One of the more popular cries from the Thunder fan base after the dismal all-around postseason performance of Kendrick Perkins was that the team should rid themselves of his contract (two more seasons at nearly $19 million total) by using the amnesty provision on him this summer.
In the new collective bargaining agreement, teams have the one-time ability to have a contract that was signed before July 1 of 2011 come off the books by waiving a player, thus creating salary cap space to replace him with a more talented one if that’s what the team chooses to do.
But that money is still owed to the player that’s no longer there, making it a much less desirable proposition for small market teams like Oklahoma City who are trying to keep total payroll costs down.
That’s just one of the reasons why Thunder GM Sam Presti said at his end of season media availability that using the amnesty provision on Perkins, or anyone else on the team’s roster, isn’t something he’s ever considered.
“We just haven’t considered using the provision,” Presti said. “I wouldn’t necessarily directly attribute that to any player on our team. Every team looks at the amnesty provision different based on their different circumstances. But it’s not something that we’ve really explored.”
When pressed, Presti went on to praise Perkins.
“We think Perk has a lot of value to our team,” Presti said. “He’s a member of a team that won 60 games and helped us to our third division title in three years. I don’t know that we can discount that. I’m sure he’d like to have had a better postseason. But I’m sure that’s pretty universal for the whole group. And we accept that.”
As bad as Perkins was in the postseason — and he was historically bad, at least by one statistical measure — everything about the Thunder’s playoff run that was a negative is essentially going to be thrown out as a basis for future decision-making purposes.
The injury suffered by Russell Westbrook put the Thunder into a state of complete disarray, and the team was scrambling to adjust on the fly on both ends of the floor in his absence. Because of this very relevant piece of information, Presti made it clear that the play of Perkins, or anyone else this postseason will not be judged too harshly by the organization — one that, for a variety of reasons, won’t even consider using the amnesty provision on one of its players at this time.