The Phoenix Suns are one of many teams that could benefit from an amnesty clause in the new Collective Bargaining Agreemeent. Owner Robert Sarver proved last summer when he was acting GM that he can't trust himself not to overspend on bad contracts and if this clause makes it into the final version of the CBA he will have a way to undo what he did.
Ironically, the amnesty clause itself could potentially cost the owners an extra $500 million just so they can have the option of voiding their own bad deals.
Did you catch that?
At a time when the NBA owners are claiming poverty and locking out the league to force huge player pay cuts, they negotiated the right to skirt the salary cap and pay players not to play so they could fix their own mistakes.
ESPN's Marc Stein and Chad Ford reviewed the entire league and listed potential candidates for this "interesting" bit of overspending. The choices for the Suns are obvious: Josh Childress or Hakim Warrick (two players signed by GM Sarver in 2010 after he left Amare walk).
Bright Side of the Sun's Alex Laugen explored the possibility of waiving either of these two players and like Stein and Ford concluded that it might not make sense for the Suns to amnesty either guy.
Laugen also gets into the details of how the proposed "stretch" provision on the new CBA would allow teams to waive one player per year and stretch the cap hit over a period of time.
From Bright Side of the Sun:
The Pending CBA And The Phoenix Suns: What Does One Do For The Other? - Bright Side Of The Sun
If the Suns use "amnesty" on Childress, they get to wipe $6 million off their cap this season and an increasing amount in future seasons. A LOT more flexibility. However, Sarver has to pay Childress $27 million in the next 4 years ($7 million per year) regardless of the cap break. And then the amnesty option is gone.
He might want to wait out Childress one more season to see if he will live up to that contract. But then again, now that mid-level contracts are cheaper, there are many many players who will be a better value than Chill.
However, if the Suns "stretch" Childress, they can cut him and spread his remaining $27 million out over 9 years (twice the remaining years, plus 1). That equates to a $3 million cap hit each season for 9 years.
The amnesty and stretch rules aren't likely to benefit the Suns as much as other teams with really bad contracts like Gilbert Arenas or Brandon Roy. Then again, you never really know how these things are going to play out.
What seems certain is that the owners are so untrustworthy with their own money that on one hand they are demanding huge cuts in player salaries while on the other hand writing into the rules more ways to fix their own mistakes.
For more on Childress and the Suns, go to Bright Side of the Sun.