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3 Shades of Blue is reviewing the issues being discussed in the negotiations between the players and owners to end the NBA lockout. It was released that the major issues being discussed were a levered luxury tax, an amnesty clause to allow teams to cut a player from their current roster, shortening the length of guaranteed contracts, rewriting the Larry Bird rights of teams, altering the cap exceptions, a new rule limiting player movement in relation to contract renegotiations and significant salary reductions.

In part one we discussed the super luxury tax issue. In this blog we want to discuss the amnesty provision.

The Issue: The owners want to be allowed to cut a player and all contractual obligations to that player one time to help teams over the cap to reduce their salary.
Overall the league is losing money. For small market teams they are losing a lot of money. The owners want to make changes to this immediately to rectify the situation. Cutting future salaries is the long term objective but the owners want immediate relief as well. By dropping the request for a hard cap the owners also sacrificed the future ability of cutting players.
The players realize this is another slippery slope similar to the sliding luxury tax. If you allow teams to cut players once what is to stop them from asking to do it more often? Guaranteed contracts are an issue the union doesn’t want to sacrifice even as a one-time event.
The Reasonable Solution: As much as the players may want to insist on the sanctity of the contract the reality is they have already allowed this in the last Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). The so called Allen Houston rule allowed teams to cut players and take their salaries off their books. This is just another request by the owners to help rectify their previous mistakes.
It’s difficult to expect this issue to be a deal breaker. The union has to protect their members and allowing players to be released isn’t exactly a great way to do that but it protects the vast majority of players moving forward. The problem for the union is that this likely won’t affect the average or below average players in the league. Teams are likely to cut expensive veterans who are nearing the end of their careers. These are the same players not getting offers to play in Europe during the holdout and the same players holding the union together during the holdout. Putting the unions core supporters at risk is a dangerous position to take but the union has to make some sacrifices to get everyone back to work.
It is likely that the union will allow this one time amnesty clause to be a part of the next CBA.



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