Metta World Peace has until Tuesday, June 25 to decide whether he will exercise $7.7 million player option with the Los Angeles Lakers. The alternatives if he were to opt out would have been hopes of longer deal with the organization, finding a new team through free agency or re-signing with the Lakers to get around the CBA rules. However, according to USA Today, World Peace has made up his mind and he will stay with the Lakers for a final season.
Declining his option and hitting the open market would be the optima situation for World Peace because the Lakers need to move closer to the luxury tax to avoid adding more penalties. The addition of World Peace puts more stress on the Lakers financially.
Now, the Lakers may have to use their amnesty clause on World Peace. In the exit interviews, Kobe Bryant only mentioned that he will fight for the core group of the Lakers — Steve Nash, Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol and himself — to stay together. For World Peace, this means Gasol could be in and he could be out since only Gasol and World Peace are eligible and financially sensible to amnesty to anyone other than Mark Cuban.
The Lakers probably won’t be inking any new contracts anytime soon outside of bench players. The only player on the roster after the 2013-2014 season will be Nash. Gasol and Bryant’s contracts will be up. The Lakers seem to have strategically avoided setting up a team past 2014 because the 2014 free agency period will be historical. With Bryant and perhaps Howard out of the picture (if this is the case), the Lakers will want to have as much money available to them as possible.