Breaking Down Why, How and on Whom LA Lakers Should Use Their Amnesty Clause

A 91-79 loss to the San Antonio Spurs to open up the 2013 NBA playoffs all but confirmed what we already suspected about the Los Angeles Lakers: that they're not long for the postseason and, as such, that a lengthy summer of shakeups likely awaits them. As with any offseason changes, those the Lakers eventually pursue (or don't) will be dictated by the goals of the franchise (realistic and otherwise) and the available means by which those goals can be achieved.

Should the Lakers "go for it" with a roster that, chaotic caveats aside, fell far short of the championship expectations it originally set out to fulfill? What moves, if any, can the team make to retool in time for another run in 2013-14? Would the Purple and Gold be better served scrapping their failed pursuit of the Larry O'Brien Trophy and refocusing their efforts on a long-term rebuild? And what role will the team's finances play in all of this?

The answer to that last question may well be "a big one." Thanks to the new collective bargaining agreement, the Lakers' luxury tax bill figures to balloon from $30 million this season to upwards of $85 million in 2013-14 if their payroll remains around $100 million with Dwight Howard back on the take (per Mike Bresnahan of The Los Angeles Times).

The Lakers are capable of absorbing such a blow to their pocketbook—for a time, anyway. Though their new TV deal with Time Warner Cable is incredibly lucrative (it's worth approximately $3 billion over 20 years), the Lakers will see a significant chunk of the profits derived therein diverted from their coffers on account of league-mandated revenue sharing. And because the Buss family, unlike most other ownership groups in the NBA, doesn't have a secondary business enterprise from which it draws its financial might, the Lakers cannot afford insolvency for any extended period of time, lest Jeanie, Jim and their stake-holding relatives be forced to auction off their only true mone...

About the Author