Metta World Peace is often in the conversation when the word “amnesty” is brought up, but this shouldn't be the case. Granted, the Lakers are hard pressed with the new salary cap to get quality players with the amount of spending room they have, but amnestying him is not the best way to free up cash.
There are a lot of reasons why World Peace should not be amnestied, and here are eight of them.
Metta World Peace plays hard every game. Even Kobe Bryant said in the postseason that MWP was the guy he could count on to play every night.
He has played nearly every single game since joining the Lakers and has become a guy they know will at least try to bring his A-game, night in and night out.
There's no denying that World Peace is the best defensive player the Lakers have on their team. The second-best player after him would probably be Kobe Bryant.
It was evident against the Nuggets in Game 7 how big of a defensive game-changer that MWP can be.
The thing that's good about his defense, too, is that he never really has an off-night. He just plays hard and tries to defend his man as best he can. Although he may not be the Defensive Player of the Year whom he was in 2003-04, he still has a dominant presence out on the floor.
Once a team exercises their amnesty option, that's it. They don't get another one, so it should be used on a really big, really bad contract.
World Peace is not bad enough to consider using it on. He's getting $7.2 million next season and has a $7.7 million player option for the next. It's the fourth-biggest contract the Lakers have but not so big that he can't be traded.
There are teams out there who would look at him for his intensity and his defensive skills. So if the Lakers choose not to keep him, maybe a team like the Hornets will want him.
Yes, World Peace's offensive game is streaky at best, but he has an ability to electrify a crowd and the team when he catches fire.
Last year was statistically one of his worst years, which can be attributed to the fact that it took him awhile to get into shape.
Toward the end, he played much better. In the playoffs, he averaged four more points a game than he did in the regular season. If anything, this is when points matter the most.
There's no quit in Metta World Peace. He will keep playing and shooting until the final seconds tick away.
He's not one of these guys who runs into the locker room early because he's upset; he plays and keeps his head in the game for all 48 minutes. This is more than can be said for some players, like Andrew Bynum who was gazing off, daydreaming when their season was on the line.
Sure, Metta has had momentary lapses in judgment, but a passionate player is better than one who is already planning a fishing trip when the game is still on the line.
The Lakers have a lot of egos on their roster, and usually, they play well together—but not when they're losing.
When this is the case, secret team meetings are held and even dirty laundry is aired out to the media—something several players are guilty of. World Peace does none of this. He doesn't have problems with his teammates and even said in his exit interview that he just wants to do what's best for the Lakers.
You can tell he really appreciates this team and organization and wants to help them win. Because of this, you never hear about any tiffs between him and teammates. This is an excellent quality to have in a starting player.
In addition to his defensive skills, World Peace disrupts other teams' balance and plans. The Denver Nuggets series is perfect to look at for a lot of World Peace examples because he missed six of the games, and then, they won the last game without much of a problem.
With Bynum double-teamed, the Lakers needed another aggressive player to change the flow of the game.
On offense, he disrupts what the opposing team tried to defensively do. A lot of his defensive skill comes from the fact that he gets in people's way—both mentally and physically.
He plays a bit like Dennis Rodman did—an X-factor when it comes to winning.
For some reason, the Lakers don't have a lot of guys who look to score. They have a ton of players who like to shoot but not many who look to drive to the hoop and make a basket.
Kobe does this but less now that he's getting older. Sessions did it a little, and Barnes occasionally as well, but World Peace consistently looks to drive inside and get the easy shot.