2011 NBA Free Agency: Allan Houston Rule - Pacific 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.
Golden State Warriors:
The Warriors might be tempted to release Andris Biedrins who is scheduled to make $9 million in each of the next three seasons. However, that would leave the team even thinner up front. Charlie Bell would be the other option as he is due more than $4 million in 2011-12 but only appeared in 19 games this past season.
Los Angeles Clippers:
The Clippers aren't currently near the luxury tax but could be once they re-sign DeAndre Jordan to an extension and use their mid-level exception. Ryan Gomes was serviceable for Los Angeles last year but is due $4 million in each of the next two seasons. Assuming the Clippers use their mid-level exception to find an upgrade at small forward, Gomes could be expendable since Al-Farouq Aminu should get better in his second season.
Los Angeles Lakers:
Buh-bye Luke Walton. Despite averaging fewer than two points per game during the past couple of seasons, Walton will make nearly $11.7 million in the next two years. With solid depth at small forward in Lamar Odom, Ron Artest (or whatever the hell he is calling himself these days), Matt Barnes and Devin Ebanks, there is no reason to keep Walton around.
Assuming the Suns decline the $18 million team option on Vince Carter, they would likely turn their attention to one of two players they just signed a year ago. Josh Childress will earn $27 million over the next four years but never found his groove in his first season in Phoenix, averaging just five points and three boards per game. The other option would be Hakim Warrick who will earn almost $14 million during the next three seasons but could be the third power forward on the depth chart behind Channing Frye and first-round pick Markieff Morris.
Since the Kings are still well under the cap, I doubt they would cut anybody loose since the luxury tax does not affect them. However, Francisco Garcia is guaranteed to make almost $12 million during the next two seasons. Sacramento does have solid depth on the wing with Tyreke Evans, newly acquired John Salmons and Marcus Thornton (assuming he re-signs with the team.) If the the Kings feel Garcia will be the odd man out, he could be let loose.
@Coleton Carson Palmer was extended in the offseason through the 2018 season. This signals that they will probably try to get by with him at QB and improve in other areas first (for example, the offensive line). If they're lucky, they might even start losing more and improve their draft position. By the time the 2019 draft rolls around, they can draft a QB into team that has good tools to work with.