The NBA Amnesty Clause provides franchises with the ability to remove the contract of a player who is grossly overpaid without penalty.
The NBA last installed the amnesty clause in the 2011 CBA and the last player amnestied during that time was Carlos Boozer. There have been rumours that the amnesty clause could potentially come back into play considering the current state of the league. Whether or not this benefits the Atlanta Hawks is yet to be determined.
A recent article by Morten Jensen from Forbes outlined whether or not the amnesty clause should return. Jensen outlines in the article that the Detroit Pistons and Atlanta Hawks are two of the few teams that will experience minimal effects from the current lack of revenue which is a great sign for the Hawks!
The reason for this is because the Atlanta Hawks current salary cap situation is really good due to the amount of cheap rookie-scale contracts on the roster. Due to this, 11 of the 15 contracts currently on the Atlanta Hawks roster are either rookie or minimum level contracts which will leave them with a ton of cap space.
Considering the fact that the Atlanta Hawks only have four contracts on their roster that aren’t rookie-scale or minimum deals, they are really the only options to amnesty. Additionally, Jeff Teague’s contract expires this summer, Clint Capela’s contract at the moment is pretty valuable and Bruno Fernando makes at most $1.7M so the only logical option is… Dewayne Dedmon.
Dewayne Dedmon is currently in the first year of a 3-year/$40M contract that he signed with the Sacramento Kings last summer. If the amnesty clause were to come into effect this summer it wouldn’t be a terrible idea to consider amnestying Dedmon to clean up the Hawks books even further.
Despite the fact that Dedmon is on a negative value contract he is still a valuable part of the Atlanta Hawks. He played solid minutes for the team off the bench and could continue to do the same as the team improves.
Another reason not to amnesty Dedmon would be because there is only two years left on his contract after this year and despite his contract, the Hawks still have a lot of cap space. If the Atlanta Hawks have a chance in the next couple years to sign a marquee free agent, Dedmon’s contract likely won’t hinder that.
The most likely scenario for the Atlanta Hawks, if the amnesty clause is brought back, would be to hold on to it as a safety net in case they sign a bad contract in the next few years. It would certainly be nice for the team to have that safety net as well.
The amnesty clause could allow the Hawks to take bigger swings in free agency, especially on guys who are either unproven or have an injury history. For example, if the Hawks were looking to sign a guy like Gordon Hayward, and they had the amnesty clause, they could outbid other teams and sign him to a large contract and if he never returned to All-Star form, they could amnesty him.
If the amnesty clause returns, that could be beneficial for the Atlanta Hawks, but even if it doesn’t, the Hawks are in a really good spot financially. Let’s hope they can use that to their advantage and turn this cap space into wins over the next few years.