Updated: November 1, 2011, 2:11 PM ET

Wilbon: Unanswered Questions

Amnesty Clause: The Top Candidates

By Marc Stein and Chad Ford
ESPN.com


Long before the latest teasing ride on the NBA's lockout roller-coaster, front-office executives around the league began planning for the return of the magic bullet that gives teams a do-over with one regrettable contract.

The "amnesty" clause.

Teams have actually known it was coming since the spring. A clutch of small-market teams are angry about it, too, because it's a rule that -- for all the cries from NBA commissioner David Stern about the need for a new system that improves competitive balance -- clearly helps big-market, deep-pocketed teams most.

Yet you can rest assured that every team, whether they like the amnesty concept or not, hasn't let the up-and-down pattern of labor talks in recent weeks stop them from drafting their own mock amnesty lists. GMs long ago began forecasting who will be joining the free-agent pool through the amnesty hatch, largely because the 2011 version of the provision will go multiple steps beyond the 2005 original.

Taking our cue from those GMs who aren't waiting for the details -- as well as our Grantland colleagues Bill Simmons and Jonathan Abrams who couldn't resist launching into their own amnesty debate in late September -- we've compiled a team-by-team breakdown of the players each club is most likely to set free. The distinction here is that this list was compiled (A) factoring in the flexibility teams expect to have by "saving" their amnesty clause and (B) by consulting with various team officials who are doing the same research and preparation in advance of the amnesty rule's return.

Read the full team-by-team projections »

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