy, although I’d toss in Jason Maxiell as a darkhorse candidate. His contract isn’t as bad as the others, but he’s expensive, unproductive and Dumars might still have faith that the other three can contribute or that he can get some value for them in a trade.