Metta World Peace Officially Amnestied By Los Angeles Lakers
After four seasons on the Los Angeles Lakers, controversial small forward Metta World Peace is officially on the open market, as the Lakers bought him out through the NBA's amnesty provision, according to Kevin Ding of the OC Register:
Lakers have officially waived @MettaWorldPeace via the NBA amnesty provision.— KEVIN DING (@KevinDing) July 11, 2013
Ding also provides this quote from GM Mitch Kuphchak:
Kupchak on cutting Metta to save money: "“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 took to Twitter after being amnestied:
Mitch Called me first.. Thanks— Metta World Peace (@MettaWorldPeace) July 11, 2013
The move doesn't come as a huge surprise since it will reportedly save the Lakers a total of $16 million in luxury-tax payments, according to Kurt Badenhausen of Forbes. While the Lakers will have to pay World Peace the remainder of his $7.7 million salary during the upcoming season, it won't count against the team's salary cap.
World Peace was a key part of Los Angeles' NBA title in 2010, averaging 11.0 points, 4.3 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game during the regular season while providing excellent perimeter defense and a threat from beyond the arc.
With that said, World Peace always played a supporting role with the Lakers, while the likes of Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard carried the offensive burden. Even so, World Peace proved to be a valuable player as he developed into a "glue guy" who put past issues behind him in the name of winning.
World Peace is only 33 years of age, so his NBA career could very well continue on. While it's highly unlikely that World Peace will ever be an All-Star caliber player again like he was with the Indiana Pacers and Sacramento Kings, he has the ability to be an effective player when utilized in the proper situations.
In fact, World Peace had his best statistical season as a Laker this past season as he averaged 12.4 points, 5.0 rebounds and 1.6 steals per contest. He also played in 75 games, which was huge considering the team was dealing with significant injuries to players like Bryant, Gasol, Howard and Steve Nash.
There will likely be no shortage of potential suitors lining up to sign World Peace. Even if he is no longer the type of player that will put a team over the top, contending teams can always use a veteran presence with defensive capabilities off the bench.
Although World Peace really seemed to enjoy his time with the Lakers, this is probably a blessing in disguise for him. Not only will he get paid by both Los Angeles and whichever team he ultimately signs with, he could end up on a team more likely to contend than the Lakers.
As odd as it is to say, the Purple and Gold don't seem like a team that will be in the title hunt in the upcoming season. With Bryant working his way back from injury and Howard deciding to sign with the Houston Rockets, L.A. will be hard-pressed to eclipse teams such as the San Antonio Spurs, Oklahoma City Thunder, Memphis Grizzlies, Golden State Warriors and Rockets.
The marriage between World Peace and the Lakers worked out even better than most could have possibly imagined. The time is right for them to go their separate ways, though. This move benefits both World Peace and the Lakers organization, so it's highly unlikely that there will be any ill will between the two sides moving forward.
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