The LA Clippers are expected to use their one-time only amnesty on forward Caron Butler, sources say. The NBA’s new collective bargaining agreement allows for each team to waive player’s contract from the salary cap, relieving teams of oppressive contracts. The team still has to pay each player, but luxury tax savings could add up to millions each year and the space created is a boon in the free agent market.
Experts say Butler is a perfect amnesty candidate because he’s a 31 year-old small forward coming off a terrible year ended by a major knee injury with only 24 games played signed to a three year deal for $24 million total. The previous season was also a disappointment, where Caron slumped to 42.8% shooting from the field and lost nearly 5 points off his scoring average. His defense, already poor, will be tested with a balky knee.
Asked to comment on using their amnesty on Butler only hours after the deal for his contract was announced, an anonymous source within the organization blamed the unjust pressures on organizations for signing players, which led to the lockout. They were excited for the space Butler would create, allowing for the Clippers to sign a talented player next to their young core of Blake Griffin, Eric Gordon and DeAndre Jordan, who will all be using the space when the organization tries to retain them.
An expert was commented as saying he was not surprised given that, “We’ve given the worst decisions makers a do-over on their dumbest contracts, but the same people are still largely in charge so we can expect bone-headed amnesty moves like this. God, the amnesty deal could have been named after Rashard Lewis or Brandon Roy, and I wouldn’t be shocked if they didn’t get the axe.” The Clippers will still have to pay Butler, but his high usage, low efficiency style would not have meshed well with the offensive duo of Griffin and Gordon, who should increase their shot attempts as they mature.
“Tough Juice” was already known for missing games with injury before his knee surgery, but his ring with the Mavericks will act as consolation as he searches for a veteran team on a shorter and less expensive contract.