As an active Twitter user and after browsing our reader’s comments every day, I try to get the general consensus of what fans are discussing regarding the San Antonio Spurs.
A few readers keep bringing up the idea of the Spurs signing Elton Brand now that he’s been amnestied by the Philadelphia 76ers. With word coming out of Houston late Wednesday evening that the Rockets were thinking of using the amnesty clause on Luis Scola, my twitter followers started inquiring about the possibility of Scola playing with the Spurs.
To see if the Spurs could have a chance at any amnesty candidates, one must understand how the amnesty clause works first.
I’ll admit, I’m not the “Larry Coon” of Project Spurs when it comes to team salaries and all the details of player contracts; I usually leave the economics up to our own Trevor Zickgraf. However I was interested in getting a general understanding of how the amnesty clause works.
Here’s my simple explanation of the amnesty clause using a player who is not in the NBA, Italian Gianluca Basille. Let’s say I’m a General Manager and I sign Basille to a 4-year, 40 million dollar deal. After the first year of Basille’s contract, he’s performing terribly on my squad and he’s eating my cap space, so I decide to amnesty him.
Now I have to pay the rest of his contract and he goes into what’s called a “silent auction” where teams below the salary cap get to bid to claim him. Whoever has the highest bid, they get Basille and Basille’s salary is reduced from the bidding price. So let’s say the highest bidder put forth 10 million dollars for Basille. That means I’d only have to pay 20 million (30-10) of his remaining three years.
Now the team that won the bid has to keep Basille for the next three years, the length of his original contract.
But what if no one bids for Basille? Teams have 48-hours after a player gets amnestied officially through the league to bid for the player. If no team claims the player after 48-hours, then Basille becomes a free agent and is able to sign with whomever he chooses.
Before analyzing if the Spurs could land any of these potential amnesty candidates, here are a few details to keep in mind via a Larry Coon article about the Amnesty for ESPN.
- Teams have six days after Moratorium (July 11) to decide if they’re going to use the amnesty clause on a player. This means this years last date to amnesty a player is July 17.
- Each team is only allowed to use the Amnesty clause once in the span of each new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).
- Because no contract financial figures have been made public in the Spurs’ recent signings, the salary of the team is still unknown. Andrew McNeil of 48 Minutes of Hell estimates that the Spurs are still over the salary cap, therefore they’re one team that cannot bid on any amnesty players. The Spurs’ only chance of getting any of these players would be to wait and see if the player made it through the bidding round without being auctioned to a team.
Now let’s look at some of the amnesty candidates. I’ll first give the players current situation and then my own take on whether or not this player has any chance of landing in San Antonio this coming season.
Elton Brand – Brand was officially amnestied from the Philadelphia 76ers on July 11. This means teams below the cap have until this Friday (July 13) to make a bid for Brand. Brand only had one year remaining on his contract so any team that bids for him would only have him for this coming season. The Dallas Mavericks are the favorite to claim Brand, but the New Orleans Hornets and Phoenix Suns are also expected to make a bid for him. According to David Aldridge of NBA.com, Brand would prefer to play in Dallas if he’s picked through the amnesty route.
Brand’s number one option however is to not be picked up and instead become an unrestricted free agent. Aldridge thinks that the Brooklyn Nets and Spurs would have a chance at landing Brand if that happened.
Update (7/12-5:39 PM CST): With the Mavericks now looking to pursue Luis Scola as well according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports! It would mean the Suns or Hornets woud likely take over in the pursuit of Brand.
- My Prediction: I think the Mavericks claim Brand and as it’s been said by Aldridge, Brand has familiarity with Chris Kaman, who used to play with Brand with the Los Angeles Clippers.
Brendan Haywood – According to multiple reports, the Mavericks will use the amnesty clause on Haywood, and Haywood has three years remaining on his deal. The Charlotte Bobcats are expected to bid for Haywood since they’re under the cap, plus he’s almost guaranteed a starting job and works out in Charlotte in the offseason according to Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer.
Update (7/12-5:43 PM CST): As of Thursday, Haywood has officially been amnestied. His bidding period will end on Saturday.
- My Prediction: If Charlotte is serious about Haywood, I’m sure they’ll claim him. Even if he does make it to become an unrestricted free agent, I’m not sure he gives the Spurs what they’re looking for though he has height. He doesn’t have the speed or offensive skill set to be efficient in the offense. Even though he can guard the rim defensively, he still has trouble defending perimeter power forwards because of hid limited speed.
Luis Scola – The Rockets are considering using the amnesty clause on Scola to make room for a potential blockbuster that will allow them to clear cap space to make a deal to trade for Dwight Howard. Scola has three years remaining on his contract and my first reaction was, “should Scola get amnestied, there’s no way he’d make it out of the auction without getting a bidder to take him.” But then, Trevor brought up a good point, what if the teams below the cap like the Cleveland Cavaliers, Milwaukee Bucks, Toronto Raptors, Phoenix Suns, and New Orleans Hornets don’t want Scola for the next three years? He’d be 35 in his final year of his current deal.
Update (7/12-5:40 PM): Wojnarowski is reporting that the Rockets will indeed amnesty Scola on Friday. Wojnarowski is also reporting that the Mavericks will target Scola in the amnesty bidding. Scola's amnesty winner will be announed on Sunday if he's amnestied on Friday. What this means for the Spurs, is the Rockets now have a package that Orlando might accept to trade for Dwight Howard. Imagine the Spurs having to face Howard four times a year? It's now possible.
- My Prediction: I highly doubt the Rockets amnesty Scola unless they have some sort of verification that they’d be getting Howard back in the process. But if they do, I think the Cavaliers look like a team that could bid on Scola if their goal is to make the playoffs beginning this year. Scola and Anderson Varejao could give Kyrie Irving a formidable frontline along with the development of Tristan Thompson. Remember, the Cavaliers will be losing Antawn Jamison to free agency. Should Scola make it to free agency, I’m sure he wouldn’t mind finishing his career with his Argentine pal Manu Ginobili and teaming with Tim Duncan, Tiago Splitter, and three parts of team France for the veterans minimum.
Andre Blatche – The Wizards are undecided at the moment if they’ll amnesty Blatche according to Aldridge. Blatche has three years remaining on his deal, and if he were amnestied, the Bobcats would be one team likely to bid for him since Aldridge states they’re already interested in him.
- My Prediction: Blatche likely wouldn’t make it past the amnesty round without getting scooped up. Even if he was a free agent and he has some size, he has too many immaturity issues. I could see the Spurs trying a year with him, but not three years.
Tyrus Thomas – There haven’t been any major reports of the Bobcats looking to amnesty Thomas, but his contract looks eligible as he’s owed 26-million for the next three seasons. Thomas is just 25 years old and amnestying him that young, where there still may be more progress, is a move the Bobcats are unlikely to make. The Bobcats will instead continue to keep him on the trading block, though his contract would be tough for any team to take.
For those wondering if the team should look into using the amnesty clause on Matt Bonner, let’s look at that situation. Bonner is set to receive roughly 7.6 million over the next two seasons, though his 13-14’ season is unguaranteed. So if the Spurs were to use the amnesty clause on him, they’d be paying 3.6 million on this years contract. Let’s say a team put a 1 million dollar bid on Bonner, then that would drop the price the Spurs have to pay to 2.6 million. It’s not a bad idea; the problem is that Bonner is the fourth most important piece in the frontcourt right now. Unless the Spurs find a free agent, make a trade, or find a Summer League big man who has a shot outside of 10-feet within the next five days, then Bonner could be amnestied. Although, that’s very unlikely to happen.
The likelihood of the Spurs signing an amnestied player is almost zero to none. Their best way to improve their roster for another frontcourt player will be to either to make a trade, or hope that they have a hidden gem on their Summer League roster.
here is a pretty good bit of info on our salary room
San Antonio SpursMaximum cap room: $0Midlevel exception remaining: $500,000Biannual exception remaining: $557,000Trade exceptions remaining: $854,000 (T.J. Ford)Significant free agents: NoneNotes: The Spurs brought everyone back for one more run. Tim Duncan took a significant pay cut when he re-signed and he's now the Spurs' fourth-highest paid player.
This is a very informative artical, but Bonner as the fourth most important piece in the Spurs frontcourt is not saying much. Bonner does not make enough money to be amnested,, but gives you just enough in the regular season to think he'll do better in the playoffs, but is a no show in the playoffs so you have catch 22. The Spurs need a big who can defend the rim and rebound first. When a player block shots and rebounds, he just plays, he does not get nervous like a 3 point shooter (Bonner). Bonner gets nervous in the playoffs and gets nervous on the road in the regular season. Check out his FG% in the playoffs and on the road vs at home. The Spurs need a young player simular to a Kyle O'Quinn who is in the summer league. I realize the Spurs can't get O,'Quinn but they need a guy like him
Crossing my fingers that Scola becomes a free agent; however, if the Mavs acquire Scola, that'd suck really big ones.
@Joey Wavs won bid for Brand @ 2.1 mil..not sure if they have room for scola now too,+ they may need to shore up other spots instead. If what I read about Wavs having 6 mil under cap was true they might still have room for Scola, but seems to me the frontline is crowded now with Brand, kaman,Dirk,wright..also being reported they are looking at Calderon...
@Joey lol that it would, unfortuanately its looking more like mavs have switched to Scola over brand.
The rockets amnestied Scola. Will he find his way back to the Spurs fold? Hard to tell. There might he several bidders for his services. Hope he becomes UFA and sign with the Spurs.
@rtesoro440 Only thing about Scola deal is that he will require a minimum bid of around 3.5 mil. over 3 yrs..unfortunately I think mavs have roughly 6 mil left under cap and seem to be targeting him over Brand now
May a team that earlier amnestied one of its player participate in the bidding for another amnestied player? Assuming for purposes of discussion, that team after it amnestied one of its players is now below the salary cap. Let's take a hypothetical case. Suppose the Spurs amnesty Bonner and after exercising the option, it now below the salary cap. Could the Spurs now participate in the bidding of other players earlier amnestied by different teams?
@rtesoro440 We would never amnesty Bonner to increase our chances at getting Scola, if that's where you're getting at. That isn't Spurs-like. It's just as much of a gamble as the Rockets trying to get rid of Scola to get Howard. Bonner may suck, but he spreads the floor. He would only be expendable if we can get an adequate replacement. Spurs aren't know for making mistakes.
@rtesoro440 @Joey Wavs got brand @2.1 mil just now..may put them out of contention for scola too..plus now they already have at least 4 bigs (5 if they re sign Yi) Spurs would never waste amnesty on an under 4 mil yr player like bon..amnesty is one time thing geared towards dumping a bad deal (high $) Even if they did AND dumped Blair and Neals TINY contracts I STILL dont think that gets us under cap as we are RIGHT below Lux tax now. Even if all those did get us under cap (which I dont think it would) it definitely wouldnt get us under enough to get to Scolas min bid of 3.35 mil yr 3/yrs. MAYBE they could get Darko at 1.95 or Haywood at 1.35 min bids but REALLY. would either one of them be worth losing Bon, Blair AND Nails? Imo that would be INSANITY.
@rtesoro440 @Spursfan66 Uhm. That's never going to happen. Waiving Blair would be incredibly stupid. He may have fallen out of the rotation, but he's a very good player despite being an undersized big man. Why waive good talent? Neal was playing out of position. He will be more effective once Mills, maybe even De Colo take over the back up PG. Why do you want to break up a team that was a few calls away from being Western Conference champs? As tempting as Scola is, it's stupid to gamble like that. Maybe Ryan Richards will impress in summer camp?
I think so too. The point at bar is the mavs. They amnestied Haywood and now bid for either Brand or Scola. Anyway, the Spurs are over the salary cap. Why not amnesty Bonner plus waive Blair and Neal who have unguaranteed contracts . Will these put now the Spurs under the salary cap? If they are, then the Spurs are ready to bid for either Brand and Scola too. Bonner is able to spread the floor, true. But he is not irreplaceable. Manu can shot the 3, so does Leonard, Jackson, even Green. This solves the need for a big player to man the interior and, the lineup is able to absorb I think 3 more players to complete the 15 enough space to sign Denmon, maybe Derrick Byars and Jamychal Green or Ryan Richards. Just talking aloud. It all depends now on Pop, GM Buford and Mr. Holt. But I think it is possible.
@Spursforever69 Darko requires a min bid of 1.95 mil per yr over 2 yrs on waiver wire, so its hard to believe that no team under cap will bid that much
so greg oden wants to play this season. while obvious injury issues/questions arise, would the spurs be willing to give him a shot for a minimum? he isnt getting more then a minimum contract from anyone and a healthy oden fills the spurs need hands down.
@JohnAbney Unfortunately its already been reported he wants Miami..lol..beyond that I highly doubt he will even attempt playing again at least for the first 3/4 of season or so
@Spursfan66 of course he does, miami is the flavor of the month and has been for 2 years now. (lmao makes sense right?) anyone and everyone wants to go to miami if its realistic.
@JohnAbney That'll be something. He was a beast in college, definitely put on a show every game. Would be a steal for the Spurs, again. As to drafting DeJuan Blair.
What about darko milicic, wolve may amenesty him and his contract is expensive which could make him a free agent. He is a shot blocking big but I don't know how good his jumper is. He seems the more practical type player the spurs would go after.
@inmortal7'0" tall. A needed BIG in the paint for the Spurs. I like that idea. But wouldn't he clog up the paint for everyone else?
I'd sure like to see some salary dumped and Kris Humphries acquired. They guy sure puts up quite a lot of double-doubles.
@RGR1959 I think we only have 2 non guaranteed deals that we could dump and both are VERY small (blair, neal) So that wouldnt even be in the ballpark for Hump..plus we would STILL be WAY over cap
@jaceman49 Ive read that mavs are about 6 mil under cap now
@jaceman49 They should be about right where they were before the trade I think(although Kaman did add some $)..both indy players were on end of deals that were equal to Yawns deal. Even after what Kaman added, I think they still have a decent amount they can offer in blind bid on Brand
It's too bad that the Spurs don't have a shot at getting Scola from Houston. I'm curious however at the trade rules after a player is picked up. Could be smart for these smaller market teams to pick these players up and them trade them for picks and money.
@JosephPais I do know that a re signed player (B Lopez 4 instance) cant be traded now until Jan 15th..might be same for a tradee
@JosephPais I think a certain amount of time has to pass before any player like that could be traded away again
@JosephPais They can't be traded for the rest of the season they were picked up during, I know that for sure. I think as soon as the new league year begins they are fair game though.