Metta World Peace Amnestied by Los Angeles Lakers

Tim Keeney@@t_keenContributor IJuly 8, 2013

The Los Angeles Lakers reportedly will use their amnesty clause on forward Metta World Peace.


UPDATE: Thursday, July 11, at 7:51 p.m. ET by Eric Ball

The Lakers made it official today according to the team's official website: 

General Manager Mitch Kupchak issued the following statement on World Peace's release: 

It’s tough to say goodbye to a player such as Metta, who has been a significant part of our team the past four seasons. For anyone who’s had the opportunity to get to know him, it’s impossible not to love him.

He has made many contributions to this organization, both in his community work as well as in our games; perhaps no more so than in his clutch play in Game 7 of the 2010 NBA Finals in helping to lead us over the Celtics in one of the greatest playoff wins in Lakers history. We thank Metta for all his contributions and wish him the best of luck in the future.

World Peace tweeted how he was informed of the decision:

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UPDATE: Tuesday, July 9, at 8:42 p.m. ET by Eric Ball

While World Peace has yet to comment on being potentially amnestied or retiring, a person close to him has already narrowed down his ideal destinations if the Lakers do indeed let him go according to Sam Amick of USA Today:

According to a person with knowledge of World Peace's situation, the list of teams that he would most like to play for starts with the New York Knicks and is followed in order by the Los Angeles Clippers, Brooklyn Nets, Chicago Bulls, Miami Heat, Oklahoma City Thunder, San Antonio Spurs and the Indiana Pacers

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UPDATE: Tuesday, July 9, at 7:00 p.m. ET by Ian Hanford's Adam Zagoria reports the latest on World Peace's plans if he is amnestied by the Lakers:

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UPDATE: Tuesday, July 9, at 3:11 p.m. ET by Eric Ball

While World Peace has yet to officially be amnestied by the Lakers, rumors are already swirling around where the 33-year-old will land. Jared Zwerling of spoke with one of MWP's closest friends about the situation:

Amid rumors that Metta World Peace will be released by the Los Angeles Lakers via the amnesty clause, his longtime friend and head of his foundation, Jose Morales, said the forward "hopes to land with the Knicks."

The Lakers can't make an official amnesty move until Wednesday, and sources told ESPN Tuesday that the team hasn't made a decision. World Peace's camp told ESPN that the team also told them that no decision has been made.

Marc Spears of Yahoo! Sports later added there is mutual interest regarding World Peace coming back to the east coast:

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Original text: 

Kevin Ding of the Orange County Register has the news:

Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times and Hoopsworld added a couple more details:

Only four Lakers are eligible for the amnesty clause: Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, Steve Blake and World Peace.

Bryant is the backbone of the franchise, and amnestying him would have been a public relations nightmare for the team. Speaking of Bryant, he tweeted his thoughts on the possible amnesty of World Peace:

ESPN's Ramona Shelburne reports that Gasol is going to be kept and moved to center next season. Blake will only make $4 million over each of the next two seasons, so it doesn't make sense for the team to use the one-time clause on him.

That leaves World Peace.

The 33-year-old veteran forward is owed $7.73 million in the last year of his contract in 2013-14, but according to Pincus, taking his salary off the payroll would lower the team's luxury taxes enough to save $19 million. 

Is that enough to risk losing World Peace?

Known better by some for his off-court antics and hilarious interviews, the polarizing forward enjoyed arguably his best season in a Lakers uniform last year.

Noticeably slimmed down from a year before, World Peace averaged 12.4 points, 5.0 rebounds, 1.6 steals and 1.9 threes made in 75 games (66 starts) for the Lake Show.

He only shot 40.3 percent from the field, and his numbers were a far cry from his days with the Indiana Pacers, Sacramento Kings and even Houston Rockets, but World Peace proved that he is a valuable role player capable of positively affecting the game in a multitude of ways.

Nevertheless, with Dwight Howard gone, the Lakers are beginning to look toward the future, and World Peace doesn't seem to be a part of those plans.