Report: Players Released Via Amnesty Clause Count Towards Salary Floor

MIAMI FL - FEBRUARY 25: Rashard Lewis #9 of the Washington Wizards handles the ball against the Miami Heat at American Airlines Arena on February 25 2011 in Miami Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that by downloading and/or using this Photograph User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

If this report by Zach Lowe of Sports illustrated is true (and he's among the most reliable NBA voices out there), then this could be a game-changer for the Washington Wizards:

The salary of any player waived via the amnesty clause will continue to count toward the salary floor.

That's a fairly significant thing, because as I wrote a while back, one of the major reasons, if not the major reason, that using the amnesty clause on Rashard Lewis made little sense was because it would put the Wizards far below the salary floor and force them to use that money elsewhere on a weak free agent class. But if Lewis' salary counts against the floor, suddenly, the Wizards will only have to spend about $8 million on free agents to reach the floor, and that's not including Nick Young. That's much more manageable.

In his press conference last week, Ernie Grunfeld said that "in all likelihood," the Wizards would not use the amnesty clause this year. It remains to be seen whether he said that knowing the salary floor rules or not. If he didn't know, then I could see the Wizards potentially changing their minds. Potentially, of course. The Wizards could also decide that Lewis' professionalism or whatever makes him worth keeping around.

We'll see how it plays out, but this certainly eliminates one potential reason not to amnesty Lewis.

UPDATE: Well, nevermind. This from Michael Lee came quickly:

The Wizards informed Rashard Lewis’s representatives last week that they have no intention of using the amnesty provision on the 13-year veteran forward who is owed $46 million over the next two seasons.

Those plans to keep Lewis remain intact, according to a league source, despite new details – uncovered by SI.com’s Zach Lowe – emerging on Tuesday that the salary of any player waived through the amnesty clause will continue to count toward the salary floor, though not the salary cap.

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