They lose Kobe's Bird rights if they amnesty him.
This is a key point that I tried to drive home above.
And it's all about the tax. They can do a good deal of saving by letting Pau go.
All of that is correct about Kobe not having to sit out, etc. Any team that bid on him and won would have his Bird Rights, as well, complicating any return to the Lakers if they are limited in their possible offers.
Their savings may be much higher than $45m as well, since the tax is progressive. Once they sign other players, if Kobe's entire contract is the only thing putting them over the tax line (strong possibility if Pau and Metta stay along with Dwight), then it's more like $85m. More if there is more doing so, less if they are under without his contract, which they are right now with a slim roster.
Plus his salary, minus insurance, which is more like $6m, making the cost of carrying him $91m.
The cost of carrying Pau is his approximately $19m plus about $60m in tax, depending on other moves, bringing the total cost of carrying him, or an equivalent bundle of salary, to about $80.
So are Kobe's Bird Rights worth $10m?
ETA: Remember, tax savings are calculated from the `top down', so amnestying Pau saves money at the top tax rates first, which is why Pau's savings is large. The insurance makes it close to the same to carry either one.
This post was edited on 5/5 at 1:01 pm