August 15th 2005: The New York Knicks use their Amnesty Provision on Jerome Williams
As part of the 2005 NBA Collective Bargaining Agreement, the NBA agreed to include an Amnesty Provision to rid teams of one of their biggest contract regrets. This rule was colloquially known as the Allan Houston Rule due to the $100 million contract the Knicks offered him. Knee injuries forced Houston to miss 94 games over the previous 2 seasons. Houston also had 2 years and $40 million remaining on his contract.
However, in somewhat typical Knicks fashion, the Knicks decided not to amnesty Houston. Instead, the Knicks amnestied Jerome “Junkyard Dog” Williams. Williams had 3 more years remaining on a 7 year $40 million deal he signed with the Toronto Raptors back in 2001. The amnesty allowed the team to save $21 million in future luxury tax payments. Williams never played another game in the NBA.
The biggest surprise was not amnestying Houston. To make things even more baffling, Houston announced his retirement shortly before the beginning of the 2005-06 season. Saving $20 million would have got the Knicks closer out of the salary cap hell that plagued the team for most of the 2000s.