Lakers waive forward Metta World Peace

LOS ANGELES — The Lakers waived Metta World Peace via the NBA’s so-called amnesty provision Thursday, a cost-cutting move that could save them about $15 million in luxury taxes.

When Dwight Howard bolted for Houston last week as a free agent, it ensured a roster spot for Pau Gasol but immediately put World Peace, 33, in jeopardy.

With World Peace gone, the Lakers have nine players under contract for about $75 million. After paying almost $30 million in luxury taxes last season, the most in the NBA, they are now about $3 million over the tax threshold for next season.

“It’s tough to say goodbye to a player such as Metta, who has been a significant part of our team the past four seasons. For anyone who’s had the opportunity to get to know him, it’s impossible not to love him,” said Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak in a statement.

“He has made many contributions to this organization, both in his community work as well as in our games; perhaps no more so than in his clutch play in Game 7 of the 2010 NBA Finals in helping to lead us over the Celtics in one of the greatest playoff wins in Lakers history. 

“We thank Metta for all his contributions and wish him the best of luck in the future.”

Earlier Thursday, the Lakers signed Nick Young to a one-year deal worth $1.2 million. An occasional starter with Philadelphia last season, Young is penciled in to start for the Lakers at small forward after averaging 10.6 points with the 76ers last season.

Teams that are under the salary cap will be able to submit an undisclosed bid to the NBA to acquire World Peace. If the highest bidder offers $3 million, he goes to that team next season and the Lakers use that money to offset the $7.7 million they still owe him.

A 14-year NBA veteran, World Peace averaged 12.4 points and 5.0 rebounds in 75 games last season. Prior to joining the Lakers in 2009, he played with the Rockets, Kings, Pacers and Bulls.