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NBA Amnesty Clause: Revisiting The NBA's Get Out Of Jail Free Card

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As the offseason sets in one option the Atlanta Hawks have at their disposal is the amnesty provision that each team was awarded following the NBA Lockout. Hoopsworld's Stephen Litel takes a look at several teams rostersand comes up with an amnesty candidate for each.

For the Hawks, Litel focuses in on Marvin Williams:

With Johnson and Horford locked up for a number of years, the Hawks are going to have to address Josh Smith's contract soon, which expires after the 2012-13 season. He is their best player and they must find a way to keep him in their uniform, but it will be difficult to do so without either finding a way to finally part ways with Williams, whether through a trade or via the amnesty clause. While there may be teams out there interested in Williams as a player, his contract is not a desirable one and it makes it more likely he leaves Atlanta through amnesty.

A couple of quick notes on the amnesty provision. Remember it can only be used once and must be on a contract that was signed prior to the new collective bargaining agreement. Also remember that the player loses no money and will still receive every dollar that is still owed to him. The team however gets to wipe that player from its salary picture which if used correctly could be quite a useful tool to many clubs.

With that said I am not sure that Atlanta is that club. I am still not convinced that this team can simply afford to pay a player to sit at home or play for another team. In Williams' case he is still owed around $15 million over the next two seasons. Atlanta will likely shop Marvin over the summer but will have a difficult time finding a taker that doesn't return a player with future financial commitments.

The Hawks haven't been a franchise that has been shy at spending money especially to keep its core intact. They have countered that by insisting that the team stay out of the luxury tax which they were unable to do this season due to injuries. Atlanta has also saved on its coaching staff where it pays Larry Drew a salary way below the league average for head coaches.

The amnesty clause for Marvin Williams would help with the salary cap but not with the bottom line. In this situation it still appears that the bottom line will carry much more weight.