Allan Houston avoided being cut by New York on the final day for NBA teams to take advantage of a onetime chance to escape luxury tax obligations for any contract on their books.

Rather than saving almost $40 million, the Knicks opted instead to release former Georgetown forward Jerome Williams to avoid $21.3 million in luxury taxes that would have been due over the next three seasons. The Knicks had been expected to waive Houston, who played only 20 games last season because of chronic knee soreness.

Dallas released 10-year veteran guard Michael Finley, who is owed $51.8 million over the next three seasons.

In all, teams saved more than $160 million in future tax payments by waiving 17 players. Among them were Fred Hoiberg of Minnesota, Ron Mercer of New Jersey, center Calvin Booth of Milwaukee, Troy Bell of Memphis and Clarence Weatherspoon of Houston.

Teams whose payrolls exceed $61.7 million for the upcoming season will have to pay a dollar-for-dollar tax on the overage. Among them are the Indiana Pacers, who waived retired guard Reggie Miller to save $6 million in tax costs.

The onetime amnesty option was part of the six-year collective bargaining agreement agreed to earlier this summer by the league and the players' union. Under terms of the rule, players who were waived will still be paid by their former teams and cannot re-sign with them until their current contracts have expired.

-- From News Services