2011 NBA Free Agency: Allan Houston Rule - Atlantic Division
One of the topics expected to be discussed during the pending NBA lockout is the possible revival of The Allan Houston Rule. When a new CBA was agreed upon in 2005, it allowed NBA teams a one-time opportunity to waive a player and not have his contract count against the luxury tax. The released player becomes a free agent but his salary still gets paid and counts against his former team's salary cap. Ironically enough, Allan Houston was not a victim of The Allan Houston Rule. The Knicks instead decided to waive Jerome Williams.
If the new CBA once again invokes this clause, most teams will probably take advantage since it would save them possibly tens of millions of dollars. To keep up with the times, we will change the name of this from "The Allan Houston Rule" to the "Rashard Arenas Rule" since Rashard Lewis and Gilbert Arenas easily have the two worst contracts in the league. Allow me to break down each team and who would end up being the casualties of this rule. I'll start with the Southeast Division.
Easy one here. Rasheed Wallace is still counting against $6.8 million in the cap despite retiring last offseason. With the Celtics well over the cap and paying the luxury tax, using this clause on Wallace would save Boston almost $14 million next season.
New Jersey Nets:
I remember thinking last summer, "What the hell are the Nets doing throwing all this money at Travis Outlaw?" A year later and I'm still thinking the same thing. The Nets are under the cap and not in jeopardy of reaching the luxury tax but getting rid of Outlaw's remaining 3-year, $21 million would be a precursor to the team eventually getting to that luxury tax number especially with Kris Humphries, Brook Lopez and Deron Williams due big contracts within the next year. If not Outlaw, then Johan Petro (another head scratching signing last offseason) could be let go since he is scheduled to make $6.75 million over the next two seasons.
New York Knicks:
The Knicks have done a remarkable job of erasing all of Isiah Thomas' mistakes and shedding those terrible contracts off their cap. Renaldo Balkman would be the only real possible victim for New York and he is only due around $3.3 million the next two seasons.
Philly would probably consider dumping Elton Brand and the remaining $35.2 million he is owed during the next two years. That would leave the Sixers without a starting power forward though. More than likely, Andres Nocioni would be released. He is guaranteed $6.65 million next season which is a lot to pay someone who fell out favor late in the season.
The Raptors aren't in real danger of hitting the luxury tax but still might be inclined to dump Jose Calderon who will make almost $20 million over the next two seasons. I would want to get rid of Amir Johnson's 4-year, $25 million but Toronto seems to like him. Linas Kleiza could also be an option since he is scheduled to make $4.6 in each of the next three seasons.