I think it’s quite clear that the Lakers are forced to do something with the current roster, regardless of what happens in the off-season. The 85 million in the new luxury-tax as well as the 50 million in revenue-sharing and the potential taxation of the “new” owners (i.e. Jerry Buss’ kids) will hit very hard.
Using the amnesty on Kobe would be the easiest way to save money. However, that shouldn’t be an option unless Dwight decides to sign elsewhere. Why? Because the only thing that have changed is that Kobe will miss the first few months of the season, perhaps more, but most likely less – at least according to Dr. Robert Klapper.
The way Pau and Dwight have worked together recently would also suggest that trading Pau or using the amnesty on him is a bad idea, unless we’re getting back another cheaper all-star.
So what’s the play?
IMO there are many options:
1. First of all, there have been rumblings about the cap being raised next season. The salary cap is basically set as a percentage of the total expected revenue and this year’s economic success could raise the cap 5 million – in luxury tax-terms this could be 15 million or more.
2. There is also the amnesty provision and I think Metta is the most likely candidate. Taking his 7.7 million off the books saves about 30 million. His defense and floor-spacing would have to be replaced, but with the mini-midlevel, that shouldn’t be a problem. A guy like
3. Duhon is another option. His salary is only partially guaranteed, which means he can be traded for a future pick so another team can save money OR he can be waived which saves the team about 2,2 million.
4. Looking at the new CBA there are a few other options: In 2013-14 all teams are required to have a payroll of at least 90% of the cap. This is interesting, because it allows the Lakers to perhaps trade a few of their players to teams that need to raise their payroll. This means that there is a good chance that both Blake and Duhon can be moved without taking on bad contracts. For instance, Steve Blake is owed 4 million next season, which means he can be moved for a player worth 2,6 million – thus saving 1,4 million.
Add these things together, move or sign a few guys (vet-minimun and mini-midlevel) and we're looking at a luxury-tax closer to 50 million, than the 85 million. Still a lot, but given the fact that the Lakers are used to pay a lot of tax-money and they wont be paying any at all next season, i think they'd be ok with a bit extra this season.
Then there is the Steve Nash situation. He is currently injured and according to Dr. Klapper, he may be out for a long time. The doctor sounded more worried about Nash, than Kobe. At age 39, there is actually a chance that he never really recovers which gives the Lakers a chance to remove him from the cap, due to career-ending injury. Also, they may use the “stretch provision” following the next season to get as far under the cap as possible.
If he's healthy i think there is a chance he can be moved.
What do you guys think our options are?