Quantcast 2011 San Antonio Spurs Basketball: Spurs release Jefferson

 

Spurs amnesty Jefferson. Who is next?

 

The first shoe has fallen in the amnesty game, as the San Antonio Spurs reportedly decided on Dec. 7 to release Richard Jefferson via the provision. By doing so, the Spurs will have the final three years and $30 million of his contract removed from their salary cap and luxury tax figures.

The move does not come as a complete surprise. By amnestying Jefferson, the Spurs will drop below the luxury-tax threshold for the season. As well, San Antonio will have just $34 million in salary slated for the 2012-13 season, putting them well below the salary cap and making them major players in what is predicted to be a bumper crop of free agents.

However, the amnesty clause has seen more rumor than substance since it was announced that amnesty would be a part of the new collective-bargaining agreement, forgiving teams of one bad contract for the first time since the end of the 2003-04 season.

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It was widely assumed initially that players like Rashard Lewis ($46 million over two years), Gilbert Arenas ($63 million over three years), Elton Brand ($35 million over two years), and Brandon Roy ($68 million over four years) would be instantly jettisoned from their teams, but that talk has cooled as teams take a wait-and-see approach to the process.

Some teams, like Milwaukee, have already said they will not utilize their amnesty clause this season. Others will likely hold onto it to possibly help themselves absorb a bad contract from another team in a trade and them instantly get out from underneath it.

But while actual news regarding teams and amnesty has been lacking, it does not mean it won’t happen. The Golden State Warriors have been linked to many of the amnesty rumors. Early speculation was that David Lee ($69 million over five years) would be the one to go, but that has been replaced by talk of either Andris Biedrins ($27 million over three years) or Charlie Bell ($4 million over one year).

The New Jersey Nets are also rumored to be looking at amnestying Travis Outlaw, who is owed $28 million over four years, in order to free up space to pursue another big-name player to put beside Deron Williams. The same goes for the Los Angeles Lakers, who could dump either Luke Walton ($12 million over two years) or Metta World Peace ($22 million over three years) to allow for some tax relief and flexibility when pursuing players.

 

 

The Phoenix Suns are another team that could look to amnesty a player this season. Josh Childress is owed $27 million over four seasons, but amnestying Childress would plunge the team well below the salary cap next season, opening up the chance to sign two maximum-salary free agents in 2012.

And even Roy is a near-certainty to be released by Portland. As much as he means to the fans in Portland and how good a player he can be when healthy, his contract no longer can be justified now that it appears injury problems will follow him for the rest of his career. And with the Blazers likely to be a luxury-tax payer if Roy remains on the roster, this is as close to a no-brainer as there is.

Other players who could face the amnesty ax this year include DeSagana Diop ($14 million over two years), Baron Davis ($29 million over two years), Brendan Haywood ($45 million over five years), Shawn Marion ($26 million over three years), Richard Hamilton ($25 million over two years), Ben Gordon ($37 million over three years), Charlie Villanueva ($24 million over three years), Mike Miller ($24 million over four years), Hedo Turkoglu ($34 million over three years), Jose Calderon ($20 million over two years), Mehmet Okur ($11 million over one year), and Renaldo Balkman ($3 million over two years).

 

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By: Matt Zemek
Pro Basketball Fans Staff Writer


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