By Eduardo Maisonet, III / @edthesportsfan
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reported to the world over the weekend that the Philadelphia 76ers will use the amnesty clause on Elton Brand to clear the remaining $18.2 million from his contract. Brand was entering what would have been the final year of his egregious five-year, $79.8 million contract Philadelphia signed the former Duke Blue Devil power forward to in July 2008.
(That sound you hear is all Philadelphia 76ers breathing a sigh of relief.)
Since Brand finally got his walking papers while still being able to collect his handsome paycheck in the process, I figured there are surely 5 other players in the league that should get amnestied…immediately, right?
Of course I can.
1. Carlos Boozer, Chicago: (3 years, $47.1 million remaining) : There isn’t a Chicago Bulls fan I know that doesn’t curse the name that is Carlos Boozer on a daily basis. They can’t stand the man. All this ridicule over a man who has given the Bulls 16.2 points/game and 9.0 rebounds/game over the last two seasons. Harsh? Probably. Deserved? That’s a different story. Blame part of Boozer’s dip in performance to injuries, a new team with a different philosophy, along with a roster that’s much deeper than his squad in Utah, and the production can be explained.
Of course, that’s not why Bulls fans despise Carlos Boozer. They despise Boozer because defensively he’s like an open window letting a draft out. Offensively he shoots more fadeaway 17-foot jumpers than Jordan did. (Or at least it feels like it) He’s always injured, he’s always yelling, his kids rooted for the wrong team and he wore that sprayed on hair for about two weeks. He’s loathed in the Windy City.
$47 million is a lot to pay someone not to play for you, but if you have the chance to possibly get Dwight Howard in Chicago, isn’t it worth it?
2. Mike Miller, Miami: (2 years, $11 million remaining): Seems kinda cruel to amnesty the player that led the team in scoring in the clinching game of the NBA Finals, but with a bloated roaster and a ever growing payroll, do you really still need Miller’s services? With Ray Allen signed and a dearth of small forwards already on the roster, plus Pat Riley courting Rashard Lewis, doesn’t Miller just seem like a natural cut?
3. Andray Blatche, Washington (3 years, $23.3 million remaining): It would be a bit of a tough decision for the Wizards brass, right? Blatche gave the Wizards 16 points and 8 rebounds per game two years ago on a terrible squad. Last season, Blatche was ravaged by injuries and was barely able to contribute. Then the conversion happened.
Washington started exporting their knuckle-head talent. JaVale McGee gone. Rashard Lewis gone. Nick Young gone. The only loose cannon left is Blatche, and with $23 million left on the books, that money could be used to bring in a quality veteran talent to come in and contribute along with the new backcourt duo of John Wall and Brad Beal. Could Blatche stick in DC and contribute? Absolutely. He’s 25 now and maybe he’s figured it out, but that contract and his background make this a harder choice than anyone could admit.
4. Tyrus Thomas, Charlotte: (3 years, $26 million remaining): I’d totally forgotten this dude was in the league, then I looked at his contract and laughed out loud literally. Goodness gracious. If new general manager really has some pull, then he pulls the plug on the insane deal MJ signed Thomas to and moves forward with someone else that can grow with the new Bobcats.
5. Kendrick Perkins, Oklahoma City (3 years, $25.4 million remaining): This is the toughest one, its the one that will keep general manager Sam Presti up at night, and the one that will have the biggest impact in the so called “building of a dynasty” in the Sooner State.
Everyone knows the pending decision that must be made in OKC, “who do you keep, James Harden or Serge Ibaka?” Its the one that’s on the minds of all Thunder fans and other teams salivating at the chance to overpay for a potential superstar. While both have verbally committed to being loyal to the movement that’s brewing in Oklahoma City, both will want to, and deservedly so, get paid accordingly. The thought out there for some is that if you can possibly amnesty Perkins and clear some of the payroll, you can keep Harden and Ibaka with a slight hometown discount. Its a lot of moving parts, but if Presti was able to pull it off, he’d probably win GM of the year for the next five years without a dispute.
Perkins has proven to be the heart and the soul of the Thunder defense, the veteran hard-nosed leader that was needed to help OKC grow up and evolve in recent years. The Thunder are plenty grown now, and some could argue that OKC doesn’t need Perkins skillset quite as much anymore. Does Presti have the fortitude to make such a decision? The bigger question might be, can he afford not to at least try?