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One way or another World Peace may be a free agent this summer

Mar 26, 2013, 10:36 AM EDT

Metta World Peace, Kobe Bryant AP

If you don’t think Metta World Peace matters to the Lakers rotations, you didn’t watch the second half of their loss to Golden State Monday night. He tweaked his left knee and spent much of the second half in the locker room getting treatment, he didn’t play. Without him the Lakers defense takes a step back — Pau Gasol is still playing his way into shape and looked slow, and the Lakers bench is just a bunch of guys who need to knock down threes to be effective.

But the smart money says Metta World Peace will not be back with the Lakers next year.

He has a player option for $7.7 million and told Scott Howard-Cooper of NBA.com he may not pick it up. But even if he does, the Lakers may amnesty him to save money.

He said his agent, Marc Cornstein, will approach the Lakers about an extension, but that will be a very short conversation unless the 33-year-old small forward is willing to take a severe pay cut. And it may be short no matter what. If World Peace does not terminate the deal, he immediately becomes a candidate to be cut under the amnesty provision….

“I think my agent is trying to see if he can get an extension to stay here in L.A.,” World Peace told NBA.com. “I’m really excited about the possibilities of staying here in L.A.”

The Lakers are not going to do an extension. They will have a lot of cap space in 2014 and the only contract they will add to impinge on that is Dwight Howard’s. Only Howard and Steve Nash would be on the Lakers books, giving them a chance to rebuild no matter what Kobe Bryant decides to do.

World Peace sounds like he isn’t thinking about the business of basketball past the end of the Lakers playoffs. But there is a lot to think about. The Lakers also have $78 million in salary on the books for next season and that is before Howard’s new max deal. Look for them to reshape the roster some (I still expect a Gasol trade) but they are still going to be flirting with $100 million in salary, which under the new rules would bring more than $80 million in taxes. The Lakers will look to trim that a little.

World Peace is likely that way.

He’s going to find a new deal, likely something around three years at the mid-level. He can certainly still play — 12.8 points a game, shoots 34.7 percent from three (but just 40.5 percent overall) and 5.1 rebounds a game, plus he can defend.

One way or another, look for Metta World Peace to be on the move this summer, maybe coming to a town near you.

  1. asimonetti88 - Mar 26, 2013 at 10:48 AM

    I’ll miss him if he moves on, which looks likely as you said. He’s certainly one of the more entertaining characters, both on and off the court. He’ll forever be a part of the Laker lore thanks to his three pointer against the Celtics in 2010.

  2. money2long - Mar 26, 2013 at 11:00 AM

    time to groom earl clark as the starting sf? starting in training camp i guess. sad to see metta go if he does.

    • loungefly74 - Mar 26, 2013 at 11:13 AM

      yeah…i love crazy ron ron. he helped with the 2010 title a great deal. always will be in debt for that.

      i like big Earl. he is someone who has great potential.

      (wishing NBA was like the NFL and restructuring of contracts were possible…)

  3. money2long - Mar 26, 2013 at 11:01 AM

    metta on the heat? just take a minute and imagine

    • Kevin S. - Mar 26, 2013 at 11:27 AM

      Where would his minutes come? At best, he’d be the fifth player in their 3-4-5 rotation behind Bron, Bosh, Battier and Birdman.

      • money2long - Mar 26, 2013 at 11:43 AM

        metta is better than battier!!!!!!!!!

      • Kevin S. - Mar 26, 2013 at 12:43 PM

        Not for the role Battier plays on the Heat.

      • asimonetti88 - Mar 26, 2013 at 1:52 PM

        Why would MWP figure into minutes at the 5?

      • Kevin S. - Mar 26, 2013 at 3:22 PM

        He wouldn’t. But Bosh would, and it would have been misleading to simply put MWP as fourth on the forward depth chart.

      • asimonetti88 - Mar 26, 2013 at 4:40 PM

        Still don’t understand it. He’d be in rotation with LeBron, Wade, and Battier on the wing. I think Metta would play more than Battier. He might get spot minutes at the 4 but doubtful. The Heat probably want a big man more though.

      • Kevin S. - Mar 26, 2013 at 4:49 PM

        Battier, LeBron, and MWP aren’t going to be playing the two. Ray Allen is the backup there.

  4. dalucks - Mar 26, 2013 at 11:22 AM

    The media is about as dumb as Mitch Kupchak.
    Metta World Peace has been more consistant than Pau Gasol and Steve Nash.
    The Lakers are 30 million dollars over the salary cap so if they want to save 7 million dollars then they should get rid of Steve Blake and Chris Duhon.

    • bougin89 - Mar 26, 2013 at 3:24 PM

      They can only amnesty one player and Chris Duhon is not eligible because he was acquired post lockout. They may be able to move Duhon and/or Blake but not without taking back money and the Lakers are all about cap flexibility for the 2014/15 season and next year Duhon and Blake are expiring deals.

      Gasol is the valuable trade piece it looks like they are willing to move to acquire depth/youth but Metta will almost certainly be amnestied. Who knows though if the Lakers think they are close to contending they may just pony up and pay Metta and the hefty tax his contract will contribute toward.

  5. mydoghasfleez - Mar 26, 2013 at 11:32 AM

    Trade Artest to Phila for Bynum.

    • zerole00 - Mar 26, 2013 at 12:14 PM

      I know you’re joking, but if D’Antoni can’t figure out what to do with two big men (Howard and Gasol), what’s he going to do with a third?

      • asimonetti88 - Mar 26, 2013 at 1:53 PM

        He wouldn’t have to worry about it. Bynum would probably be out for the season anyway.

      • 00maltliquor - Mar 26, 2013 at 2:25 PM

        Zing!^

  6. aboogy123456 - Mar 26, 2013 at 11:45 AM

    I would be sad if Metta left. He’s one of the only guys on the team that you can count on to play with intensity every night. He’s great in the playoffs too because he’s never scared of the moment.

    • mogogo1 - Mar 26, 2013 at 4:18 PM

      Excellent comment. Too bad the guy isn’t any younger than he is. What they desperately need is a young version of him who can run the floor all game long, provide the versatility and intensity.

  7. adelphos33 - Mar 26, 2013 at 11:52 AM

    Come to Brooklyn. You’d be only a G Train away from Queensbridge. You could help Crash defend the likes of Lebron and Paul Pierce for the next few years.

  8. dirtydavis - Mar 26, 2013 at 12:37 PM

    World Peace would be perfect with…

    Celtics
    Knicks
    Heat

    • Kevin S. - Mar 26, 2013 at 12:48 PM

      As a Nets fan, the thought of him going to the Knicks terrifies me. I think he’d fit well on the Nets too, but it looks like Brooklyn’s going to use their taxpayer MLE to either keep Blatche or bring over Bojan Bogdanović.

    • 00maltliquor - Mar 26, 2013 at 1:08 PM

      Please don’t put him on the Celtics list.

      That’s almost as bad as having to watch Shaq play his final years as a C. >:-(

  9. 00maltliquor - Mar 26, 2013 at 1:03 PM

    NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!! MWP is my favorite Laker (well, him and Kobe). If Artest leaves I will be DEVASTATED! If anything happens to MWP, Jordan Hill, or Kobe Bryant I will be PISSED!!!

    People underestimate his value. He is earning every penny that he makes this year. Ron-Ron don’t go!!!!!

    • Kevin S. - Mar 26, 2013 at 1:18 PM

      Keeping Artest will cost the Lakers something like $30 million between salary and LT payments. He’s gone.

      • 00maltliquor - Mar 26, 2013 at 2:06 PM

        Keeping Metta, salary + LT would be in the niegborhood of “only” 15.5 mill.

        Keeping Kobe would be around $60 mill (he pays for himself) and Pau around $40 mill. And so on and so forth. What’s your point? Your owner spends like my owner. Luxuary tax, smuxuary tax bruh.

      • Kevin S. - Mar 26, 2013 at 3:47 PM

        Next year the progressive tax kicks in. If the Lakers re-signed Dwight Howard to a max contract, declined Jodie Meeks’ option, bought out Chris Duhon, and filled out the roster with players making the rookie minimum they’d have a payroll of over $99 million. The most optimistic projections have the luxury tax level being at $73 million next year. With the repeater tax rates, the Lakers would pay $95.5 million in luxury tax. The Busses will have to pay estate taxes on the value of the Lakers and whatever else Dr. Buss left to them next year. By amnestying MWP, the Lakers save $36 million. Given their bills, he’s just not worth keeping around at that price.

  10. Mr. Wright 212 - Mar 26, 2013 at 1:45 PM

    If they don’t amnesty him, I’d be surprised.

    Trade Gasol to MIN for Williams, Shved and a pick and get his whiny, soft carcass out of town.

  11. Mr. Wright 212 - Mar 26, 2013 at 1:46 PM

    Ron would take a hometown discount and play for vet minimum back home here, but I don’t see anyone paying even mini MLE to pick him up. He’s lost two steps, and defensively, that’s about all he’s got going for himself at this point. Can hit an occasional 3, but we have seen in these four seasons in LA that he just isn’t consistent enough offensively to warrant that kind of payday.

    • 00maltliquor - Mar 26, 2013 at 2:11 PM

      He is still a defensive savant my man. Top 5 best wing defenders in the league. SHOULD be in the convo of DPOY. This guy gets his hands on everything! Plus his offense is pretty consistant this year. mini-MLE is a value contract for this guy. Defense is 1/2 the game. If you can get paid 10+ mill for being an offensive jaugernaunt, why not mini MLE for a supreme defender??

      • Mr. Wright 212 - Mar 26, 2013 at 6:37 PM

        Because I routinely saw Klay and Harry go past him with relative ease last night, and the same with Ariza and whoever the other stiff was that they ran out there in place of Beal the other night.

        As well as most of the season.

  12. spthegr8 - Mar 26, 2013 at 2:12 PM

    Def miss miss his enery ( all be it a little miss guided @ times ) But I agree it’s time too give Earl that starting Sf spot!! The $ aspect of doesn’t make sense too keep him. Best of luck too him tho. His shot selection SUCKS @ times but he is gonna defend and give you 110% every night. That’s hard too find these days!!

  13. Nostrils10 - Mar 26, 2013 at 2:23 PM

    Love MWP, love the guy… but I miss Trevor Ariza.

  14. Nostrils10 - Mar 26, 2013 at 2:28 PM

    & Ron still puts the ball in the basket too… obviously he is declining but DUHHHH…..and he was leading the team with Kobe out, wish he still had that mindstate with Kobe.. and NO it’s not Kobe’s fault… shoot the ball if you’re open, don’t force it like he will on occasion, but sometimes he just needs to shoot it the first time, stop second guessing.. but ya get that man back next year Idgaf if he comes on the bench or what he is solid

  15. klownboy - Mar 26, 2013 at 2:42 PM

    Ahhh, pity the Lakers. As much of a train-wreck as they are, I would love to see the Lakers as the 8-seed going against the Spurs. That could be a 6-7 game series. Either way, it would be must-see TV.
    http://wp.me/1gCK6

    • scalfor3 - Mar 26, 2013 at 10:33 PM

      Spurs would take that in 5, easy

  16. zacksdad - Mar 26, 2013 at 3:05 PM

    Hate to say it, but I take Kurt’s word on this with a very small grain of salt. Most of his articles are just re-blogged articles with others do the investigating and writing. For example here he states “the Lakers defense takes a step back” when he is not there. He also stated he was gone most of the second half. Well the Warriors scored 63 points in the first half and only 46 in the second half. So the first half they played better defense?

    But I still want MWP on the team. I think he will be on the team next year. He likes Kobe and the Lakers. While it would be nice to get an extension, he will not give up that 7+ million to go to another team.

    • bougin89 - Mar 27, 2013 at 11:02 AM

      I agree, he would be foolish to opt out of his contract because he would lose money. The Lakers probably opt out of him though by amnestying him. He’ll get his 7+ million to play for another team.

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