NBA Lockout: Amnesty Clause Could Have Two-Year Grace Period, According To Report

An amnesty clause approved in an NBA lockout deal might not be one that teams have to use immediately, reports ESPN.com's Marc Stein. Stein reports that San Antonio Spurs owner Peter Holt -- the chair of the league's labor committee -- is pushing to allow teams to hang on to their amnesty clause for at least two years. Steins says that the amnesty clause approved in 2005 had a two-week deadline.

That could be huge in terms of player movement, and would add a massive wrinkle to trade talks. If teams could save their amnesty clause, they may be more willing to acquire hefty contracts to land prized assets. As a direct result, teams like the Orlando Magic with multiple disastrous contracts could be able to rebuild more quickly, using their own amnesty clause on one player (like Hedo Turkoglu) and dealing another (like Gilbert Arenas) with an asset (like Ryan Anderson, Jameer Nelson or [gulp] Dwight Howard).

Of course, the biggest way that the new amnesty clause is different than the Michael Finley rule of 2005 is that cutting a player under the clause won't just give teams luxury tax savings: it will allow teams to shave salary cap space itself. This is going to have a major impact on the league's next four or five seasons.

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