Metta World Peace (Stephen Dunn / Getty Images )
Metta World Peace has decided to stick with the Lakers. Now, will the Lakers stick with Metta World Peace?
According to a team spokesman, the veteran forward informed the team (through his agent Marc Cornstein) on Tuesday that he intends not to opt out of the final year of his contract at $7.7 million.
Cornstein also confirmed his client's intentions to The Times.
The Lakers still have their one-time amnesty to cut a single player, a decision to be made between July 10 and July 16. As written in the NBA's 2011 collective bargaining agreement, an amnesty player still receives his salary but falls off a team's salary-cap and luxury-tax computations.
If the Lakers bring back free-agent center Dwight Howard at $20.5 million while maintaining the same $100-million payroll they had last season, the team would be on hook for approximately $72 million in luxury tax.
Removing World Peace from the equation via amnesty could save the Lakers about $24 million in tax. The 33-year-old averaged 12.4 points per game last season.
The Lakers have limited options when it comes to replacing World Peace, should they let him go -- but economics may push the team into a difficult decision.
This summer represents the Lakers' last opportunity to use their amnesty; eligible players include Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, Steve Blake and World Peace.
As written in his contract, the deadline for World Peace to opt out of his deal is 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday. He won't officially opt in until Wednesday at midnight.
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