Posted: Friday July 8, 2005 1:23PM; Updated: Friday July 8, 2005 1:23PM
With an opportunity to save about $40 million, the New York Knicks may find no better time to part ways with Allan Houston.
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Ray Allen and Michael Redd are off the free-agent market, but two other quality (albeit older) shooting guards might soon be available for a song. Mavs guard Michael Finley and Knicks guard Allan Houston each could find themselves free agents later this summer if their respective teams decide to take advantage of a new loophole in the collective bargaining agreement.
It's called the "amnesty clause," and it allows NBA teams a one-time exception to waive a player and not have that player's contract count against the luxury tax. Teams would still have to pay the player's full salary, and the full amount would still count against the salary cap, but it wouldn't count against the luxury tax. Considering that NBA teams currently pay a dollar-for-dollar penalty when they exceed the tax threshold, the savings could be significant.
The Mavs, for example, are seriously considering waiving Finley (three years, $51 million left on his deal) to save the $51 million they might have to pay in future taxes. The Knicks likewise might go this direction with Houston to save some $40 million in luxury taxes. Other players mentioned as possible amnesty candidates include Brian Grant (Lakers), Chris Webber (Sixers), Doug Christie (Magic), Jalen Rose (Raptors), Theo Ratliff (Blazers) and Raef LaFrentz (Celtics).
Any player waived would be free to sign a new deal with a different team and still get to keep the money from their old one. Finley, for example, could pocket his $51 million from Dallas and then sign with a contending team for the mid-level exception (around $5 million per season). The only restriction is that a player can't re-sign with his former team. In Finley's case, he likely would have his choice among such suitors as the Suns, Nuggets, Cavs and hometown Bulls.
The Mavs insist they still haven't decided yet whether they will exercise this option with Finley. Mavs president Donn Nelson has said the team also might consider a trade. But either way it appears Finley's days in Dallas are numbered.
Radmanovic to make visits
Sonics forward Vladimir Radmanovic, a restricted free agent, isn't a big fan of the dog-and-pony shows some teams put on in an attempt to lure free agents. When agent David Bauman suggested to Radmanovic that he might want to return from his native Belgrade this summer to visit prospective teams the 6-foot-9 Yugoslavian said he had no interest whatsoever. "He said he's already been to all the cities, eaten at all the restaurants and stayed at all the Ritz-Carltons," Bauman said.