(Editor’s note: The following post resides mostly in the land of hypotheticals. Given the continual unknown surrounding the NBA, it’s really all we have to discuss…)
Late last week, we touched on the updated thoughts surrounding the amnesty clause that is expected to be a part of the upcoming NBA collective bargaining agreement. When, exactly, that agreement actually arrives is a different post for a different time.
With specific regard to said amnesty clause, the Cavaliers will appear to have two options: remove a player from the payroll figures to the cost of 75 percent of due compensation or hold on to the clause in certificate form, using it to rid the team of a mid-level deal gone awry. If the team were to use the clause to their advantage now – taking them from the 12th highest payroll to somewhere in the mid-20s with regard to NBA brethren – it is assumed that the team would buy out either Antawn Jamison ($15 million remaining) or Baron Davis (nearly $29 million remaining, $26 million of which is guaranteed).
Based on numbers, the easy decision would be to send Baron Davis packing, thanking him for his contributions last season, including, but not limited to, allowing the Cavaliers to land the first-overall selection in the 2011 NBA Draft. It would free up immense amounts of cap space, completely ridding Dan Gilbert and Chris Grant of any potentially legitimate criticism lobbed their way when they made the deal last winter. But, as laid out in the initial post, the team would like to keep Davis around to help mold the team’s point guard of the future in Kyrie Irving. And, on a team full of young players, the veteran presence would be a welcomed addition.
Not sold yet? What if releasing Davis would mean he would end up joining LeBron James and the Miami Heat for what is guaranteed to be a shortened season that would benefit aging veterans? As one specific league source asked WFNY following a rebuttal, “Who else is going to play point guard? Norris Cole?” Sure, James is continually looking to recruit talented players like Jamal Crawford or Steve Nash, but with Davis – in this instance – earning his salary from the Cavaliers, he could certainly entertain signing a deal at a lower level of pay in order to ensure a better chance of winning. Whether that’s in Miami, New York or even closer to home (hello, Lakers) would remain to be seen.
Gilbert and Grant make a trade for the long-term betterment of the team and luck into a rule that allows them to rid the payroll of the insane contract which they were forced to take on in order to receive a draft pick, only to have that contracted talent sign somewhere else – honestly, Miami? – for the league minimum? Obviously, team decisions have to be made based on what is better for the Wine and Gold long term. But as fans, how would you feel if ridding the team of the largest albatross of contracts meant an instant improvement to a team which has become the arch-enemy of all things right within the NBA?