The Los Angeles Lakers could be facing some difficult financial decisions heading into the 2013-2014 season. The team paid $30 million in luxury taxes this year, and that number would jump to $85 million next season if their payroll remains above $100 million. One of the goals of the new collective bargaining agreement is to curb spending, and it may do just that.
With several veterans on their roster earning a hefty salary, the Lakers may decide to use the amnesty clause. According to the LA Times, Pau Gasol could be the player they use it on if LA is able to re-sign Dwight Howard this summer.
Waiving Gasol via the “amnesty” provision in July could potentially save them more than $60 million in luxury taxes. They would still have to pay his $19.3-million salary, though he could be snapped up by a bidding team that would owe the Lakers millions to help with that cost.
The Lakers also could try to trade Gasol, but his hefty salary next season could be difficult to move and they would likely have to take back salaries totaling at least $15 million, which wouldn’t really help a goal to avoid ridiculous luxury taxes.
The Lakers could also use the amnesty provision on Metta World Peace, although it would not save them nearly as much money. Gasol has been at the center of countless trade rumors since last season, but Kobe Bryant once insisted Gasol will be a Laker as long as he is. Unless Bryant is planning to retire or demand a trade, it might not work out that way.
Since Mike D’Antoni became the coach of the Lakers, there have been questions about whether or not Gasol is a fit for his system. Mark Cuban thinks the Lakers should use the amnesty provision on Kobe, and that probably makes more sense now than it ever did after the torn Achilles. But that’s not happening. The ideal scenario is that LA can trade Gasol and not have to take back as much salary as they’re giving up. As we know, the ideal scenario is not always the one that plays out.