Brandon Roy Explainer

If you’re like me, you’re not exactly an expert on NBA salary caps, amnesty clauses and collective bargaining agreements. So maybe this will help.

Given the news on Brandon Roy’s sudden retirement, I sat down this morning with Tom Penn, former Portland Trail Blazers vice-president of basketball operations and assistant general manager. He’s now a commentator for ESPN.

Anna: What does this mean for the Blazers?

Tom Penn: If Brandon chooses to retire, and the medical director for the NBA says it’s a career ending injury — that it qualifies — then a year from his last game, in all likelihood, his salary would completely come off the books. Brandon still gets his money but the salary comes off the salary cap and the luxury tax but that doesn’t happen for a full year.

AC: So that’s relief for the Blazers down the line?

TP: Down the line it does, but it doesn’t give the financial relief that choosing to amnestize him…if they amnesty Brandon and take him off the books, they get luxury tax relief right away for this season. It’s unlikely they get that for this season. It depends on when he comes off the books. If the Blazers still choose to use the amnesty clause, they can remove his salary effective immediately, so it gets them below the luxury tax immediately, and they can spend more money on a free agent right now. If he retires because of medical, they have to wait for that year to run its course and he won’t come off the books until then, so they get more flexibility right now. The advantage of not using the amnesty is they could still use that in a future year on another current player. So they could wait for Brandon’s salary to come off in a year, then they could still amnestize someone else and get more cap space.

AC: Would it be likely for them to do that?

TP: Sure, if they get to a mode where they want to rebuild this team using a lot of cap space. Let Brandon’s money cycle off, choose to eliminate another big salary on the books, go get a glamour free agent.

AC: He’s due 64 million right?

TC: He’ll get every nickel he’s due. He’ll get that whether he’s cut via amnesty or whether he retired medically. The difference is…if he was cut via amnesty other teams had the opportunity to pick him up off waiver and he wouldn’t get to pick which team he goes to, so that might not have been too appealing to Brandon as an alternative.

AC: After this year is up, it’s not that Brandon Roy will never ever play again in the NBA:

TP: That’s an interesting question. Yes, he could always play again. Whether he’s cut via amnesty or whether he retired medically because you can’t ever sign an agreement that prevents the players from coming back for sure, anytime in the future. One of the issues with knees is that you never really know how the knee’s going to react. It’s feasible Brandon could come back for another team in the future.

AC: Final thoughts:

TP: What Brandon’s meant to this franchise, to this city, is really what needs to be celebrated. It’s sad that he’s having to retire early, but what he did for Rip City, reviving it, bringing it back, we owe him gratitude for that. This franchise is in really good shape going forward, but it is sad to see Brandon leave.