We had a pretty good idea that the Los Angeles Lakers would amnesty Metta World Peace, but it's official: the small forward will be a free agent, and his $21.5 million in salary over the next three seasons will not count against the Lakers' cap.
The timing is likely connected to the Lakers' probable signing of Nick Young, who will be replacing some of World Peace's production as a tweener shooting guard/small forward.
The news had leaked a bit early the other day that the Lakers would part with the 33-year-old who averaged 12.4 points and 5.0 rebounds this past season. That made Kobe Bryant sad:
No game 7 win without Metta! This is a tough day for laker nation #misspeace #newcbacasualty— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) July 9, 2013
Personally I'd keep Metta and make a run with the unit we have and just add a few pieces #keepthepeace #lakersstilldeciding— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) July 9, 2013
But with his status up in the air, World Peace had nothing to do but make Twitter jokes about his uncertain situation:
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
I just amnestied my IPhone 3. I had it way too long. What phone should I get next?— Metta World Peace (@MettaWorldPeace) July 11, 2013
And then "My Favorite Burger" took away the whole grain buns. These losers amnestied the buns.. Unreal man..— Metta World Peace (@MettaWorldPeace) July 10, 2013
But Thursday, he confirmed that Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak had talked to him.
World Peace will still make the money owed to him, including $7.7 million this next season, but he'll also be able to play elsewhere. Teams under the salary cap can place a claim on World Peace to pick up a portion of his salary, with the highest bid winning. If World Peace goes unclaimed, he'll become an unrestricted free agent.
The smaller the contract he signs, the more the Lakers have to pay. Although Artest is no longer the defensive player of the year and isn't capable of scoring 20 points per game anymore, teams may still want to bring in the 34-year-old on a veteran's minimum contract, as he could still be valuable as a defensive minded wing, possibly a backup.
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