- Marc Stein, Senior Writer, ESPN.com
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And then there were two.
Carlos Boozer. Kendrick Perkins.
That's really it.
Boozer and Perkins are the only players left in the whole NBA who have to worry about the dreaded A word -- amnesty -- after Sacramento's shedding of John Salmons in the Rudy Gay trade.
The hidden impact of the Gay deal is that we're suddenly down to just 10 names in the entire league who are even eligible to be released via the amnesty clause next July.
And when you read those 10 names you'll understand why Boozer and Perkins, now that Salmons has been dealt, are realistically the last two who can generate any legitimate amnesty speculation until the next collective bargaining agreement.
Atlanta's Al Horford
Boston's Rajon Rondo
Chicago's Boozer and Joakim Noah
Memphis' Mike Conley and Zach Randolph
Oklahoma City's Nick Collison, Kevin Durant and Kendrick Perkins
San Antonio's Tony Parker
So, yeah, Boozer and Perkins. That's the list. (And it remains no more than a maybe in both cases because the Bulls and Thunder are clearly conflicted whenever this comes up.)
The last time we compiled a rundown of amnesty-eligible players in July, there were still 13 teams in the league that had not yet released a player via amnesty, thus technically leaving a group of 34 players at risk. Here’s what has happened since:
• The Lakers, Heat, Bucks and Raptors duly took themselves off the list during the July 10-16 amnesty window by cutting ties with Metta World Peace, Mike Miller, Drew Gooden and Linas Kleiza. Which sliced the number of teams that haven't used amnesty down to nine.
• Those nine teams were further whittled to six because Detroit, Utah and now Sacramento have run out of amnesty-eligible players since the summer. The Pistons' two amnesty-eligibles from July -- Greg Monroe and Charlie Villanueva -- are owed no salary beyond this season and are respectively headed for restricted free agency and unrestricted free agency. Utah's only two amnesty-eligibles were Derrick Favors and Gordon Hayward; Favors scored a brand-new contract in October and Hayward becomes a restricted free agent in July after his extension talks stalled. And ...
• Sacramento's last amnesty-eligible player, after it signed DeMarcus Cousins to a contract extension in late September, was Salmons. But the Kings just shipped the out-of-favor swingman to Toronto as part of the trade for Gay, which takes the list of teams that still possess the amnesty clause down to six and the number of amnesty-eligible players to the aforementioned 10.
P.S.: Here's a friendly reminder of the 20 teams that have already used their amnesty provision ... with the year the player was offloaded in parentheses:
Brooklyn: Travis Outlaw (2011)
Charlotte: Tyrus Thomas (2013)
Cleveland: Baron Davis (2011)
Dallas: Brendan Haywood (2012)
Denver: Chris Andersen (2012)
Golden State: Charlie Bell (2011)
Houston: Luis Scola (2012)
Indiana: James Posey (2011)
Los Angeles Clippers: Ryan Gomes (2012)
Los Angeles Lakers: Metta World Peace (2013)
Miami: Mike Miller (2013)
Milwaukee: Drew Gooden (2013)
Minnesota: Darko Milicic (2012)
New York: Chauncey Billups (2011)
Orlando: Gilbert Arenas (2011)
Philadelphia: Elton Brand (2012)
Phoenix: Josh Childress (2012)
Portland: Brandon Roy (2011)
Toronto: Linas Kleiza (2013)
Washington: Andray Blatche (2012)
Note: Detroit, New Orleans, Sacramento and Utah are the four teams that did not use the amnesty clause, which could only be applied to players under contract to them at the time of the NBA’s new labor agreement in December 2011. You'll recall each franchise was granted the ability under the new labor deal to release one player and remove his name from the books for salary-cap and luxury-tax purposes while continuing to pay him in real life.
Another footnote for you capologists and sticklers: Boston's Avery Bradley (restricted), Chicago's Luol Deng (unrestricted), Oklahoma City's Thabo Sefolosha (unrestricted) and San Antonio's Matt Bonner (unrestricted) were all in the Club of 34 in July but vanished from the list because they no longer have any guaranteed salary due after this season that can be amnestied.
And then there were two. Carlos Boozer. Kendrick Perkins. That's really it. Boozer and Perkins are the only players left in the whole NBA who have to worry about the dreaded A word -- amnesty -- after Sacramento's shedding of John Salmons in the Rudy Gay trade.