Metta World Peace Responds To Amnesty Rumors In Classic Metta Fashion

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Because of the one on one battle the Houston Rockets were engaged in to secure the services of Dwight Howard, most astute Rocket fans are keenly aware of just how bad things are in Los Angeles for the Lakers going forward.

Their best player, Kobe Bryant, is coming off of a debilitating Achilles tear and will probably never be the same. The rest of their roster is old, oft injured, or just plain bad. And in 2014, they'll head into an off season where their sales pitch to LeBron James is going to be "....but....but...we're the Lakers..."

Bad times, man.

And then there's the luxury tax, which eventually brings us to Metta World Peace.

According to a story in the Los Angeles Times, with the salary cap and luxury tax thresholds for the upcoming 2013-14 season being released on Wednesday, as currently constructed, the Lakers will find themselves in the hottest corner of luxury tax hell this season.

Per the LA Times story:

While the salary cap has been set at $58.679 million, the significant number for the Lakers is the tax threshold -- which came in slightly over previous league estimates at $71.748 million.

For the first time in NBA history, the tax climbs incrementally with each additional $5 million in payroll.

The Lakers have $80.56 million in guaranteed contracts with eight players. Once the team finishes fleshing out the roster, the payroll should climb to roughly $85.2 million.

With $85.2 million in payroll, the tax would come to $24.8 million for a combined total of $110 million.

According to the article, if the Lakers had resigned Dwight Howard at a salary of over $20 million per season, the Lakers would have been looking at a luxury tax bill alone of around $100 million, which makes it a virtual lock they'd have amnestied Pau Gasol and his $19.3 million salary if that were the case, which would have also meant that Gasol could have been a viable consolation prize had the Rockets lost the D12 Sweepstakes.

Fortunately, the Rockets won the D12 Sweepstakes, and because of that Gasol will probably be a Laker for at least one more season, but the urgency to shed some salary for luxury tax reasons is still there. So to that end, it looks like Metta World Peace may wind up being the sacrificial lamb.

The numbers go like this: An "amnesty" of Metta World Peace would save the Lakers around $22.5 million, but since he would still receive his $7.7-million salary, the net savings for the Lakers is about $14.8 million. Now, unlike Dwight's signing in Houston last week, perhaps because he is now the directly effected party, Metta seems keenly aware of what's going on this time around.

And we have the tweets to prove it!

Starting Wednesday around lunchtime, the former Ron Artest unleashed a Twitter barrage in which he showed off a decent sense of humor for someone whose brain functions with the reliability of an '89 Ford Taurus about the rumors:

It started with a cryptic tweet about "the news," showing that obviously he'd heard something....

And then he "faked us all out" with his version of "the news"....

Hmmm, I wonder who the "lettuce" is in that analogy...Pau? Kobe?

(I'm going to go with Pau, by the way. "Lettuce" seems like it would be code for "Euro." If Metta were bitching about "beef," it would clearly be Kobe, and if he were bitching about onions it would be Nash. Steve Blake would be mushrooms.)

Metta followed up with a couple tweets about "the news," but the news was a couple of charitable acts of his from a few years ago, perhaps reminding the Lakers that it was indeed one swell fella they'd be cutting loose if they chose to part ways with him....

Then more jokes about applying the amnesty clause to things like clothes, food, and household items like toothbrushes. Always high comedy....

Then perhaps Metta's most creative tweet of the bunch....

I'm assuming that Metta's last tweet was him paying homage to the Lakers telling him to figuratively "take a hike," although with him there's a very real chance he is looking for someone to literally trudge through the desert or the mountains with him.

Listen to Sean Pendergast on 1560 Yahoo! Sports Radio from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays and nationally on the Yahoo! Sports Radio network Saturdays from 10 a.m. to noon CST. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.

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