Amnesty Tango: Southwest Division

Photo by Armando Maynez via Flickr

This is the 3rd installment of the Amnesty Tango series, where I allow one player per team to wiggle out of his underpaying contract.

Previous Tangos: Northwest DivisionPacific Division

(Note: All salary information provided by Hoops Hype. Furthermore, it will be assumed all player and team options are in full effect.)

Dallas Mavericks

This is one of the league’s heftiest payrolls and the current amnesty being floated by the owners is inspired by the Brendan Haywood’s of the world: a backup center making $45 million over the next 5 years. Not that anyone’s blaming Haywood. I’d take $45 million if offered it too. Anyhoo, the amnesty individual for my plan would be“Rowdy” Rodrigue Beaubois. Truth be told, we don’t know if he’s really underpaid due to glimpses of sparkling play in 2010 and an injury-plagued 2011. But he’s making $2.2 million a year until 2014. If he fulfills just his 2010 flashes full-time then he’s worth more than that.

Houston Rockets

Simply put, this is K.L.O.E. time. Sure Chase Budinger and Patrick Patterson have some claim to being underpaid, but Kyle Lowry is the engine that stirs the drink in Houston. Basically, Lowry is a poor-man’s version of early 2000s Jason Kidd. He’s a point guard who plays good defense, rebounds exceptionally well for his size,  doesn’t have quite the vision of Kidd, but demonstrated a better jump shot during last season. That’s worth a bit more than $6 million a year.

Memphis Grizzlies

We have a tie! Well, we would, but Marc Gasol’s qualifying offer from Memphis is a paltry $4.6 and is surely to be rejected allowing Marc to test the free agent waters. And rightfully so. The burly Gasol is worth more than that in the this world of hard-to-find offensively gifted centers. Memphis’s other criminally underpaid player is swingman, Tony Allen. That sentence was unimaginable a year ago, but Allen truly came into his own last season with claustrophobic defense and a junk offensive game that still worked. One of the NBA’s premier perimeter defenders should be paid more than $3 million a year.

New Orleans Hornets

Any way Chris Paul can sign for more than his current $17 million a season deal?

San Antonio Spurs

The Beast from the Big East, DeJuan Blair has far exceeded all expectations just by remaining on the court fully healthy for the past two seasons. To boot, he’s been highly productive in his limited minutes as channeled spirit of Charles Barkley, without the freight train fastbreaks. For his 8 points and 7 rebounds in 20 minutes a night, Blair deserves to at least have a 7 figure salary. Besides, how many other human beings without ACLs can do this?



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