The Los Angeles Lakers are in a precarious position going into the 2012 offseason. Without getting into the deep debate of whether or not to trade Andrew Bynum or Pau Gasol or even both, they sit as victims of the NBA's new collective bargaining agreement.
You see, the Lakers biggest tool to sign free agents, even though they are over the salary cap has been sliced down to size by the new collective bargaining agreement as they are well over the luxury tax level for 2013. Their mid-level exception, which would be just over $5 million per year for four years, has been cut to a mini mid-level exception, which is just over $3 million per year for four years.
Now, we've all heard the shouting that the Lakers should amnesthize Metta World Peace, thereby cutting $7 million in salary off their payroll for the next two seasons. However, they are in for $80 million in payroll for 2013, which means cutting him would bring it down to $73 million.
That number would give them the full mid-level exception, but only if they were to re-sign none of their free agents (and it seems that at the very least Jordan Hill, Devin Ebanks, Matt Barnes and Andrew Goudelock are important to this team).
So, that will leave them with just the mini mid-level exception to offer to free agents. The question that remains is who out there will be willing to sign a contract at that price.