To amnesty or not to amnesty?

A look at whether any of the NBA's 10 candidates should be waived in July

Updated: December 13, 2013, 9:39 PM ET
By Bradford Doolittle | ESPN Insider

BullsAP Photo/Nam Y. HuhShould the Bulls amnesty forward Carlos Boozer?

Ever since the last NBA collective bargaining agreement was finally reached late in 2011, we've had to factor in the amnesty provision when evaluating the possible scenarios for each team's roster and cap management. This get-out-of-jail-free card was designed to allow a team that was hamstrung by a bad long-term contract to waive a player and get his cap hit wiped out. The team still has to pay out the cash, of course, but the option has given several teams much-needed financial flexibility.

The Kings-Raptors trade last weekend sent veteran John Salmons to Toronto, removing him from the list of amnesty candidates. Now just 10 such names remain, spread across six teams. Most of the decisions will be easy calls, while a couple will require some discussion.

Oklahoma City general manager Sam Presti explained the algebra of the amnesty option to The Oklahoman: "The majority of the teams that have used it have done so when they were under the salary cap or when they have exceeded the luxury tax to a degree in which the player's salary is less expensive than that of the luxury-tax penalty itself. We do not fall into either dynamic; therefore, it has not been something deeply explored by our organization."

In other words, the amnesty provision is not generally used simply to jettison an unwanted player from the roster. It's used either to free cap space or to save on an expensive luxury-tax bill. Some teams, like the Thunder, fall somewhere in between. With that in mind, let's evaluate the likelihood of any of the 10 remaining amnesty candidates being waived in July.


Chicago Bulls

Amnesty candidates: Joakim Noah (two seasons for $25.6 million remaining on his contract after this season); Carlos Boozer (one season for $16.8 million)

Noah isn't going anywhere. He is one of the league's 10 best centers and is producing tremendous value on a team-friendly contract. If the Bulls want to include Noah in any kind of initiative to shake up the roster, they would have plenty of opportunities to do so via the trade market.