Why Metta World Peace’s Amnesty Hurts Lakers Nation More Than D12’s Exit Does

July 10th, 2013 will go down as a tough day in the history of the Los Angeles Lakers.

Because, according to Kevin Ding of the Orange County Register, that's when the Lakers will bid farewell to Metta World Peace:

OK, so maybe Metta won't be the most noteworthy departure from Lakerland this week. That title belongs firmly to Dwight Howard, who's set to spurn the Lakers' overtures for a new start with the Houston Astros...errr, I mean, the Houston Rockets. With Howard will go L.A.'s hopes (however slim) for immediate title contention and, perhaps, for a smooth transition into the post-Kobe Bryant era, at least from a talent standpoint.

In that sense, losing Howard hurts far more than watching Metta's $7.7 million salary (and the $13.8 million saved therein, per Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times) slide off the Lakers' cap figures. Simply put, the Purple and Gold were going to stink next season in Howard's absence, whether the team kept MWP around or not. 

But, as far as sentiment is concerned, there's no question which severing of ties will hurt more, as Ramona Shelburne of ESPN Los Angeles noted:

For Lakers fans, watching World Peace play for the New York Knicks (via Jared Zwerling of ESPN New York) or retire (per Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv) will tug at more heartstrings in L.A. than will any sight of Dwight throwing down in a red Rockets uniform.

And not just because MWP's four years as a Laker dwarfed Dwight's one. What matters more is what World Peace accomplished in his time with the Lakers compared to Howard's single-calendar contributions to the NBA's marquee franchise.

Statistically speaking, there's no question as to which player had the splashier impact. In his one year as a Laker, Howard averaged nearly twice as many points (17.1 to 9.9) and more than three times as many rebounds per game (12.4 to 4.0) as did Metta in his four years in L.A....

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