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  • BASKETBALL

    Lakers may use amnesty on World Peace

  • LOS ANGELES — Today could have been the first day of the rest of Dwight Howard's career with the Lakers.
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  • LOS ANGELES — Today could have been the first day of the rest of Dwight Howard's career with the Lakers.
    Instead, it might be the final day for Metta World Peace with the Los Angeles Lakers.
    On the same day free agents can officially sign with their new teams, the one-week window slides open for the NBA's "amnesty" provision in which the Lakers can waive one player and benefit financially. World Peace is the only player they are considering.
    There's still a chance the Lakers will keep World Peace and his $7.7-million salary next season despite Kobe Bryant's wishing him a fond farewell on Twitter on Monday. To Bryant's credit, he amended his tweet within a few minutes, ending it with, "Lakers still deciding."
    The Lakers have nine players under contract for $81.6 million next season after agreeing to terms Monday with center Chris Kaman. If they cut World Peace, they still must pay his salary but would save about $15 million in luxury taxes.
    The problem: The Lakers will have no small forwards on their roster if they waive World Peace, though Bryant occasionally plays the position.
    Only three other Lakers are eligible to be cut via amnesty because they have been on the team's roster since July 2011: Bryant (due $30.5 million next season), Pau Gasol ($19.3 million) and Steve Blake ($4 million).
    Bryant won't be dropped despite probably missing the start of the season because of a torn Achilles' tendon. Gasol's roster spot was saved after Howard bolted for Houston. Blake improved dramatically toward the end of last season and would be a relative bargain in a league with an average player salary of $5.3 million.
    If World Peace is cut, teams that are under the salary cap can submit an undisclosed bid to the NBA to acquire him. If the highest bidder offers, say, $3 million, World Peace goes to that team next season and the Lakers pocket that money and pay the remainder of his $7.7-million salary.
    World Peace, 33, initially adapted quickly to Coach Mike D'Antoni's offense, averaging 14 points in December and 13.3 in January, but then dipped in February and sustained torn cartilage in his knee in March.
    He didn't look strong when he returned, averaging only six points on 25 percent shooting in three playoff games for the Lakers. He was unable to play in Game 4 of San Antonio's first-round sweep.
    At the very least, the Lakers should bring back World Peace for entertainment value in a season that could be severely lacking in victories.
    He made a splash his first season with the Lakers, euphorically saying to reporters "Recognize me!" in a postgame news conference after the team beat Boston in the 2010 NBA Finals.
    More recently, he wore a blue Cookie Monster T-shirt for his end-of-season meeting in May with Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak and D'Antoni.
    There are more pernicious issues, of course, that come with keeping World Peace, mainly 11 suspensions since 2003, including a one-game penalty last season for striking Detroit guard Brandon Knight in the jaw.
    Cavaliers
    As the Cavaliers await word from Andrew Bynum, two other teams have joined the chase for the free agent center.
    Bynum, who didn't play a single second for Philadelphia last season because of knee injuries, is considering a two-year offer from the Cavs, a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press on Tuesday.
    Cleveland made the offer, which includes a team option in the second year, during his visit to the Cavs' facility Monday. Bynum did not work out but the team examined him thoroughly. The person with knowledge of the negotiations spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the talks. Yahoo! Sports first reported Cleveland's offer and said it was worth $24 million.
    While mulling Cleveland's deal, Bynum visited the Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday and plans to meet today with the Dallas Mavericks, his agent, David Lee, told the AP on Tuesday night.
    Kings
    The Milwaukee Bucks traded forward Luc Mbah a Moute to the Sacramento Kings in exchange for a 2016 second-round draft pick, a person familiar with the deal said Tuesday.
    The 6-foot-8, 230-pound forward has emerged as a standout defender since he was drafted 37th overall out of UCLA by the Bucks in 2008. He has averaged 6.9 points and 5.3 rebounds in 25.1 minutes per game in his career.
    CBS Sports first reported the trade.
    Mbah a Moute has two years left on a four-year deal worth about $19 million that he signed as a restricted free agent before the lockout-shorted 2011-12 season. That move came when Milwaukee matched the offer sheet from Denver, where new Kings general manager Pete D'Alessandro worked in the front office at the time.
    In Sacramento, he will be expected to fill the void at small forward. The Kings made an attempt to sign Andre Iguodala at that spot before he landed a four-year, $48 million deal with the Golden State Warriors last week.
    Mbah a Moute will compete with incumbent starter John Salmons for playing time. The Kings will likely still explore other opportunities in free agency.
    Also Tuesday, new coach Mike Malone was busy filling out his coaching staff.
    Dee Brown, a 12-year NBA veteran and 1991 slam dunk champion, was hired as assistant coach and director of player development. Micah Nori and Bill Pope also were hired as assistants.
    Nori spent the last four years as an assistant with the Toronto Raptors. Pope, an assistant and scout for the Detroit Pistons the past eight years, will also serve as an advance scout.
    The trio joins lead assistant coach Chris Jent and Brendan Malone on Sacramento's bench.
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