Metta World Peace Smart to Play Retirement Card to Force His Way to Contender

Metta World Peace's days as a Los Angeles Laker are numbered. Depending on how frisky the Lakers' front office is feeling, that number may be as little as two.

On Wednesday, the NBA lifts its moratorium on free-agent signings and trades, meaning the flurry of moves that have happened since July began can finally commence.

Some moves will have to wait one or two days for some contractual snafus to work out and other squads will choose to wait on signing players for cap purposes—usually reserved for when a player's cap hold is less than his first-year salary of his new deal—but you'll be hearing a lot about deals becoming "official" on Wednesday.

One day later, the NBA's seven-day amnesty period begins. From July 11-17, the 13 remaining teams who have not used their amnesty provision provided by the NBA's collective bargaining agreement will have the opportunity to consider cutting players from the limited number of eligible talent.

There are 34 players eligible to be amnestied. World Peace is one of them. And according to the OC Register's Kevin Ding, that's exactly what the Lakers plan on doing:

As pointed out by Ding, this is largely a cost-cutting measure by Los Angeles. The Lakers don't care about spending money over the league's luxury tax—their Time Warner deal pays them roughly eleventy billion dollars a season. The team owns the printing factory and the paper company that prints their money.

It seems, though, that they're understandably unwilling to foot a major tax bill for a non-contending team. Dwight Howard's decision to leave for the Houston Rockets sent the Lakers into decision-making mode, and World Peace is merely the first casualty. The team's payroll would have approached $100 million had Howard signed a five-year, $118 million deal with the team, putting the Lakers up a creek without a paddle come tax time.

Howard spurning Los...

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