By amnestying Metta World Peace, the Los Angeles Lakers proved once again that they have no problem making a controversial move today to benefit the team tomorrow. It's a theme that's presented itself several times in recent years.
The Lakers haven't been accustomed to cost-cutting, but they have been willing to cut ties when necessary, even if that means ignoring that player's history with the team. With an eye to the future. Los Angeles rarely makes the mistake of hanging on for too long.
Take a look at the feud between Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant from the early 2000s. The Lakers parted ways with Shaq following the 2004 season, which was one of the last chances they had at winning a title without creating an explosive situation.
Moving forward, they kept the same mentality every step of the way.
Since the end of the 2011 lockout, Los Angeles has either traded or amnestied three players who were integral to one or both the 2009 and 2010 Championship squads.
Between Lamar Odom, Derek Fisher, and now World Peace, each player has gone through a less-than-courteous exile. But which of the three went through the worst separation from the Lakers?
Lamar Odom was the first of the three to be shipped out of Los Angeles. In fact, he was actually traded twice before the Lakers finally got rid of him.
Initially he was included as a part of the trade for Chris Paul which was vetoed by the league. Odom was so upset about being traded and then forced to come back that he wound up requesting a trade so that he could start fresh elsewhere.
Odom probably overreacted. Pau Gasol was involved in the vetoed Paul trade as well, and he was fine sticking around Los Angeles.
Shortly following the Odom move, Derek Fisher was shipped to the Houston Rockets along with the first-round pick they acquired in the Odom trade for Jordan Hill. While Fisher should have seen the trade coming, it was a bit of a slap in the face as they found a replacement right before his eyes.
Steve Blake was taking most of the important minutes at point guard, and the team brought in Ramon Sessions along the way.
The Fisher trade was purely for the benefit of the team; there was nothing personal between Fisher and the front office, or another player on the team for that matter. Even though Fisher had been shipped to a lottery-bound team, his departure was put in motion in order to bring back a productive player.
The Lakers using their amnesty provision on World Peace is a different story, different from either Odom or Fisher being traded.
In the end, Los Angeles was able to use the trade exception from the Odom deal to land Howard, and they got a very productive player in Hill for Fisher. The World Peace decision was about money—his salary and its impact on the luxury tax.
Since World Peace was on an expiring contract, he would have had no impact on their salary situation during next summer's free-agency bonanza.
What it really meant the Buss Family gets to save $15 million and buy another round of ivory back-scratchers for each other.
It is a bit of a consolation prize that he was able to pick which team he went to, but that's hardly enough to erase the shame of being amnestied.
The only questions left to be answered are how long they'll keep Kobe in town and whether or not they'll take the same path of getting as much as possible out of the Black Mamba before cutting ties.