What Metta World Peace's Amnestying Means to the Lakers

Here's a quick recap in case you missed it.

  • The Lakers have exercised their amnesty clause on Metta World Peace
  • The Lakers have agreed to sign Chris Kaman to their team.

Now, to keep this blog at the opinionated level that Patrick requires, I'll state that I think these are both pretty silly. I still stand that amnestying Kobe and trying to maybe get a decent FA is the right action. That ship seems to be sailing, so let's look at the implications of these two moves.

Amnestying World Peace saves the Lakers between $12 and $20 million

As always, impossible without Larry Coon's Salary Cap FAQ

The Lakers are in over the luxury tax limit. The way the NBA tries to keep spending among teams even is to penalize teams that go over the Luxury Tax limit (around $70 million) With Peace the Lakers sat at around $7.75 over the limit. Under the current penalties, the Lakers would have had to pay $12 million in fees. Additionally, the Lakers would be at a slighter higher penalty rate ($1.75 for every additional $1 dollar spent) Releasing Metta puts them right below the luxury limit, so they'll only be fined around $1.50 for every additional $1 spent. Additionally, if any team claims World Peace off waivers, the Lakers will recoup that cost in salary. 

There is a little bit of logic to this move by the Lakers. Of course, with both Pau Gasol and Kobe Bryant eating the lion's share of the salary cap, this is not the optimal amnesty.

Amnestying World Peace does not really increase the Lakers Budget

As I mentioned, the Lakers stood well over the luxury limit prior to amnestying Word Peace. This severely hampered what they could spend. In fact, their only options was to use their Taxpayer Midlevel Exception (roughly $3 million), resigns their dregs from last season, or sign players at the minimum. Of course, all of these moves incur penalties. Now, in theory dropping below the luxury limit (which they've done by about $235,000) the Lakers can use the full midlevel exception (around $5 million) but the rules state that after the midlevel exception is used, it has to be less than $4 million plus the luxury limit. So the Lakers have upped their budget by about a million dollars. 

The Lakers don't have a lot in the tank

Last season the Lakers only had 7 players above average: Dwight Howard, Antawn Jamison, Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, Steve Blake, Jordan Hill, and Pau Gasol.

Of course, Howard and Kobe are gone (at least to start the season)

It gets worse though. Dwight and Kobe were the only two players to play in 50 or more games and get over 2000 minutes. Jordan Hill is the one shining spot. At 25 years of age, he could play well. He's been limited in minutes his whole career but played very well across the last two seasons. A bump in minutes could help both him and the Lakers out. What about the other four players (Jamion, Nash, Blake, and Gasol)? Gasol is the "youngest" at 33 years of age. And as I mentioned, Nash, Blake and Gasol all played under 50 games last season. I guess the Lakers need to re-sign Antawn Jamison and hope his anomolous season from last year holds up.

Signing Kaman was just stupid

The details of Kaman's deal are around $3.2 million for a single season. Of course, factoring in penalties brings that to $7.5 million. Chris Kaman has never been good. He's had two above average seasons in his 10 year career. The last was in 2008. He hasn't played over 1400 in the last three seasons. What's more, his performance over the last four seasons has been awful. In the last four years, ever season Kaman has cost his team wins. Combined, he's racked up -4.4 wins over the last four years. There are certainly smarter ways to spend $7.5 million, especially after trying so hard to save money.

NOTE FROM FATRICK: Are you sure that winning was the goal of signing Kaman? Hmmmm.

Where are the Lakers?

The Lakers saved a little money. Adding Kaman just makes them much worse. The Lakers are now stuck with a very old roster, and not a very good one. Their best hope is that Jordan Hill will play well with more minutes and that their old players won't fall apart. Of course, it's possible the Lakers are just trying to tank. I hear next year's draft is supposed to be very good. If that's the case though, why did the Lakers sign Kaman? They could have just as easily signed a few D-League players for the minimum instead. The Lakers amnestying Metta World Peace makes them worse and if they're against spending money, I doubt they'll find a solid replacement.

The Lakers trying to replace Dwight Howard with a bad player (yay! points!) If the goal was to make shortsighted moves to save a little money, and then immediately waste a good chunk of said money to lose, they succeeded. But if I were a Lakers' fan I'd be less than thrilled.