All of this amnesty talk by so many covering the Los Angeles Lakers and it is going to amount to wasted breath, keystrokes and ink (for those that still do that newspaper thingy).
The Lakers will absolutely, not, repeat NOT, waive Kobe Bryant under the amnesty clause or any other cockamamie clause you might hear about from now till the start of next season.
Forget that waiving possibly the greatest player in Lakers’ franchise history would be a PR nightmare – it just doesn’t make any sense.
The reason why it’s absolutely absurd to even think that the Lakers would even consider waiving Bryant is because they won’t know enough about Bryant’s recovery from injury by the time that the Lakers will have to decide to use the Amnesty provision.
The new collective bargaining agreement allows NBA teams a one shot deal of waiving a player and erasing them from their books within a very small seven day window in July; this year that date falls on July 10th through the 17th, after that the Lakers’ opportunity to use the amnesty provision is gone.
Bryant will be just three months into his recovery process from his torn Achilles tendon and still well within the projected six to nine month recovery time. If history is any indicator, Bryant will best that recovery time and likely be ready for the start of training camp in September.
Yes, his timetable for return is speculation, but what I can say with complete certainty is we will not know if Kobe CANNOT play this coming season by July 17th. Since Bryant not being able to play the entire upcoming season is the only logical reason why the Lakers would every consider waiving him, the Lakers will not be amnestying him. End of story.
Now Gasol is another story, but still highly unlikely.
There are a few scenarios that ALL have to occur where the Lakers would consider waiving him by July 17th.
First, that Dwight Howard re-signs with the Lakers on July 10th, the first date that free agents are able to sign a new contract.
Second, let’s say that the Lakers were actively shopping Gasol up until the July 17th amnesty deadline and were getting nothing of value in return from other teams.
Third, the Lakers management has determined that Gasol is done as a player and the cost savings benefits now outweigh his worth to the team. Then, and only then, the Lakers could decide to amnesty Gasol.
Highly unlikely considering Gasol does have trade value and still has an impact in games. Despite him being stuck in a system that didn’t suit his particular skill set and being relegated to a bench player for a stretch of the season, Gasol still had a very good season and was instrumental in the Lakers resurgence in the second half of the season.
However, the player that is most likely to get the amnesty ax is Metta World Peace – should he decide to opt in to the final year of his contract. World Peace is a shell of his former all-defensive self back when he was known as Ron Artest and no longer helps the Lakers.
The Lakers desperately need to get younger and more athletic which makes World Peace’s departure next season a certainty. While amnestying World Peace doesn’t provide the Lakers with the savings of a Bryant or Gasol, it is some relief to what will be an exorbitant tax bill.
Another thing to consider is that only Steve Nash and presumably Dwight Howard – if he is resigns – are on the books for the Lakers after this coming season. The Lakers will only have to sign that big check for the luxury tax bill for one more year, then that’s it. Buss and family can finally get that feeling we all get when finally paying off our car loan.
While it’s easy for me to say that the Lakers will only have to pay that tax bill for ‘only for one season’, as it is not my money; the Lakers have shown over the years that it’s about winning first and foremost, not money. It is that same free spending attitude that got the Lakers in this position of paying the luxury tax penalties in the first place.
That said, the Lakers are not going to make decisions that are not in the best interest of winning over saving a few bucks. That is why you will not see Gasol, or especially Bryant, amnestied this coming season.
You can reach me regarding this article or for any other reason at my twitter handle, @fullcourtfern. Let’s chat.