In case you blinked over the weekend, the NBA lockout ended. A quick straw poll of our listeners proved that opinions on the matter ranged from "Who cares?" to "$%*& YOU!". But the few who DID care may or may not have noticed a clause slipped into the new CBA, a clause that could very well affect our Hometown Five.

NBA fans with long(ish) memories remember the infamous "Allan Houston Rule" from the last CBA...in a nutshell, it was an amnesty clause, which allowed a team to waive one player from their team and recovering all of the cap space he was taking up. The best part of the original Allan Houston rule? The Knicks, in the midst of their visit to Cap Hell, DIDN'T WAVE the titular Houston, choosing instead to give Jerome "JYD" Williams the heave-ho. The clause has made its GLORIOUS return to our consciousnesswith the new deal's ratification, as it appears in new and improved form. The long and the short of it is this: a player still can be waived (paid in full by the team) and all of the shame, regret, and restriction that came with their contract can go bye-bye. But the BIG difference now is that teams can wait until NEXT summer to use the axe. Next summer's free agent class is a Franchise Savior BONANZA, with Dwight Howard, Chris Paul, and Deron Williams all as UFAs, and Kevin Love, Derrick Rose, and Russell Westbrook headlining the RFA class. Up until this weekend, no one considered our very own 76ers as major players for the Summer of '12, but this new rule changes things. If they are unable to unload Andre Iguodala this season via trade, they can simply "Allan Houston" him right out of town. If they DO find a willing trade partner and remove his contract from the books, Elton Brand's hideous $18 mil salary can be thankfully removed. The name of the game with this Sixers group has become "patience." With the brand new Amnesty Rule in place, our patience may be rewarded.