To Amnesty or Not to Amnesty: It’s Metta World Peace or Jim Buss
In which MWP becomes MVP. I know, he’s only Metta World Peace, which means anything can happen, including the Auburn Hills riot which started when he charged into the stands after a Piston yahoo who threw a drink at him… and cold-cocked the wrong one.
We all make mistakes, don’t we? Some are just harder to live with, as the Lakers will learn if they go ahead with their plan to Amnesty him. What’s so bad about cutting your most inconsistent starter, who’s 33 and would go at season’s end anyway, saving $15-20 million?
Let me count the ways:
A) The Lakers are already projecting a $75 million profit. Teams always talk about their costs but never, ever revenue. The Lakes’ projected revenue is a mighty $280 million—enough to have made $30 million after paying Dwight Howard $20 million, triggering an extra $30 million in tax… for a total of $175 million in payroll and tax… plus $50 million in revenue sharing (and $25 mill for all other expenses). With no Dwight, the projection is now $75-80 million in profit.
B) As the only small forward on an eight-man roster, Metta is worth more than an extra $20 mill in profit. Anyone who disagrees belongs in the Donald T. Sterling Remedial School of NBA Management. The only other Lakers who can play the three are Jordan Hill, a four, and Kobe Bryant, a two. If Metta is hardly all you want in an outside shooter, he led the Lakes in threes last season, and hit an acceptable 34%.
Going small, he can be Mike D’Antoni’s stretch four. Also he defends.
And, did I mention, the Lakes don’t need the money?
C) Point B, of course, assumed the Lakers are trying to win, which they’d better be.
D) Tanking is a fool’s errand. If they actually finished No. 30, below the woeful Bobcats and the newly deconstructed 76ers, who will be tanking for all they’re worth, the Lakers would have only a 25% chance at the No. 1 pick. Say the Lakers drop all the way to 25-57. Last season that was only worth a tie for fourth worst.
Let’s assume they’d have had sole possession of fourth worst….
That would have given them an 11.9% shot at No. 1.
E) Winning 25 games hardly improves “the brand” when you need it to shine its brightest… targeting LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony in 2014, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love in 2015.
F) Also has a bad effect on “your culture.” You know that thing bad teams are trying to change. Not a good thing for good teams to throw aside, as if it doesn’t mean anything.
G) It shows Jim Buss really is clueless. If I’m the one who nicknamed him “Jethro,” after Jed Clampett’s cousin, I’ve become a one of his few defenders, outside the family. Actually, given his relationship with Jeanie, I was one of the few anywhere, based on stuff Laker people told me that suggested Jimbo had learned to follow Mitch Kupchak’s lead. All that has just been called into question. The Lakers have enough issues now to challenge Jerry Buss and Jerry West in their prime. It’s a bad time for a bad call, as Jimbo is about to make. Of course, it’s his idea. Mitch doesn’t get to make financial calls.
–Try to have the best season you can with a Bryant comeback and a healthier Steve Nash.
–Re-sign Kobe for reasonable dollars.
–Pursue Bron and/or Melo in 2014, and Kyrie and/or Love in 2015.
If Jimbo was cavalier enough to even think of amnestying Metta, he doesn’t see the linkage, or thinks they can lose 50 games and still be seen as the Lakers of old.
If Jimbo can screw with the plan for money he doesn’t need–like Donald Sterling–the scenario isn’t as likely as I thought.
Kobe Bryant’s intervention—via Twitter, initially—may be what has halted the process with Jimbo being asked to re-think it.
That’s what amnestying Metta means. Is there a plan the Lakers are committed to, or is there just Jimbo?
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