The amnesty clause is going to be debated back and forth for the next couple of weeks, and possibly longer among every fan base in the league. For the Sixers, you're probably going to hear three names mentioned. Elton Brand, because he hasn't lived up to his contract. Andre Iguodala, because there's a moronic hatred toward the guy. And finally, Andres Nocioni, because he hasn't lived up to his contract and there's a legitimate hatred for the guy. Let's start with the mullet.
First, let's make certain everyone knows what the amnesty clause actually means. In a nutshell, teams can cut a player and remove their entire salary from their cap number. Players who are waived using this clause will then enter a blind auction among the teams with cap space, and if a team bids on the player and wins, then they're responsible for a portion of the player's contract, and the team who waived him is responsible for the rest. If no one bids, the team who waived him is responsible for the entire salary.
In Nocioni's case, say he's waived and someone puts in a blind bid of 30% of his salary. In that case, the team who "won" the bid, would have to pay Nocioni $1.995M this season and the Sixers would pay him $4.655M, and the Sixers would remove the full $6.65M from their cap number. If no team put in a bid on him, the Sixers would owe him $6.65M and the same number would come off their cap number. Make sense?
Now that we have the mechanics of it down, let's look at the reality. First, the reasons why using the amnesty on Nocioni is a stupid idea. (1) It's highly unlikely anyone would "bid" on him, meaning the Sixers would wind up eating the full $6.65M owed to him. (2) He's an expiring contract anyone, he'll come off the books at the end of the season, and there's a decent chance you could get him to agree to a buyout allowing the team to save a little bit of money. Worst case, you can cut the guy midway through the season and eat his contract, which would accomplish basically the same as using the amnesty. (3) Removing Nocioni's contract from the cap number really doesn't accomplish much, but we'll get to that in a second.
It takes a little digging, but if you're hellbent on getting rid of Nocioni ASAP, you can come up with a couple of decent reasons. First, dumping him could allow you to extend Thad and add a free agent using the MLE without bumping up against the luxury tax. Second, if you're planning on giving Thad a monster extension, you might need the room. Third, under the new rules, teams will be allowed to take back up to 150% of outgoing salaries in trades, up from 125%, but only if the team isn't pushed above the luxury tax threshold by making the trade. Dropping Nocioni would give the Sixers more wiggle room to make a massive trade bringing back extra salary. For example, if the Sixers used the Amnesty clause on Nocioni, they might have the flexibility to trade Brand, Iguodala and Lou for Arenas, Hedo and Dwight Howard.
And of course as I'm writing this I see the following tweet from David Thorpe:
Just read that Philly wants to amnesty Nocioni to sign...wait for it...Kwame Brown!! This free agency period is going to be really fun.
OK, there goes my train of thought. Using the amnesty clause to get out of an expiring contract for a guy that really doesn't matter so you can clear some space under the luxury tax to sign Kwame Brown for $20M+ for four years is just the height of stupidity. If that's the opening salvo for this ownership group we may as well give up. F me.