The wonders of the amnesty clause mean an NBA player gets released from his team but still paid in full, only without counting against the cap. Gilbert Arenas ($22.3 million) and Brandon Roy ($17.7 million) didn’t play a single minute of basketball for the teams paying them this season, which didn’t stop them from being two of the highest paid players in the NBA.
Where does that put them with the guys actually playing? Arenas would be fourth in the league for this season behind Kobe Bryant (who made over $30 million for only six games), Dirk Nowitzki and Carmelo Anthony. Roy wouldn’t have made it into the top 10, with Dwyane Wade coming in 10th this season, making $18.6 million.
How is this possible? The Amnesty clause, part of the latest CBA agreement between the league and the players, coming as part of the strike-ending agreement in late 2011. It allows a team to pretty much let go of a player that was signed on any kind of deal before the CBA was signed and not have it count against their salary cap, although the player still get paid.
Just before the resolution of the lockout, Roy announced he was retiring from the league after the injuries made it impossible for him to continue and play for the Portland Trail Blazers. On August 5, 2009, Roy had agreed to a four-year maximum-salary contract with a fifth-year player option. The Blazers used the amnesty clause on him, which means he keeps getting paid through the 2013-2014 season. Roy actually made a comeback with the Minnesota Timberwolves early last season, but lasted only five games (averaging 5.8 points) before the injuries got the better of him again.
On July 13, 2008, Arenas signed a contract worth $111 million over six years with the Wizards. Since that day, he played a total of 55 games for the Wizards until a trade sent him to the Orlando Magic, where he spent half a season during the 2010-11 campaign. He was amnestied by the Magic on December 9, 2011 and then played for the Memphis Grizzlies as a backup point guard before moving on to Chinese basketball. Like Roy, his contract ran through this season, with the Orlando Magic, who hasn’t played for since 2011, still paying him huge money.