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NBA lockout: Who should Lakers waive via amnesty clause?

Mitch KupchakAll the hand-wringing during the NBA lockout negotiations makes it unclear what exactly a new collective bargaining agreement will entail.

But there's one thing that's likely to come to fruition: All teams will have an amnesty clause allowing them to shed a bad contract without any financial consequences.

Forget about wondering what this could mean for Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol or Andrew Bynum. Even if Bryant is nearing the tail-end of his career, Gasol played poorly in the 2011 NBA playoffs and Bynum may remain injury-prone, sizing up those scenarios are just absurd. Bryant remains the team's franchise player, and shedding ties would only start an L.A. riot. Gasol's postseason showing will prove to be nothing more than an aberration. And for Bynum, the Lakers' front office loves him so much there's nothing outside of an offer for Dwight Howard that would prompt the Lakers to part ways.

There are a few others, however, who should be worried about their future should this likely scenario happen. 

Luke Walton: He offers very little scoring punch. He doesn't provide much speed. His back can flare up at any time. And his triangle offense expertise suddenly becomes a moot point since Phil Jackson no longer coaches the Lakers. About 200% of Laker fans have counted down the days for Walton's two-year, $11.46-million contract to expire, and all of them would have no problem seeing the Lakers quicken that deadline with the amnesty clause. 

Steve Blake. The Lakers initially thought they upgraded at point guard in the 2010 off-season by securing Derek Fisher and acquiring a reliable backup in Blake that could reduce Fisher's minutes. That proved to be nothing more than wishful thinking, as Blake showed tentativeness. He may bounce back, but the Lakers' shedding a three-year, $12-million deal would serve as one of many moves that would help them secure Chris Paul or Deron Williams next year.

Metta World Peace: Public opinion can quickly shift should the Lakers player formerly known as Ron Artest show some more consistency in the 2011-2012 season. Instead of looking back in fondness at his role in securing the Lakers' 2010 NBA title, many Laker fans remain disturbed with his declining abilities and his goofy off-court antics. It'd be nice for the Lakers to shed a three-year, $21.5-million contract, but this is not worth it even if Artest plays at his worst. Despite his declining abilities, he remains the team's best defensive player. The Lakers need to give Peace another chance. 

RELATED:

Fans blame owners for NBA lockout but side with their positions

Luke Walton reportedly contemplating retirement

Story lines Lakers miss in mid-November

--Mark Medina

 E-mail the Lakers blog at [email protected]

Photo: Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak in April 2008. Credit: Richard Hartog / Los Angeles Times

 
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