Lakers Rumors: Latest Offseason Buzz in LA After Dwight Howard Decision

The Los Angeles Lakers were only able to keep Dwight Howard around for one season, as the superstar center bolted to the Houston Rockets in free agency. Now, L.A. has to retool the roster in a cost-effective way to have even a slim chance of competing for an NBA title next season.

Rumors are swirling as to how the Lakers plan on absorbing the loss of the 27-year-old superstar center, which is coming without any sort of compensation.

In light of the latest chatter, it appears that GM Mitch Kupchak isn't going to make substantial changes to the team in order to maintain as much of last year's core as possible.

Some free agents remain feasible to sign, but L.A. is already having luxury-tax issues, and thus Kupchak needed to make some sort of move to enhance flexibility on the open market. Below is a closer analysis of the developing situation as the Lakers look to move on from Howard's disappointing decision.


Pau Gasol to Return

There was the possibility of Gasol being amnestied if Howard decided to come back, but the longtime Lakers big man is safe now that the saga has blown over, according to ESPN Los Angeles' Ramona Shelburne. 

Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times asserts that Gasol will remain, too.

Gasol is due to make $19.3 million in 2013-14, and by amnestying his deal, the Lakers would have taken that salary off the books.

Metta World Peace was slated to pocket roughly $7.7 million this coming season but will reportedly be amnestied, per Kevin Ding of the Orange County Register:

Both players were due to be unrestricted free agents following the season, but Metta World Peace will be reevaluating his future immediately.

The good news is that there is a mutual showing of loyalty between Gasol and the Lakers organization. Aging superstars Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash are coming off injury-plagued ...

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