By Mike Bresnahan
8:16 PM EDT, July 11, 2013
The Lakers waived Metta World Peace via the NBA's so-called amnesty provision Thursday, a cost-cutting move that could save them about $15 million in luxury taxes.
When Dwight Howard bolted for Houston last week as a free agent, it ensured a roster spot for Pau Gasol but immediately put World Peace, 33, in jeopardy.
With World Peace gone, the Lakers have nine players under contract for about $75 million. After paying almost $30 million in luxury taxes last season, the most in the NBA, they are now about $3 million over the tax threshold for next season.
Earlier Thursday, the Lakers signed Nick Young to a one-year deal worth $1.2 million. An occasional starter with Philadelphia last season, Young is penciled in to start for the Lakers at small forward after averaging 10.6 points in his only season with the 76ers.
Teams that are under the salary cap will be able to submit an undisclosed bid to the NBA to acquire World Peace. If the highest bidder offers $3 million, he goes to that team next season and the Lakers use that money to offset the $7.7 million they still owe him.
After averaging a career-low 7.7 points in 2011-12, World Peace improved under Coach Mike D’Antoni’s system last season, averaging 12.4 points.
But he tore cartilage in his left knee in March, returned after only 12 days and was unable to produce after that. He averaged only six points and shot 25% in the playoffs.
World Peace has taken to Twitter this week, maintaining his sense of humor. He let the fans know that General Manager Mitch Kupchak had been in touch.
Mitch Called me first.. Thanks— Metta World Peace (@MettaWorldPeace) July 11, 2013
He sent a series of odd tweets Wednesday, including this one:
Ok. I have to amnesty my jeans. Their too tight. I think I might waive my tooth brush also. I need a new one— Metta World Peace (@MettaWorldPeace) July 10, 2013
World Peace received at least one important endorsement earlier this week on Twitter. Bryant lamented the possible loss of his teammate and said:
One thing the Lakers won’t miss with World Peace: his annual brushes with the NBA discipline office.
He was suspended seven games after elbowing James Harden in the head in April 2012. Harden sustained a concussion from the blow.
Last season, World Peace was hit with a one-game penalty after striking Detroit guard Brandon Knight in the jaw. It was his 11th suspension since 2003.
Only three other Lakers were eligible to be cut via amnesty because they were on the roster when the provision was installed in 2011: Bryant ($30.5 million next season), Gasol ($19.3 million) and Steve Blake ($4 million).
Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times