Metta World Peace Amnesty Chatter Ignores Lakers' Unique Position

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Metta World Peace Amnesty Chatter Ignores Lakers' Unique Position
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Wednesday, July 11th marks the official opening of the amnesty window—the collectively bargained period of time during which teams are allowed to wipe a players' salary from their cap sheet (provided said player inked their deal under the old collective bargaining agreement) to better maneuver their offseason plans. As such, amnesty rumors are abound; there's something about the prospect of removing a player's sizable salary from the roster that appears to bring out the armchair GM in all of us.

Elton Brand will reportedly be amnestied in short order, and per Marc Stein of ESPN.com, so too might Washington's Andray Blatche.

 

But considering the never-ending flutter of rumor and conjecture that shadows the Los Angeles Lakers, it should come as no surprise that Metta World Peace—the frequent scapegoat for all of the Lakers' problems —is so frequently a named possibility in most every discussion about the amnesty clause.

Blame World Peace's wobbly shooting, slowed lateral movement or the $15 million he's owed over the next two seasons, but all of it together would seem to make him a sensible amnesty choice—and to the uninitiated, a player who could be released for the sake of adding additional talent.

Only that's not exactly the case. Even if the Lakers were to amnesty World Peace, they'd have $73.3 million committed for the coming season—and that's before we account for the salary of Steve Nash and any other wing player(s) added to offset the departure of World Peace. That number is likely to only get higher in the following season, unless L.A. does something drastic and/or crazy like let Andrew Bynum walk in free agency.

This clearly isn't a team operating under normal financial circumstances; the Lakers lumped Nash's committed salary on top of their already bloated total, making life under the luxury tax line a pipe dream. Jerry Buss is nothing if not financially committed to making his team a winner, and thus the conversation regarding Metta World Peace and the amnesty possibility becomes moot in basketball terms; choosing to amnesty him would give L.A. no more options to add talent than they have today. 

The decision only and ultimately falls on Buss, who makes the call on whether World Peace's presence over the next two years is worth the hefty toll taken on his wallet. And, even if he isn't, another calculation follows: even if Metta World Peace isn't worth what he's being paid, is there legitimate use in amnestying him when there are so few realistic ways to replace his minutes given the cap-allowed avenues available?

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