Metta World Peace may have played his last game as a Laker.
MWP has an early termination option in his contract this off-season. If Metta doesn’t take it, he’ll be on the Lakers’ books for $7.7 million next season which could cause him to get amnestied by the Los Angeles Lakers.
According to Larry Coon, Metta won’t opt-out of his contract and therefore he could be an amnesty candidate this summer:
[pullquote]Q: What if Metta World Peace takes his opt-out and becomes a free agent?
A: Then the Lakers save about $7.7 million, and the financial objections I raised become less of a problem. But from what I hear, even though Metta raised the possibility of opting-out, it isn’t going to happen. I’d be shocked if it did.[/pullquote]
If Metta wants to stay with the Lakers, his best bet is to opt-out of his $7.7 million deal and re-sign for less. This was something he hinted at earlier in the year, but he later back-tracked on those comments, possibly due to a quick phone call from his agent.
If MWP decides not to use his opt-out clause and he stays on the books, the Lakers would likely amnesty him. They’d still have to pay him the $7.7 million owed – unless a team claims him off waivers – but his salary wouldn’t count against the luxury tax, meaning the Lakers would end up saving about $30 million according to Coon. That’s quite a significant saving.
Amnestying Metta would mean the Lakers would need to find a new starting small forward, either via trade or free agency. Could they re-sign Earl Clark and play him at the 3? It’s a possibility, and that would also allow Jordan Hill to get a fair amount of minutes off the bench, too.
It should be noted that if the Lakers amnesty MWP, they wouldn’t be able to re-sign him to a smaller deal so he can stay in town: the Lakers would have to wait until July 2014 to re-sign Metta, by which time they’ll likely have bigger fish to fry.
But, for now, Metta’s still a Laker. We’ll see where we stand in July…
H/T Lakers Nation