(USA Today/Jennifer Stewart)
By Kevin R. Linares
Los Angeles Laker forward Metta World Peace had a decision to make on whether he would opt out of his final year with the Lakers or pick up his final year for $7.7 million. World Peace tweeted out late Monday night “I had a great time here in LA!! Love you guys.. Your are truly amazing. I have some news!!!” Although the tweet sounds like his news would be that he would be leaving Los Angeles that was not the case.
World Peace has chosen to stay for the 2013-2014 season with the Lakers and the news he was talking about on his twitter account was that he would be shooting a reality television show with former NFL player Terrell Owens. With World Peace planning to stay put there is still a chance he might not be wearing a Laker jersey next season. World Peace is one of four Lakers who can still be hit by the one time amnesty provision the Lakers still have yet to use. World Peace, Steve Blake, Pau Gasol and Kobe Bryant are the four who can be looked at as possible candidates.
The 33-year old forward averaged 12.4 points last season and although a candidate for the amnesty clause it would not be very wise for the Lakers to do so. World Peace actually improved his play this past season and the Lakers will not find much in free agency that can replace World Peace especially with their luxury tax problems. The Lakers will still have to pay World Peace if amnestied and would rather pay him to play for them rather than against them.
(@KobeBryant on Instagram)
By Kevin R. Linares.
Kobe Bryant is expected to be sidelined for 6 to 9 months to recover from surgery which was been successful and completed around 4 p.m. on Saturday by Dr. ElAttrache and Dr. Lombardo according to the Lakers. The Lakers are still in a tight race for the last playoff spot in the West. Without their leader in Bryant the team will have to step up and there will be many questions about the future of Los Angeles and being without arguably the greatest Laker of all time.
This season has been full of disappointment for fans and many have been looking for someone to blame. After Kobe Bryant went down and it was reported that the injury could be a torn Achilles many were angry and looking for someone to blame for that too. Many took to twitter and blamed coach Mike D’Antoni saying he should have not let Bryant back in the game. A few “#firemiked’antoni” tweets were at it again. The truth is the season has been full of bad luck. Kobe Bryant did not continue playing in the game just because D’Antoni told him to play, he continued because his team needed to get the win and he helped them get it. No one saw the injury coming it is something that could have happened to any player on the court.
Would the Lakers consider using their amnesty clause on Kobe? “That’s not even something that we’ve discussed” was the answer Mitch Kupchak gave reporters when asked if they would look at the option. It is an option, a disrespectful one for all that Kobe has given the franchise. The Lakers would take a huge PR hit with fans not believing they would really amnesty the Black Mamba.
The one and only way I see an amnesty is if Kobe were to ask for it himself, with him knowing he would not be able to play next season and possibly making a comeback later than the 6 to 9 months it is said he would be expected to miss. Kobe is set to make 30.5 million next season and would save the Lakers a lot of money going into the luxury tax. When Kobe does comeback, if amnestied, even with him being age 35 there will still be a lot of interest in him by other teams. If there is anything Kobe does better than playing basketball it might be filling up arenas and selling tickets. Whether it is a hater or a fan there will be many willing to pay to be one of the last to see one of the greatest to ever play and many teams will recognize it. With that being said although there is much Mitch has said they have not looked at in the past but indeed they have, it is not something I see happening and believe when Mitch Kupchak says that it is not something the team is looking at.
Fans lost hope that the Lakers could make the playoffs when hearing of Kobe’s injury. The Lakers can still look to keep their playoff spot and make some noise in the playoffs, but making noise in the playoffs is not enough for the Lakers, it’s championship or bust. With Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol and Steve Nash, who should be returning to the line up soon, the Lakers still have enough to make some kind of run. There is no replacing Kobe, but the time has come for Dwight Howard to show he can be the leader of this team for years to come. Unfortunately the end is near for the Black Mamba and it will take a lot getting use to. For now we can just wait to see how he responds to the injury and hope to see one of the greatest end his career the right way.