Of all the key NBA offseason personnel dates, including the July 1 start of free-agency negotiations and the July 10 start of the offseason signing and trading periods, the one that most resonates for the Heat figures to come Thursday. That's the start of the annual amnesty window, the seven-day period that this year runs from July 11 to July 17, when eligible teams may designate eligible players for amnesty release. For the Heat, it figures to open a window into how owner Micky Arison plans to approach business going forward, the delicate balance between victory and viability. To refresh: Amnesty was added to the Collective Bargaining Agreement that ended the 2011 lockout. Because of the onerous luxury tax to be phased in, teams were allowed to designate one player over the course of the CBA for release in a manner that his remaining salary would not count against the salary cap and luxury tax. The caveat is that the amnesty provision applied only to players under contract at the expiration of the previous CBA. To add tidiness to the process, there would be a one-week period each offseason for teams to make such annual designations. In previous offseasons, 15 of the 30 teams utilized their amnesty moves. Which brings us to the Heat, one of the 15 teams yet to act on amnesty. The Heat have six players eligible to be amnestied: LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh, Mike Miller, Joel Anthony and Udonis Haslem. Scratch the first three off any list of amnesty possibilities. Beyond the contributions of the Big Three, remember that while amnesty eases salary-cap and luxury-tax concerns, you still have to pay out the remaining salary, including any remaining option years. No matter the depth of any owner's pockets, you're not paying anyone $60 million not to play (other than what an injury exception or insurance might cover). But with the Heat deep into the luxury tax, at a level where they this coming season potentially will have to pay a $1.50 or $1.75 penalty for each dollar over the tax threshold in team payroll, an amnesty move cannot be summarily dismissed, even with Heat President Pat Riley a week ago expressing how much he likes his two-time championship roster.
Amnesty week approaches for Heat, Miller
Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel | Jul 6