Kobe Bryant is met by Metta World Peace after leaving a game against the Warriors… (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles…)
Dwight Howard's departure to the Houston Rockets might keep Pau Gasol with the Lakers another year, but will the financial savings be enough to save others?
Metta World Peace, who helped push the Lakers past the Boston Celtics for the 2010 title, could be the next casualty.
Between July 10 and 16, the Lakers have a window to use their one-time amnesty.
The team has only four players who are eligible: Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, Steve Blake and World Peace. Bryant and now Gasol are safe. Blake is worth the final $4 million on his contract.
The question will be World Peace and the $7.7 million he's owed, which would come off the Lakers' salary cap and luxury tax computation.
The veteran forward would still get paid but the team's payroll could drop to about $77 million (assuming the franchise uses its $3.2-million, taxpayer mid-level exception).
Amnesty on World Peace would make the Lakers' tax bill dip to only $8.3 million for a total payroll with tax of $85.3 million ($93 million including World Peace's share).
By not using the one-time amnesty, the Lakers are looking at approximately $112 million (including tax).
Is World Peace worth the $19-million difference?
Even if the team can't find a suitable replacement, that number has to be tempting to the Lakers during the amnesty window.
Barring a trade, the franchise is unlikely to get their total salary low enough to gain use of the larger $5.2-million mid-level exception.
Dwight Howard's pursuit of happiness likely to lead him out of town
Rockets GM Daryl Morey uses Twitter, YouTube to woo Dwight Howard
Kobe Bryant 'unfollows' former teammate Dwight Howard on Twitter
Email Eric Pincus at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @EricPincus.