Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni said today the decision to amnesty Metta World Peace was purely financial and he wanted to keep the defensive small forward from Queensbridge.
“Obviously it’s a byproduct of the CBA,’’ D’Antoni told The Post today at the Las Vegas summer league at UNLV. “As a person and player, I couldn’t find anyone better. He’s great. I enjoyed coaching him. I hope he finds something great. He deserves it. It’s not the coaches. It’s management. They have to manage the cap.’’
The Lakers amnestied World Peace to save money. Kobe and D’Antoni aren’t interested in saving the Lakers money. They’re interested in winning games, and World Peace would have helped them do that.Though World Peace is declining, maybe to the point he’s no longer a reliable starter, it’s unlikely the minimum-salaried player the Lakers sign to replace him will play as well next season as World Peace would have.Of course, that doesn’t mean the Buss Family was wrong to amnesty World Peace. His salary, plus the resulting luxury-tax bill, likely would have cost them around $12.3 million. That’s a lot of many to pay a marginal starter on a so-so team.Really, this issue is just a matter of perspective, and the Kobe/D’Antoni have are coming from a very different one than the Buss Family. From the outside, that’s understandable and reasonable.But if the Lakers falter this season, which would undoubtedly lead to internal tension and sniping, there’s a distinct possibility Kobe and/or D’Antoni will cite the amnesty of World Peace to show ownership isn’t committed to winning. In that regard, it’s important for Kobe and D’Antoni to stake out their positions now and get ahead of the argument when it comes to the strife that could be coming.
Gordon Hayward dunks on Giannis Antetokounmpo, Thon Maker (videos)
The Lakers took on the salary of Jose Calderon this year so they could get a couple second-round picks from the Bulls (Chicago got him from New York in the Derrick Rose trade), but even with the previous regime in Los Angeles the aging point guard was never part of the future.
Sources told ESPN that it’s not yet a certainty Calderon will secure his release from the Lakers in the coming days, but the sides are indeed discussing the options as Wednesday’s playoff eligibility deadline nears….
Sources say that Calderon, if he winds up hitting the open market, would instantly become a target for both the Golden State Warriors and the Houston Rockets.
Cleveland may also have interest if their plan to land Deron Williams when he is bought out by Dallas goes awry.
Calderon, 35, was not part of the Lakers’ regular rotation, playing in just 24 games. He can still knock down a shot if he has space and can set his feet, and he still has a high hoops IQ and can see the floor, but his athleticism has faded, and that can leave him exposed. Particularly on defense.
Players are being waived now so they clear in time for teams to sign them by March 1, after that said players are not eligible for playoff rosters.
There are better players to hit the waiver wire in the coming days — D-Will, Andrew Bogut, Matt Barnes — but Calderon is going to land somewhere. He’d be a solid third point guard and veteran presence for a playoff run.
Marquese Chriss blocks Bobby Portis, who gets testy (video)
The time off during the All-Star break did Dwyane Wade some good.
The Bulls guard turned back the clock on Friday night, leading the Bulls with 23 points and topping it off with this dunk that proved to be the dagger, sealing a Chicago win. The Suns were convinced Wade was going to run the shot clock way down before making his move and they lollygagged into position — so he just blew past everyone for the poster slam.