Yesterday at Grantland.com, Bill Simmons and Jonathan Abrams talk about the Amnesty provision that will reportedly be included in the new CBA once it is finalized. According to the article, the clause would give teams the ability to pick one player that they could waive and that player's deal will then no longer be counted against the team's salary cap. The last time there was an amnesty provision teams only earned luxury tax relief. Any team that waives a player will still owe the full amount of their contract, however, it will no longer be a part of the team's salary cap calculation.
Simmons and Abrams give a team by team look at who each team should be targeting with the amnesty provision. Here is what they had to say about the Atlanta Hawks:
Abrams: Joe Johnson should happen ... but it won't. Even if the Hawks erased his contract off their salary cap (as well as that $24.9 million final season in 2016 when he will be 34 years old), he is still owed that money and might as well play for it. Instead, Atlanta can wiggle free from Marvin Williams' contract ($24.9 million through 2014).
Simmons: Agreed. You have to admire the Hawks: They compounded one of the worst NBA mistakes of this century (drafting Williams over Chris Paul) by giving Williams an indefensibly dumb contract extension just in case their fans didn't feel bad enough about it. I still like my Hedo/Redick-for-Johnson scenario more for them.
I think they do a good job of explaining why the Hawks won't decide to jettison Joe Johnson's large contract. They will owe him that money anyway and they aren't going to simply pay him that much money to go play for someone else. That leaves Marvin Williams as the only likely candidate for the provision but would leave the Hawks searching for a starting small forward unless they are ready to move Josh Smith there on a full time basis.
Taking a look around the southeast division, players that look like they might be in danger are Mike Miller from Miami, Gilbert Arenas or Hedo Turkoglu from Orlando, DeSagana Diop from Charlotte, and the original owner of the Joe Johnson contract Reshard Lewis in Washington.
Exit Question: If there is an amnesty provision in the new CBA then who should the Atlanta Hawks use it on and why?