If we didn’t call this the amnesty provision the Gilbert Arenas rule, we would call it the Rashard Lewis rule. He is owed $21.1 million this season and $22 million next season, and while he still has some value at as a stretch four he doesn’t have second-highest-paid-player-in-the-league value.
But the Wizards are not going to use the amnesty clause on him, not yet anyway reports the Washington Post.
Two people with knowledge of the Wizards’ thinking have said that it is unlikely that the team uses the amnesty provision on Lewis or anyone else before this season. But the Wizards could wait and see what players other teams waive, which could add more free agents to the mix.
Actually, this makes a lot of sense.
You amnesty a guy for two reasons. One, to avoid paying the luxury tax, but the Wizards have $47 million locked up according to the Post (or just $40 million according to Sham Sports). They need to add salary on to make the new league minimum.
The other reason is to free up cap space to go after a free agent. Is it worth it to go offer a max or near max deal to Nene? To get in the running for David West? Those are your biggest unrestricted free agents out there. You could try to overpay for Thaddeus Young and steal him away from Philly, but is that a wise use of the money.
The Wizards are better off holding on to the amnesty card and playing it next summer, when there will be quality free agents on the market.
Just know this — fans love the amnesty clause but there will be five or fewer guys who get waived that way before the season starts. GMs are going to wait and use it later (and who they can use it on is not formally defined yet).