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There go the Lakers, World Peace -- and the NBA

Lakers of last year

So the NBA has labor peace.

But for the Lakers, that probably means they'll have to do without World Peace.

And for the league as a whole, instead of salvation, it may mean the end times.

As The Times' Mike Bresnahan wrote Sunday, the deal that apparently ends the NBA lockout also will probably spell the end of the free-spending ways of teams such as the Lakers.

The Lakers, often the league leaders in blowing past the luxury-tax threshold, were one of the teams targeted by small-market owners and NBA officials in the proposed collective bargaining agreement.

If players and owners ratify the new deal with a majority vote this week, the Lakers face an incredibly steep tax designed to instill more league parity and less spending by deep-pocketed teams.

Which brings us to World Peace -- more specifically, Metta World Peace (the former Ron Artest) -– and what the Lakers will have to do financially in this new, um, world.

They'll get some tax relief by waiving World Peace or Luke Walton via the one-time "amnesty provision" that teams can employ, cutting one player and not having his salary count against their cap and any taxes.

World Peace (three years remaining, $21.5 million) is more likely to be waived than Walton (two years, $11.5 million) because of his larger contract and the tax implications down the road.

OK, I understand. But I'm sure going to miss hearing a play-by-play guy shout "World Peace for 3!" or "World Peace wins it!" Not to mention the wonderful irony in reading such sentences as "they'll get some tax relief by waiving World Peace."

Really, though, the league's bigger problem is a labor agreement that attempts to put small-market teams on par with the Lakers, the Knicks, the Heat and the Celtics.

Sure, fans say they want parity.  They say they want everyone to have an equal chance to win a title.

Baloney.

Fans wants the Celtics vs. the Lakers.  They want the Knicks vs. the Lakers.  They want dynasties.  They want big stars against big stars, with big stars watching from expensive courtside seats. (Think Jack Nicholson and Spike Lee -- and they don't live in Indianapolis and Cleveland.)

Need persuading? OK, which did you want to see more:  Magic's Lakers vs. Bird's Celtics, or the Spurs vs. the Cavaliers? (Bonus points if you can remember the year of that series.)

The new NBA deal may mean parity.  It may mean financial stability.

But it may also mean Charlotte vs. Utah in the finals. 

Wake me when that one's over.

RELATED:

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Teams to play on three straight nights under NBA schedule

Lakers bring new coaching staff, many questions into NBA season

--Paul Whitefield

Photo: The Lakers' payroll for players, which includes Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, Metta World Peace and Lamar Odom, will cost the team more than $100 million. Credit: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times

 

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