Posts Tagged ‘Amnesty’

Lakers ‘win’ Boozer via amnesty auction

The often criticized and productive Carlos Boozer gets a new start in L.A.

The often criticized and durable Carlos Boozer joins a glut of power forwards in L.A.

CHICAGO – It is a measure of Carlos Boozer‘s reputation 12 years into his NBA career that, with his acquisition by the Los Angeles Lakers Thursday, both the Lakers-are-tanking and the Lakers-aren’t-tanking crowds felt like winners.

Such is the polarizing game and persona of Boozer, a former All-Star power forward and the Chicago Bulls’ expensive discard.

On the floor, Boozer’s production last season (17.5 points, 10.6 rebounds, 2.0 assists per 36 minutes) dropped off modestly from his career numbers (18.8, 11.0, 2.6 per 36). His decline was most noticeable in shooting – he’s a career .523 shooter who fell to .456 in 2013-14 – and in a player-efficiency rating (14.4) that was the worst of his career. His minutes were down as well (from 32.2 as recently as 2012-13 to 28.2) largely due to his defense; Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau preferred to have Boozer sitting on the bench near him in many fourth quarters last season.

Still, Boozer was a decent offensive option with his high-arcing jump shots and slick work from both sides of the rim. And he was durable, no small asset on a Chicago team beset again with injuries.

But the folks at United Center didn’t much care about the fine points. They held Boozer accountable for who he wasn’t and what he got paid in spite of that. He came to Chicago in the summer of 2010, when the Bulls cleared cap space for stars such as LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and Joe Johnson, only to settle for and spend on Boozer.

His impact never was quite good enough (despite four trips to the playoffs), given his contract (five years, $75 million).

Also, his boisterous ways and his Teflon demeanor – Boozer seemed too much the prototype professional athlete to many, a clock-puncher unfazed by losses or setbacks – chafed in a sports town that can smell paper tigers. Let’s just say that talk about amnestying Boozer began as soon as the clause was put into the collective bargaining agreement in November 2011 – before Boozer’s second Bulls season.

This was typical of the fan perception of Boozer, expressed by a Chicago sports talk-show host on The Score 670AM:

So a good-riddance vibe carried the day in Chicago when Boozer was cut free this week, the Bulls on the hook to pay his $16.8 million salary for this season but freeing up the cap space to sign Pau Gasol and Nikola Mirotic. That had fans in Lakerland wondering what they had just landed.

Teams with cap space could bid on Boozer, and the Lakers won his amnesty-waivers right with a bid reported to be $3.25 million. That offsets what the Bulls owe him. But it doesn’t do anything about the logjam at power forward, with the 27-55 Lakers drafting Julius Randle, re-signing Jordan Hill and acquiring Ed Davis.

It smacks of window dressing for a team that got snubbed by Carmelo Anthony and had little else to show for free agency’s big names this offseason. In that way, even if it required the amnesty process to deliver him, it felt a little like 2010 again.

Except of course Boozer is four years older and the Lakers can’t legitimately target the conference finals the way Chicago did in his first season there.

One way for Lakers fans to look at it is that they traded Gasol for Boozer, and the Bulls have to pay most of the combined salaries. That might not make them feel any better, either.

Bulls (finally) amnesty Boozer

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — Chicago Bulls fans will have to find someone else to complain about now that Carlos Boozer is no longer an option.

The Bulls used the amnesty provision on the veteran power forward today, ending Boozer’s four-year tenure with the team. Boozer played in 280 games with the Bulls and averaged 15.5 points, 9.0 rebounds and 2.0 assists as a mainstay in Tom Thibodeau’s starting lineup. But he remained an easy target when the Bulls repeatedly came up short in the postseason.

The Bulls thanked Boozer for his work, of course, praising him as they amnestied him.

“Carlos epitomized professionalism in everything he did for the Bulls both on the court, and in the community, during his time here in Chicago,” Bulls GM Gar Forman said in a statement released by the team.  “Over the last four seasons, Carlos’ productivity helped elevate our team to another level.  I have nothing but respect for Carlos, and certainly wish him the best as he moves forward.”

The Bulls did get a quality run out of Boozer, who now becomes a free agent in a bidding process for teams with salary cap space. Interested teams need to have at least $1.5 million, Boozer’s minimum salary, in cap space to sign bid on hid on him.

Boozer was a part of a core group in Chicago under Tom Thibodeau that included Derrick Rose, who won MVP honors in 2011, and reigning Kia Defensive Player of the Year Joakim Noah. As Sam Smith of Bulls.com, who first reported the Boozer news, points out, the Bulls enjoyed loads of success with Boozer in their mix:

Since Carlos Boozer was signed by the Bulls as a free agent in 2010, statistically one of the most successful free agent acquisitions in franchise history, the Bulls were just one of four NBA teams to win at least 200 games. The others were the Spurs and Heat, who won three of the four championships, and the Thunder, who went to one Finals.

Since Boozer signed with the Bulls in the summer of 2010, he started more games than any other Bulls player, he averaged more points than anyone other than Derrick Rose, who played in just two of those four seasons, and Boozer had rebounds than everyone but Joakim Noah and was tied with Noah for the top shooting percentage at 49 percent. Boozer was second to Noah in most free throws made in that four-year period and averaged almost five minutes fewer per game than Noah. Noah was a star passing center averaging 3.7 assists the last four seasons. But Boozer averaged more than two assists per game.

The Bulls Tuesday announced they had exercised the amnesty provision to release Boozer from his contract with the Bulls. He will be in a waiver period where teams can make bids for him with the highest dollar amount winning. Then that money would reduce the $16.8 million the Bulls owe Boozer for next season. Only teams with salary cap room can make bids. If none do, only then would Boozer become a free agent and be able to sign where he chooses.

But in leaving the Bulls after four seasons, Boozer deserves praise for the job he did and perhaps a bit of an apology from some amongst a critical group who often have decried his play.

All Boozer did was what he was asked. And perhaps even more.

Atlanta and Charlotte, two teams in need of veteran depth in the frontcourt, are considered two of the early frontrunner’s in pursuit of Boozer.

Luxury Tax Reality: Heat Amnesty Miller





HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — The two-time defending NBA champion Miami Heat are not immune to the harsh economic realities facing the league’s biggest spenders under the new collective bargaining agreement.

The waiving of veteran shooter and surprise 2012 Finals hero Mike Miller via the amnesty provision this afternoon is proof. Miller joins Metta World Peace, formerly of the Los Angeles Lakers and now a member of the New York Knicks, as the most prominent players to be amnestied this summer. The Charlotte Bobcats also used the amnesty provision on Tyrus Thomas last week.

(You can see all of the players who have suffered the same fate on NBA.com’s Amnesty Tracker.)

The move came as something of a surprise after Heat boss Pat Riley addressed the possibility of this happening by saying there would be no need for the Heat to use this one-time measure to clear salary cap space.

“After many discussions internally and a sincere effort to explore the trade market, we made a very difficult decision to use our Amnesty provision on Mike Miller,” Riley said in a statement. “Mike had an incredible impact on the Miami Heat; helping us to three finals appearances and winning back-to-back world championships. This was a very difficult decision for me personally, the Arison family, Erik and the entire Miami Heat organization. Mike was one of the best we have ever had here, and will be sorely missed. We wish Mike, his wife Jennifer and their family nothing but the best.”

This was a purely economical move for the Heat, who could save $30 million in luxury tax payments over the nest two seasons simply by removing Miller’s $12.8 million in salary from the books for the 2013-14 season and the 2014-15 season. The Heat still will have to pay Miller the salary he is owed but it won’t impact their own salary cap bottom line.

Miller, whose penchant for knocking down big shots at big moments in both of the Heat’s title runs, was clearly wounded  by the move.

“I understand the business side of basketball,” he told The Associated Press. “It’s a combination of being very, very thankful for the opportunity that I’ve had, but it hurts that we had a chance to do something very, very special and I’d love to have been a part of it.”

This is the strictly business portion of the program for veterans like Miller and World Peace, guys who helped their now former franchises to championships.

“I know I can be very, very productive for a couple years for sure,” Miller said. “But at the same time, it would be very difficult to go into a situation where you’re not competing for a title. So I’m going to have to weigh those things, and we’ll see how it plays out.”

Miller’s time in Miami was well spent. He leaves having been an integral part of a Heat crew led by LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh that made three straight trips to The Finals and walked off with Larry O’Brien trophies in back-to-back years.

Heat fans will surely never forget some of his most memorable moments from the title runs, and that includes his shoeless 3-pointer from Game 6 of last month’s Finals and certainly the seven 3-pointers he made in the title-clinching Game 5 win over Oklahoma City in 2012.

“I love Mike. We all love Mike,” Wade told The Associated Press. “It’s tough to lose one of our brothers. But I think we all understand it’s not personal. It’s a business decision.”

It’s strictly business these days for the NBA’s biggest spenders.

RJ Still With The Spurs, For Now …

– For the latest updates check out: NBA.com’s Free Agent Tracker

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — Those rumors of Richard Jefferson‘s demise with the San Antonio Spurs were premature, if nothing else.

The Spurs have not used the amnesty provision of the new collective bargaining agreement to remove Jefferson from the mix. He was at practice Friday:

Our man Tim Griffin for the San Antonio Express-News says the team and Jefferson had a very Spurs-like approach to the whole situation:

“I’m a Spur right now,” Jefferson said after practice. “That’s pretty much the best way to describe it. There’s a lot of speculation across the league, with the short amount a time everybody has to work their rosters.”

“Things could happen, things could stay the same. As far as I’m concerned, I’m a Spur right now.”

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said the team has not employed the amnesty provision on Jefferson or anybody else.

“He’s no different than anybody. He’s a Spur,” Popovich said. “We didn’t amnesty anybody.”

And Popovich said he didn’t have anything special to say to Jefferson at the team’s workout.

“Nothing,” Popovich said. “He’s got a job to do. He’s a Spur just like Timmy or Manu or TJ Ford or anybody else. We come and do our work.”

Report: Spurs Will Amnesty Jefferson

– For the latest updates check out: NBA.com’s Free Agent Tracker

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — We have the first reported victim (?) of the amnesty clause of the new collective bargaining agreement.

The Spurs have decided to use it on swingman Richard Jefferson and the three years and $30 million remaining on his contract, per Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports.  This means teams with cap space will have a chance to bid on Jefferson before he would become a free agent.

This also means the Spurs will need a starting small forward and will have to enter the free agent market to find one. Rookie Kawhi Leonard will surely have an opportunity to compete for the job. But if the Spurs have their designs on a championship, they’ll need a veteran (like Caron Butler or Josh Howard) to man the position in this abbreviated season.

The move to amnesty Jefferson will put the Spurs under the luxury tax threshold and allow them to use the entire mid-level exception to attract Jefferson’s replacement.

Speaking of Butler, Caron will still take his visit to New Jersey this evening, despite being very impressed by the San Antonio Spurs during his visit there Monday and Tuesday, and despite the Spurs now being able to offer Butler a full mid-level.

Butler is planning to make a decision in the next day about where he wants to play, according to a source, with the Spurs and Bulls at the top of his list. He visited Chicago on Monday, meeting with team president John Paxson and general manager Gar Forman. Butler has committed to playing two guard if he signs with the Bulls, which would allow Chicago to keep Luol Deng at small forward. Butler would remain a small forward with the Spurs, Nets or Clippers, the other teams he has visited or is visiting. But Butler also hit it off with Spurs Coach Gregg Popovich.

The Clippers and Nets can offer more than the mid-level exception. New Jersey would likely slide Butler into the $7 million slot it is currently paying forward Travis Outlaw, a prime amnesty candidate himself. The Clippers are under the cap and could give Butler a big deal, but Los Angeles is hip-deep in the Chris Paul trade talks at the moment, along with trying to get restricted free agent center DeAndre Jordan signed to a long-term deal. In addition, a source said that the Clippers prefer free agent forward Tayshaun Price over Butler.

TNT analyst David Aldridge contributed to this report

The Curious (Amnesty) Case Of B. Roy

– For the latest updates check out: NBA.com’s Free Agent Tracker

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — In a league filled egos and attitudes, Portland’s Brandon Roy always seemed to fight against stereotype.

In the times we’ve crossed paths, Roy has always struck me as one of the more grounded players in the league, a guy very much in tune with fragile nature of things in the high-stakes world of professional sports. Perhaps his injury history, dating back to before he came into the league, influenced him. You never know.

Now Roy stands at a career crossroads in Portland, caught in the middle of a dilemma caused by all the splendid things he’s done in a Trail Blazers uniform and the things his fragile knees have done to him while wearing that same uniform.

The Trail Blazers have to decide if Roy stays on the roster as a shell of the All-Star, face-of-the-franchise talent he once was or if they use the league’s new amnesty clause to cut ties with their former leader who is owed $63 million on his current contract.

Trail Blazers president Larry Miller offered a chilling but telling assessment of where things stand, when he told The Oregonian‘s Jason Quick:

“If Brandon were to accept mentally that ‘I’m not that guy anymore, but I will do whatever I can to help the team,’ it would make it easier to keep him around,” Miller said. “We know every-so-often he is going to give us that game, and be the Brandon Roy of old, but mentally accepting where his game is, that’s the bigger challenge for him. I don’t know if he is there, or if he can get there.”

Having been in the Rose Garden crowd during Roy’s magical Game 4 performance against Dallas in that first round playoff series last April, it’s hard for me to sit here and suggest that he could dial up enough of those performances, on knees that have no cartilage, to justify the Trail Blazers keeping him in the fold.

The flip side, however, includes the Trail Blazers cutting ties with Roy and him landing with another team and excelling in exactly the same role he would have been used in had they kept him. That’s a proposition that would only serve to rile up the restless fringe of the always-fervent Blazer fan base even more.

That said, waving Roy would provide a huge financial relief for the franchise. They’d get under the luxury tax threshold and become players in the free-agent market, provided they waive him early enough. (But this theory also requires the fans trusting that the franchise, sans a GM to replace the fired Rich Cho, would make the right moves to rebuild the core of the roster. And it’s safe to say the trust factor is shaky right now in Portland.)

To their credit, Roy’s camp isn’t making this about anything other than what’s best for all involved. All they’re asking for is an immediate decision, per Quick:

“I get it. Brandon gets it,” said Greg Lawrence, Roy’s agent. “It’s not complicated. They are going to make a decision that is best for them. If they want him to be there, he will show up and work hard like he always has and do whatever it takes to help the team win. If they don’t want Brandon to be there, he will move on. He just wants to know.”

Don’t we all!

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