Breaking down the NBA's amnesty provision

What is the NBA's amnesty provision and how does it work?
by Darnell Mayberry Published: May 18, 2013

What is the NBA's amnesty provision and how does it work?

What is it: The amnesty provision offers each of the 30 NBA teams a one-time opportunity to release a player via the league's waiver process without the player's salary counting toward the team's salary cap or potential luxury tax computations. The one-time provision is for use only once total, not once per season.

Who is eligible: Any player who was signed before the 2011-12 season can be waived via the amnesty provision. Teams cannot designate any player traded after July 1, 2011 or any player whose contract has been extended, renegotiated or otherwise amended after July 1, 2011. Players who were waived before July 1, 2011 and are still receiving guaranteed salaries also are eligible.

When can it be used: Teams were allowed to begin waiving players under the provision before the 2011-12 season. The provision is good through the 2015-16 season. Any team that uses the amnesty provision must designate its one player during the seven days that follow the July moratorium.

What happens to amnestied players: A player waived under the amnesty clause must go through the waiver process, which lasts 48 hours. During that time, a team can claim an amnestied player by making a full waiver claim and assuming the player's full contract. If no full waiver claims are submitted, partial waiver claims allow teams that have room under the salary cap to bid on the player and acquire him at a reduced rate. The team with the highest bid is awarded the player. If multiple teams bid the same amount, the team with the worst record is awarded the player.


by Darnell Mayberry
OKC Thunder Senior Reporter
Darnell Mayberry grew up in Langston, Okla. and is now in his third stint in the Sooner state. After a year and a half at Bishop McGuinness High, he finished his prep years in Falls Church, Va., before graduating from Norfolk State University in...
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