NBA: Would 76ers use an Amnesty Clause to Ditch Al Horford's Contract?
With the NBA currently on lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the league is discussing many ways to potentially save as much money as possible as losses are inevitable at this point. We already know that wrapping up an 82-game season is out of the question. Also, fans won't have the opportunity to attend games for the rest of the season, which is also another financial loss for the Philadelphia 76ers and the NBA.
Ideas are being floated around to make some changes so the league and its franchises can save some money. And ESPN's Bobby Marks made a suggestion, which has been gaining some interest as it involves teams getting a big contract off the books without a significant financial penalty affecting them.
An amnesty clause could allow each team to waive any player on a long-term contract, terminating the cap hit for the organization. Not every team is exactly eager to get a player off the books with such a clause, but there's always a handful of organizations around the NBA who tend to have buyer's remorse after making failed gambles in free agency over time. Perhaps, the 76ers are one of those teams.
Last summer, the Sixers inked former Boston Celtics veteran Al Horford to a four-year deal worth $109 million. Although the Sixers weren't in the market for a starting center, the idea of having Horford play power forward, while becoming Joel Embiid's insurance at center helped the Sixers form one of the bigger and better defensive lineups in the league. Unfortunately, throughout Horford's first season in Philly, he hasn't exactly been a difference-maker on the floor alongside Joel Embiid.
That's why HoopsHype's Yossi Gozlan makes a case for the 76ers to use the potential amnesty clause on Horford, if possible. "[The Sixers] don’t need to [use the clause] immediately as they should try to trade him first," Gozlan writes. "But if they cannot, they should use it on him either next summer or the one after."
"The Sixers are already heading into next season $8 million over the luxury tax for a $13 million luxury tax payment," he continues. "Wiping his $27.5 million cap hit won’t give them cap space this summer, but it would give them more flexibility and $19 million below the tax."
The Sixers weren't actively shopping Horford this season, despite trade rumors coming about. While Horford's fit on the Sixers has been off, the front office and coaching staff have made it clear numerous times that the team is built to succeed in the playoffs, and Horford is a major reason for that. Therefore, the Sixers would need to see a playoff run involving Horford before making any decision to get rid of his contract if the amnesty clause actually comes into play.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him on Twitter: @JGrasso_