The amnesty rule a few seasons ago allowed teams a one-time opportunity to release a player and avoid paying the luxury tax on his salary. It was often called the “Allan Houston” referring to the former Knicks shooting guard who had a 6 year, $100 million dollar contract while spending most of his time in the training room instead of the basketball court because of an injury. The rule was used on players like Brian Grant, Michael Finley, and Calvin Booth. Interestingly enough, the Knicks didn’t even use it on Allan Houston but rather Jerome “Junkyard Dog” Williams.
With reports of Rashard Lewis signing a max deal of $126.4 million deal over the next six seasons, the NBA may have to bring back the amnesty rule. It’s quite absurd for a player that averaged 22.4 points and 6.6 rebounds last season and will be 28 years old next month. Lewis is a good player but he’s not a max player. He’s not even the best player on the team. That honor goes to Dwight Howard who is set to sign a 6 year extension for less than Rashard’s deal.
The Allan Houston contract set off a storm of bad contracts and NBA teams being financially handcuffed. What kind of contracts will players and their agents want next year when the free agent class could be one of the best in recent years led by Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett, Gilbert Arenas, Elton Brand, Shawn Marion, Jermaine O’Neal, and Allen Iverson.
The NBA needs to make changes. When it all comes down to it, the ones paying for these bad contracts are the fans. I can’t wait for the “Rashard Lewis” rule in 5 years when Lewis will be making close to $25 million while just being a decent role player for the Magic.