After news came out last Friday afternoon that free agent center Dwight Howard would not be returning to the Los Angeles Lakers, the franchise has decided to not use its amnesty clause on forward Pau Gasol, according to Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLA.com.
There was wide speculation that the Lakers were considering to use their amnesty clause on Gasol this offseason in order to deal with their issues with luxury taxes, but all of that talk has seemed to dissipate after Howard’s decision to leave LA that has left the team with a gaping hole in their frontcourt.
Gasol will be going into the final year of his three-year extension he signed during the 2009-10 season, where he will be making $19.3 million. The 7-foot Spaniard is expected this upcoming season to slide over to the center position to try to fill the void that Howard left.
The 11-year veteran is no stranger to playing center as he began his Lakers’ career in that position when he was acquired midway through the 2007-08 season and in the 2009 NBA Finals when he and the team defeated Howard and the Orlando Magic.
With the departure of Howard, Gasol will likely play a key role in Lakers’ head coach Mike D’Antoni’s offense and should be more comfortable establishing himself in the low post. During last season, the two all-star big men had difficulty playing together as both players are most effective in the low post area.
There are currently rumors that the Lakers are considering using their amnesty clause on forward Metta World Peace. The Lakers are one of 15 NBA teams that has yet to use its amnesty clause that expires after the 2015-16 season. If the team were to choose to use it this offseason it can do so between July 11-17.
Photo Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn/USA TODAY Sports
Bob Garcia IV
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