Atlanta Hawks Roster Breakdown, Amnesty Clause And More

CHICAGO, IL - MAY 02: Josh Smith #5 of the Atlanta Hawks dunks the ball over Carlos Boozer #5 of the Chicago Bulls in Game One of the Eastern Conference Semifinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs at the United Center on May 2, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Now that the NBA Lockout has finally ended we should turn our attention to the on court product. The Atlanta Hawks have some work to do with roughly $65 million committed to just seven players for the upcoming season. The salary cap figure for the 2011-12 season is expected to be the same as last year at $58 million with the luxury tax threshold at right around $70 million. Assuming there aren't any surprises in the way that the league prorates contracts for this season, the Hawks will have roughly $5 million dollars to use to add six players just to get to the league minimum of 13 without going into luxury tax territory which we will talk about in a moment.

Here is a look at the Hawks players under guaranteed contracts for this season:

Atlanta also has two players that are signed to non-guaranteed deals. Picking up the options on those would bring the roster total to nine and the salary figure to right around $66.5 million.

Presumably the Hawks will also add second round draft pick Keith Benson to the roster for two reasons. One he is young big man and two because he will come cheap.
  • Keith Benson
So that brings the Hawks roster to 10 players and one of their first calls in free agency is likely to be to Jason Collins. Michael Cunningham also reported this past week that the Hawks had expressed interest in bringing back Damien Wilkins before the lockout began so we will see if anything has changed there. According to ShamSports.com the cheapest Atlanta could bring those two players back would be at a salary of $884,293. However, until we know the exact details of the new CBA, these numbers could change.
  • Jason Collins - Free Agent
  • Damien Wilkins - Free Agent
These moves would get the Hawks to 12 players and one below the league minimum of 13. Assuming that they won't go into the tax, that doesn't leave much money for that final roster spot. Remember also that if they just carry 13 players, then you can rule out any use of the D-League. Also if Atlanta were to be riddled with injuries the way they were last season then things could get really interesting.

Luxury Tax


The harsher luxury tax penalties reportedly won't go in effect until the 2013 season which gives teams two more seasons under the old system. The way the tax works is any team that salaries total goes over the tax number with pay a dollar for dollar penalty. In 2013 the penalty becomes much harsher.

Luxury tax rates: The same dollar-for-dollar as in the previous CBA for the first two years. Starting in Year 3, the rates increase to $1.50 for the first $5 million over; $1.75 for $5-$10 million over; $2.50 for $10-$15 million over; $3.25 for $15-$25 million over; and an additional 50 cents for each additional $5 million (same as previous proposal).

Amnesty

Many reports indicate that the much discussed Amnesty clause will be a part of the new CBA and will be able to be used at anytime throughout the deal. That would give the Hawks 6-10 seasons to use it depending on whether or not either side opts out of the CBE early. The Hawks could very well decide to amnesty a player like Marvin Williamsto give them some relief in their above salary cap situation but given their uncertain financial situation they may choose to hold onto the amnesty for now. Remember that the amnesty clause eliminates a contract from the salary cap figure but the player is still paid the full amount of the contract. I haven't seen anything that suggests that the Hawks are in a position to pay a player to go play for another team.

For more on the Atlanta Hawks be sure to follow Peachtree Hoops on Twitter. Also check out the Peachtree Hoops Facebook Page for daily updates and comments from around the league.

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