Hornets Can Get Good Value in the Amnesty Process

Published: July 13, 2012

Brendan Haywood, Luis Scola, Darko Milicic, and Elton Brand are all there for the taking. Will Demps take the plunge into the amnesty abyss?

We have witnessed an offseason that has seen Gerald Wallace get $40 million, Goran Drigic get $32 million, and Nic Batum get $46 million all over 4 years. Michael Beasley is set to receive $6 million per year (even though his last team was far better with him on the bench) and the New Jersey Nets traded for a shooting guard on the backside of his career who is owed nearly $90 million over the next four seasons. The early days of free agency is the time of year that gets fan bases excited, but more often than not they end up cursing these very same contracts a couple of years down the road.

The next few weeks of the offseason is where teams start to get value. All of the big boy contenders are over the cap, and the teams in rebuilding mode have no desire to give minutes to veterans (choosing instead to play young guys), so they stay out of the free agency process for the most part. Good players are still available, however, and the number of good players on the market is actually increasing every day. Teams are allowed to use their one-time amnesty between July 11th and July 17th this year, and so far four teams have chosen to use it to clear space this year.

Here are the players up for bid and the number of years the winning team would be committing to them for:

Elton Brand (1 year)

Darko Milicic (2 years)

Brendan Haywood (4 years)

Luis Scola (3 years)

Now the way that this process works is that all teams that are below the cap are eligible to place a bid on these players. The winning bid will be spread out evenly over the years that the player has remaining on his contract. The bid average per year can be for an amount up to, but not exceeding, the amount of cap space your team currently has available. As Jason documented yesterday, the Hornets have a little over $10 million available, and can therefore be extremely active in this process.

Last year, seven players were amnestied and only two of them received bids- Travis Outlaw and Chauncey Billups. It took just over $2 million to win the rights to Billups, and $4 million a year got Travis Outlaw. With that as the precedent, it seems logical to think that the Hornets could walk away with two of these guys if they decided to be aggressive with their bidding.

Regardless, the teams that win the rights to these players will be getting them below market price – a market that gave Kwame Brown 7 million dollars (for one season) last year. The prize in this group is obviously Elton Brand, a PF/C that had perhaps his best defensive season of his career last year, and who can still score in the post or off the pick and pop. Brand also provides veteran leadership, something that the Hornets desperately need after trading Jarrett Jack earlier this week. Dallas is said to be intrested in Brand’s services, but the Hornets have about three million more in cap space, meaning that they could outbid Dallas if they want him bad enough.

Brenden Haywood is not a starter by any means, but he is a big body that could give a team 15-20 minutes a night. If you can get that for two to three million dollars a year in this market, you take it and run. Same goes for Darko Milicic, who had an extremely disappointing year last year for Minnesota, but was considered a well above average defensive center in years prior. Lastly we have Scola, a player targeted by GM Dell Demps just 8 short months ago. A supremely talented offensive player, Scola was overpaid at $10 mil per year, but could be one of the best bargains in the league at 4-5.

The Hornets are currently very thin in the front court, having only Anthony Davis, Ryan Anderson, and Jason Smith there currently. Ideally, the Hornets would find a player who can score in the low post and a player who can defend bulkier low post players. Darko and Haywood can do the latter, Scola can do the former, and Elton Brand can do both. The blind bid process is a tricky one, because you don’t want to lose out on a player you desire by being too frugal, and you don’t want to overpay a guy you could have had much cheaper, but that’s all part of the game. The Hornets have an opportunity to get one or two of these guys for below market value to round out their front court for next season, and possibly beyond.

And as we have seen in the past, you never expect Dealer Dell to pass up a good value.




  1. nolaDarius

    July 13, 2012 at 6:22 am

    hornets future lookin real good real real real good

  2. Tyler

    July 13, 2012 at 6:53 am

    Luis Scola would be a good compliment in the frontcourt.

  3. SP

    July 13, 2012 at 7:18 am

    I like the idea of Brendan Haywood coming off the bench for NOLA, he’s an elite third big and someone we could use to watch AD’s back as a rookie.

    Scola would be an interesting possibility if we could play Anderson at the three, but I wouldn’t want to take any minutes away from Anderson, I think he’ll be a big time producer for us over the next four years.

    We’ve still got a gaping hole at the three, but I would think with some great players on the court, either Henry or Aminu will bust out as solid contributors (I’m leaning towards Xavier).

    • malcolm

      July 13, 2012 at 2:34 pm

      They have Darius Miller @ 6’8 he will be our Ariza

  4. Eli

    July 13, 2012 at 7:38 am

    If we could get Haywood and either Brand or Scola that would be NiCE.

    Our frontcourt rotation would be effin crazy!

  5. Christian

    July 13, 2012 at 7:58 am

    Elton brand is good player but he is a 6’9 forward. He will not be guarding the likes of Dwight Howard, Andrew Bynum, Marc gasol, and other 6”11-7 ft centers. It’s already going to be hard enough to play Anderson and davis together. If Brand is okay with a bench role playing 20 min a game. Then sure.
    Haywood would be ideal though as the Hornets need a center.

    • Mason Ginsberg

      July 13, 2012 at 8:18 am

      Disagree with the notion that Brand can’t guard Howard/Bynum/Gasol. It’s tough for any player to contain the size of those guys, but Brand showed last season that he was one of the best options in the league in doing so. The only reason to prefer Haywood is the belief that you can get him cheap for long-term; for example, I think I’d take Haywood at 2 mil per season over the next 3 or 4 instead of Brand for 1 year. As Mike noted, the value of even remotely competent 7-foot centers (such as Kwame) seem to be quite inflated, so if we can get a guy with the size of Haywood for that little, it could be incredibly valuable.

  6. Mike Wr

    July 13, 2012 at 8:16 am

    Committing 4 years to get a retread like Haywood would not make sense. I see NO needing a backup center for 2 years. Milicic would make the most sense and likely require the smallest investment IMO.

    • J

      July 13, 2012 at 11:46 am

      I agree Haywood contract is worst that Okafors

  7. Kempleton

    July 13, 2012 at 8:22 am

    Hey Mike,

    Which teams besides us are below the cap? So, if we were to make a bid for a player, which teams are we going to race with?

    Can you quickly make a list? Thx…

    Brand-Milicic-Haywood-Scola! That’s a very decent group.

    Milicic stays injured a lot. He started last season well but eventually lost his spot to Pekovix. If we can get him cheap, he can come off the bench (just like what Ayon would do). But I do not like the injury proneness.

    I bet Scola would want to be a starter. He may not be cheap anyways, We have our PF/C locked in Anderson/Davis. Don’t think we will go after him.

    Haywood would be a great big body to have. But, he has 4 years remaining, that sounds too long to me.

    Brand is the steal there! Only 1 year! Great experience. Will help the growth of Davis. He can play both PF and C.

    So, going back to our question. Who is our competition? (other than Dallas which you said we can definitely win!)

    Question #2: Is there a waiting period after you make the bid?

    That could be critical because we have to match the offer-sheet of Gordon on Saturday. 🙁 Can you elaborate on that thought as well?


    • Jason Calmes

      July 13, 2012 at 8:37 am

      Usually, the process is the Amnesty is announced on day 1.

      Bids come in the next day, ending about 24 hours after the announcement (about!).

      They run through the bids on day 3, make sure the teams have the space available or can make it so by dumping nonguaranteed salary (not trades allowed), and make the award. We usually here that day, 48 hours after we hear about it.

      Mike can fill in the rest or tell me I’m screwed something up.

      • Michael McNamara

        July 13, 2012 at 8:55 am

        It is hear, not here- but other than that you got it

        As for teams eligible for amnesty process:

        Sacto is about 15 mil under
        Toronto about 5 under
        Dallas about 6 under
        Rockets about 25 under, but saving space for Dwight move
        Pacers about 3 under
        Portland about 10 under

        4-5 other teams are a couple mil under like ATL and Philly, but not big players

        Portland will be biggest competition for centers, Dallas biggest contenders for Brand and Scola

        Sacto can get anybody they want, but would probably rather give playing time to younger guys

      • Jason Calmes

        July 13, 2012 at 9:06 am


        Shame shame shame on me!

      • Kempleton

        July 13, 2012 at 10:56 am

        Thanks guys.

        Kings have Cousins, Thompson, Hayes and Robinson. Don’t think they will go after the amnestied bigs.

        Oh, Portland definitely will! 🙂

        I am not sure what Houston is doing.

        So, I think our biggest competition is Portland. Other than that we can win a bid against the rest.

        I would assume we would want to do this before resigning Gordon. Looks like that’s not going to happen according to Jason’s schedule of events.

        So going back to the “figuring out the salary” (which I bookmarked as I said yesterday!) we would have 10 mil before matching Gordon and 6 mil after we match him.

        As I am writing these lines I have just heard that we made a bid on BRAND!!!!


  8. George

    July 13, 2012 at 9:02 am

    I like Brand a lot and think he would hold down the center position just fine for us. From memory DeJuan Blair started at center for the Spurs the past season and it turned out pretty well for them. Looking into getting a cheap backup center should also be a priority, if we could afford both Haywood/Milicic and Brand I think that would be ideal. Also, now that we have Anderson, is Smith more expendable?

    • Mitch K

      July 13, 2012 at 9:24 am

      I dont think so. I think the relationship between Monty and smith is the strongest on the team. He is constantly improving, works hard all the time and does it with a smile. I don’t think Monty would give him up!!

  9. BDavis

    July 13, 2012 at 9:29 am

    We’re not really worried about Haywood’s 4 years are we? I would think this is a plus with the way dealer Dell moves players. Given the timeline are we going to be able to use that estimated 6 – 10 mil b4 we sign EG.

  10. Ross T

    July 13, 2012 at 9:33 am

    This seems like a no brainer. Brand seems like a necessity. He is a big body that is solid defensively and has a nice all around offensive game, not to mention he is a veteran presence our locker room will most certainly need. If we could snag Darko relatively cheap, I would take him over Haywood and Scola. I have watched Haywood look lost on the floor for the Mavs for the past few years, outside of being a 7 footer to take up space, he is pretty worthless. Scola is a skilled offensive player, but he will probably be the most expensive of the bunch, and we really have no need for him. Yes, the Hornets need front court players, but more specifically, the Hornets need a center. Does Scola provide more defensively at the 5 than Davis, Anderson, Smith, or Darko and Brand? Not really.

    • Al

      July 13, 2012 at 10:03 am

      “outside of being a 7 footer to take up space, he is pretty worthless”

      I think the same thing about Kendrick Perkins, and yet teams keep him on the court.
      I definitely agree, Brand is the prize of this group. His wing span allows him to play bigger. Scola is strictly a 4, which we already have. Darko, just no… I think Haywood is is the next best asset of the group.

    • 504ever

      July 13, 2012 at 10:13 am

      Totally agree and want to add.

      Scola is an offensive PF, and we have already have two on the roster (Anderson and Smith). Dell may have liked him before, but there is no way we put in a bid with our current roster.

      Haywood has looked out classed since college (UNC). [I was shocked he was drafted so high, not when he never panned out.] The only way he is worth a bid is to get him cheap for four years and trade him in the future. I only see him helping us for a season at most, and then as a back-up. So he is unlikely to receive a Hornet bid.

      Brand is the guy; Darko could help for a year or two.

      My question is what happens if the bidding is open on both at the same time? Can you take Brand and pass on Darko if you are the high bidder for both and Brand’s close 1st? Can you withdraw your Darko bid if you win on Brand?

      I don’t think numbers from last year’s Amnesty will be relevant to this year, because of timing, and lack of time to plan to make cap space prior to the Amnesty period. I expect higher prices this time around. So I won’t be shocked by some winning bids.

  11. Neal Gudiseva

    July 13, 2012 at 9:56 am

    I heard that Dell was considering Jose Calderon from the Raptors. His contract is 10 million a year, so I don’t think Dell will pull the trigger.

  12. browcountry

    July 13, 2012 at 9:56 am

    How soon can they start bidding?

  13. edbballin504

    July 13, 2012 at 10:04 am

    Saw the tweets from MM saying he unofficially thinks we got Brand. Assuming we did at price equal to the max DAL could have offered, how much cap space will we have left to place a bid on another guy?

    Also, if we get Brand, would that mean Landry is gone?

  14. ktrufant

    July 13, 2012 at 10:28 am

    Good Idead: Getting Brand or Haywood on the cheap.

    Bad Idea: Paying Scola or Milicic to even touch a basketball.

  15. Snow

    July 13, 2012 at 10:35 am

    I really hope we get Brand! He had a great season last year and I think he’d fit in the Monty system cause his defense is great. He got a couple nods for defensive player of the year I’m pretty sure. Someone mentioned how Scola was an offensive player so would Monty & Dell want him even though we just got Anderson? I think if we could get Brand & even Haywood that’d be great.

  16. Chuck

    July 13, 2012 at 10:40 am

    Scola is probably out because if Dallas can lock up a good player on the cheap for 3 years, they’ll go for it. Also I don’t think Scola, Davis, and Anderson can play well together in a frontcourt, there’s just not enough quickness to guard 3s so one guy would be stuck coming off the bench and all of them are solid starters.

    I think Brand would be good. At this point in his career he might be comfortable backing up and mentoring Davis. Also, he might be 6’8″, but the guy is super strong and has a massive wingspan which is how he’s such a good defender and used to have so many blocks.

    Haywood would be fine defensively, although it is weird how Haywood went from “really good defensively” to “competent backup center” to “why are we paying this guy ANYTHING” in about 3 years. I’m cool with Darko as long as he brings his posse with him.

  17. Everett

    July 13, 2012 at 10:41 am

    With our current crop of players, Haywood makes the most sense. He’s pretty awful on offense, but if you could get him for 3 mill or less per season, I say go for it. He’s offensively challenged, but he’s a pretty good defensive center. Our team badly needs another center. Elton Brand is a crafty player, but there’s no substitute for height.

    • Jochbe

      July 13, 2012 at 11:29 am

      How about crazy wingspan and giant hands as a substitute for height?

      Don’t make such a big deal of the measurement to the top of a guy’s head. There is no heading in basketball…

  18. Josh

    July 13, 2012 at 11:14 am

    I wouldn’t mind overpaying for Brand. We’ll only have him for a year, and all that money can just come off the books next year. He can play in the post and play defense against big guys and is also a good veteran leader that has a positive attitude in the locker room. If we don’t really need him anymore, we can trade him at the trade deadline to a contending team that would want him. I’m okay with Milicic for 2 years, but I’d rather not have Scola or Haywood for 3 and 4 years, respectively.

    • Josh

      July 13, 2012 at 11:32 am

      I just saw on the Hornets247 Twitter account that amnestied players acquired by a team can not be traded until July 1, 2013.

  19. Hollis21

    July 13, 2012 at 11:29 am

    Really hoping we get Elton Brand here. That would be a really nice pickup. He fits a need. Will compete and make a difference. And he offers the veteran leadership the team lacks, especially after the Jack trade.

    The other three aren’t bad, but Brand is the prize in terms of what our organization needs. Fingers crossed!

  20. J

    July 13, 2012 at 11:47 am

    Im for Brand and Milicic

  21. R.Womack

    July 13, 2012 at 12:00 pm

    Why dont we go after Mcgee??? Gordon obviously doesnt want to be here… i say go after Mcgee and find pg and another sg… i personally think that dj augustine would fit perfectly… then sign either courtney lee, belly, foye, or mayo

    • Al

      July 13, 2012 at 12:11 pm

      Mcgee wants Brook Lopez/Roy Hibbert money. Im a big Javale fan, but not at that cost. And Augustin is headed to the Pacers.

  22. John in MO

    July 13, 2012 at 12:30 pm

    I think Brand would want too much PT and 4 years is too long for BH. Scola also eats too many minutes from the 4 and doesn’t solve our need for a big body. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but of the four choices, Darko seems like the best fit. Ok, I need to find my way back from the twilight zone.

    • Al

      July 13, 2012 at 1:20 pm

      We only have 3 frontcourt players. He can get around 25mpg, so I don’t think there will be any problem giving Brand PT.

  23. Scott

    July 13, 2012 at 12:53 pm

    I know I’ve heard that Greg Oden wants to sign with the Miami Heat (No surprise). Anyways, I think it might be nice if we took a chance on this guy. I know he’s about as delicate as a bag of potato chips, but if we can take a chance on him for a cheap deal let’s do it. He could really bang bodies with Anthony Davis in the low post. Then, we’d have 2 big bodies down low. I think those 2 guys could really defend the basket. What do you guys think about that?

    • Everett

      July 13, 2012 at 12:59 pm

      If he comes cheap, I’d be willing to sign him.

      • Ross T

        July 13, 2012 at 1:50 pm

        That’s a no brainer depending on the price. I actually think there would be interest from Oden in coming to NOLA as well. A young team with lots of potential, a long 19 PF that will immediately make an impact on the defensive end, if we keep Gordon, combined with Rivers, thats two electric, playmaking guards. He would basically be asked to sit in the paint and defend/block shots. I know he has interest in Miami but they are so hamstrung financially with the contracts on the books that I don’t know if they would be willing to bring on such a massive injury risk, or they would even have interest. Spoelstra keeps talking about playing small and interchanging positions seemlessly, that doesn’t work with Oden.

  24. Harold

    July 13, 2012 at 1:07 pm

    Get Scola and Darko.

    • Al

      July 13, 2012 at 1:24 pm

      Scola doesn’t fit any need on our team. Brand would be an upgrade from Jason Smith, while Darko would not.

      • Al

        July 13, 2012 at 4:57 pm

        Cmon now… Darko avg 4ppg last season. Whatever back-to-basket game he has, doesn’t result in points. Is he serviceable? Sure I guess so. But I would rather use Jason Smith as our serviceable big man, and get a player of starting caliber.

  25. Ross T

    July 13, 2012 at 1:51 pm

    There is absolutely no good reason we would offer Scola. It literally makes no sense from a basketball perspective, or a financial perspective.

    • Chris

      July 13, 2012 at 4:13 pm

      I completely agree with this. We have plenty of scorers/shooters on this team assuming Gordon comes back. I also think Davis is a very underrated scorer. While it is a developing offensive game, it is further along than some think. He won’t lead the team in scoring per game next year, but he will on certain nights.

      What we really need is a true defensive center that can embrace their role as a defensive stopper. That’s not what Scola is and don’t see how he fits with Davis and Anderson to begin with. He’s only 6’9″ and this team doesn’t need another PF that can score. It needs a true center who can defend and rebound.

      • Nithenz

        July 14, 2012 at 2:13 pm

        I think there is one way to make sense a Scola bid (Hey, im Argentinian, love this guy!). What about getting him, give him a Landy kind of role (6th man, bench scorer) and in a year you have a good player you can use in a deal. The thing im not sure how it works is the tradind of amnestied players. Read it cant happen till next year, but what about the salary? Just the bid part is taken in consideration if we trade him next year? Or that the team willing to take him get the Hou original contract? If it is just the bid, there you have a great player on a cheap contract that paired with a pick could bring back serious talent.

  26. kfte

    July 13, 2012 at 3:17 pm

    No doubt Scola would be the best player, but he is too expensive. I really like Brand for one year. I not to high on Haywood , but for a max of two years. We need some NBA toughness in the middle, which he can provide. I would not waste my time on Darko, he was a bust when he was the second pick in the 2003 Draft. (Wade went no. 5) He was a bust while in Detroit and this year with the Timberwolves. His claim to fame is he is 7 ft.

  27. NOS-3RD GEN

    July 13, 2012 at 3:59 pm

    I can’t understand why we didn’t at least D.AUG. we need a PG and he was the best available PG left, and Indiana Pacers grabbed, then again is Aaron Brooks still available.if we do get an amesty player I would want someone who can teach Skynet post moves. And an inside game. Basically some who can improve the bigman on our team. So I guess that is E.Brand.

  28. J

    July 13, 2012 at 4:17 pm

    Now that Brand is going to the Mavs Millicic and Scola is going after now

  29. Kempleton

    July 13, 2012 at 4:30 pm


    Source: Brand successfully claimed by Mavs

    According to Adrian Wojnarowski, a league source has confirmed that the Dallas Mavericks successfully claimed Elton Brand off amnesty waivers on Friday.
    Details are coming in that the winning bid for Brand was $2.1 million, which is much lower than expected. In addition to officially grabbing Brand, the Mavericks are said to be on the verge of also signing free agent center Chris Kaman. If Kaman does, in fact, sign with Dallas, Brand will back up both Dirk Nowitzki and Kaman in the Mavericks’ front court. Brand will also be a nice insurance policy if Dallas somehow ends up not being able to get the Kaman deal done. Brand will need some minutes to open up for him to be fantasy-relevant next season.

  30. CarnbY

    July 13, 2012 at 4:33 pm

    I’m very surprised the winning bid was that low. I wonder if the Hornets bid on him at all? Could have at the very least put in a $3-4mil. bid?

  31. Bonaparte

    July 13, 2012 at 4:39 pm

    Hey Mikey Mac:

    I think you come across as more than a little arrogant / know-it-ally on occasion. Maybe that’s why you’re getting a good deal of heat over this one.

    • Michael McNamara

      July 13, 2012 at 4:42 pm

      Doesn’t bother me at all. If people can’t see all the good that we produce and instead focus on a rumor we heard that I said dozens of times was not yet confirmed, then that is their choice. I get the ‘hater generation’ and I choose to ignore. Too many quality people out there who appreciate the hard work we do to focus on them.

    • Jason Calmes

      July 13, 2012 at 4:53 pm

      Oh, sitting and waiting to pounce?

      Been waiting a while, eh, flawless one…

  32. r

    July 13, 2012 at 4:42 pm

    MM: Don’t let the hating deter you from revealing what you hear in the future. I, for one, am happy to hear what your sources report, so long as it comes with a qualifier.

  33. Jae504

    July 13, 2012 at 5:08 pm

    We’re getting Brand..This Debate is over

    • nolaDarius

      July 13, 2012 at 5:13 pm

      he is already with the mavs

  34. Brad Davis

    July 13, 2012 at 5:21 pm

    Brad Miller (helluva first name). As Michael just tweeted, there’s the move we’ve been waiting for.

    To Miller 64, to Miller 64!!

    • J

      July 13, 2012 at 6:14 pm

      He’ll be brought out he’s not going be a Hornet for long his skills declined bye bye Brad.

  35. Jae504

    July 13, 2012 at 5:22 pm

    We as in the Mavs

  36. Josh

    July 13, 2012 at 5:24 pm

    But, but, but what about my customized Elton Brand Jersey?

    Jk. It’s all cool, MM. I appreciate everything on this website. It’s great!

  37. JJIF

    July 13, 2012 at 6:25 pm

    Really one 2nd rounder for 2 and brad miller? What the hell were the tumblewolves thinking?!


    July 13, 2012 at 6:29 pm

    FUKKKING DELL… seriously brand for that cheap? we could have easily had him, I hope there’s a better plan brewing because I am extremely frustrated that we missed out on a great opportunity. NIKKA SHIT

    • J

      July 13, 2012 at 9:14 pm

      Listen thug no one is going bid over 3 million on a player who skills decline and would rather play in Dallas he said he wanted to play in Dallas and he got his wish.Theres others on the market.Dispite that Demps want long term answers to this team it look like it will be short term answwers unless they get Haywood and outbid Charlotte and get Scola and outbit other teams.

  39. JJIF

    July 13, 2012 at 6:30 pm

    Come on Dell! Only 2 million for Brand!

  40. RealDeal

    July 13, 2012 at 6:51 pm


  41. Sammy

    July 13, 2012 at 10:14 pm

    CP3 is definitely gonna come back

  42. mojart

    July 14, 2012 at 7:26 am

    now lets go get oden or steismma…….i don’t want darko….he is a bust and always injured….he will definitely not help our team….i go oden bcoz he is young and hungry and trying to prove something….darko has given the chance but did not take it….

  43. VeezyV

    July 14, 2012 at 11:42 am

    Whats up with Robin Lopez or Steismma – but his feet worry me

  44. 504ever

    July 14, 2012 at 6:35 pm

    I think it is time to align the title of this article with reality. It suggest it be retitled as follows:” Hornets Pass on Chance to Get Good Value in the Amnesty Process”

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