Bypassing a buyout? Kings terminate Richards’ contract for ‘material breach’

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Los Angeles Kings GM Dean Lombardi isn’t shy about making some big gambles, but the franchise still raised some eyebrows regarding Mike Richards’ contract.

Instead of announcing a buyout as expected, the team terminated his contract, as this statement reveals:

“The Los Angeles Kings today have exercised the team’s right to terminate the contract of Mike Richards for a material breach of the requirements of his Standard Player’s Contract. We are not prepared to provide any more detail or to discuss the underlying grounds for the contract termination at this time.”

Obviously, they’re not sharing any additional information, yet it implies that they’re attempting to circumvent the hefty buyout fee involved with getting rid of Richards.

We’ll see if additional details emerge, yet it’s especially interesting considering the loyalty-leaning comments from Lombardi regarding why he kept Richards in the first place.

And here we were, thinking that the most interesting part of this situation would involve Richards as a free agent …

For more on the fallout and salary cap implications, click here.