NBA’s tentative labor agreement available, amnesty rule gets a tweak

Our friend Sam Amick of has landed the new tentative agreement.  While many are focusing on the finer nuances of the BRI split and exceptions, Kings fans should be looking at two specific items.

First and foremost, a new provision requires all teams spend a minimum of 85% of the $58-million cap.  What does that mean Kings fans?  The Maloof family must spend at least $49.3 million in salary this season.  Why is this important?  The Sacramento Kings currently have roughly $31.8 million in dedicated salary after signing rookie first round pick Jimmer Fredette.  That leaves a whopping $17.5 million to spend on retaining restricted free agent Marcus Thornton, as well as signing second round picks Isaiah Thomas and Tyler Honeycutt.  $17.5 is the MINIMUM.  In total, the Kings are approximately $26.2 million under the salary cap.

Now, here is something new and exciting for you CBA geeks out there.  Yes, there is an amnesty clause which allows every team in the league to jettison one player off of their current roster without either luxury tax or salary cap implications.  BUT, there is something new hiding in the proposal which might come in handy for the Sacramento Kings.


  • Each team permitted to waive 1 player prior to any season of the CBA (only for contracts in place at the inception of the CBA) and have 100% of the player’s salary removed from team salary for Cap and Tax purposes.
  • Salary of amnestied players included for purposes of calculating players’ agreed-upon share of BRI.
  • A modified waiver process will be utilized for players waived pursuant to the Amnesty rule, under which teams with Room under the Cap can submit competing offers to assume some but not all of the player’s remaining contract. If a player’s contract is claimed in this manner, the remaining portion of the player’s salary will continue to be paid by the team that waived him.

Yes folks, that third bullet point is an amnesty equalizer.  Instead of Michael Finley signing with a 50-plus win San Antonio Spurs team following the 2005 CBA, he would have to clear a modified waiver system in the new agreement.  Why is this a HUGE deal?  Well, all that talk of Baron Davis signing with the Miami Heat, might have just gone by the wayside.  Rashard Lewis to the Lakers?  Not if the Minnesota Timberwolves want to pony up a couple of bucks.

According to this provision, players cannot just take their amnesty buy-out and run off to the nearest playoff contender to chase a ring, unless that contender has “Room under the Cap” or unless no one wants to throw out a meager bid.

Who will be amnestied?  No one really knows, but this provision puts the onus on teams with room to regulate the flow of players.  They can stop other teams from reaping the benefits of a clause that is supposed to provide cap relief .  How this will play out is any one’s guess, but the Kings are one of several teams that might take advantage of this new rule.


James Ham

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