Los Angeles Lakers Have Their Amnesty Clause, but Who to Use It On?

“Amnesty that.”

Those were Kobe Bryant’s words, which were posted on Twitter after he had just destroyed the Dallas Mavericks with 38 points and seven assists in a 103-99 Los Angeles Lakers victory.

In the days leading up to the game, Mavs owner Mark Cuban had suggested that the Lakers should use their amnesty clause on Bryant to avoid paying his contract. In February, that was a ridiculous thought—amnesty the Mamba? What a joke.

But then, Bryant got hurt.

With just two games left in the regular season, Bryant tore his Achilles and subsequently missed his team’s brief four-game stint in the playoffs. He had surgery in April to repair the injury and claims that he will be back for the start of the regular season.

Realistically, Bryant won’t be back in time for the 2014 opener. If anything, he’ll most likely be back after the All-Star break. However, let’s put things in perspective.

Dwight Howard, an unrestricted free agent this summer, hasn’t shown any sign that he is going to come back to the Lakers. Odds are the team won’t be competitive next year, especially without D12 and with a hobbled Mamba.

Bryant is 34 years old. A torn Achilles has destroyed the careers of athletes much younger and healthier than he. However, they aren’t Kobe Bean Bryant. It’s a sure bet that Bryant will come back and play basketball again, but he can’t rush back to try to save a team that may be too bad to be salvaged.

According to Chuck Schilken of the Los Angeles Times, using the amnesty clause on Bryant would actually free up a ton of money for the Lakers:

Bryant is one of four players on the roster whom the Lakers would be allowed to cut without paying luxury taxes on his salary. If the Lakers waived Bryant, they would still have to pay his $30.5 salary for next season but would save up ...

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