Kurt Helin

Lakers’ long-term plan is to transition Metta World Peace to coach

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Metta World Peace made the Lakers’ roster because talented second-year man (basically a rookie after his injury) Julius Randle bonded with him as a mentor. I could see that. Don’t love it, but can see it. World Peace is a former All-Star and Defensive Player of the Year who has tips he can pass along to young players, and he may get through to them in a way old coaches do not.

Basically, world Peace is a player/assistant coach. Down the line, the Lakers might look to remove the first part of that tag, reports Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports.

World Peace’s return to the Lakers includes a long-term plan to transition into an assistant coach for the franchise, league sources told Yahoo. He has been a mentor for several young Lakers players, including 2014 No. 7 overall pick Julius Randle.

If you’re going to do it eventually, why not do it now and use that roster spot on a young player who could develop into a rotation guy in three years?

If your argument is that players listen more to other players, I would argue that World Peace’s relationship with Randle and the other young Lakers’ players is already established after a summer of working out at their facility. They are not going to suddenly view him suspiciously if he’s got a new title — he’d still be Randle’s mentor. If your argument is the Lakers kept MWP over Jabari Brown because they didn’t think Brown will pan out, then cut him and get one of the many guys waived today around the league with potential.

The Lakers need to prove they can develop guys, and World Peace could be part of doing that — even if it’s a little hard to imagine. But he can do it regardless of his title.

PBT Extra: Cavaliers, Bulls opener not exactly Eastern Finals preview

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If you’re looking for the conventional wisdom pick for the Eastern Conference Finals, it’s the Cavaliers and the Bulls.

Which should make Tuesday night’s season-opening game between the two teams interesting, but the reality is what these teams look like Tuesday night will be vastly different from the teams we see if they meet in May. That’s the focus of this latest PBT Extra.

The Cavaliers are without Kyrie Irving and have a season to figure out how to integrate Kevin Love into what LeBron James wants to do. The Bulls have to see what they can get out of Derrick Rose, how he meshes with Jimmy Butler, and how a crowded frontcourt rotation is going to shake out.

All of that is going to take much of the season. Meaning, enjoy this game, but don’t read much into it one way or another.

Sixers cut five from roster including Scottie Wilbekin, Furkan Aldemir

Scottie Wilbekin, Joe Harris
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The Sixers plan was to bring in a lot of young, untested players and let them battle it out for the final few roster spots. It worked just the way they wanted. Of course, when it gets to cut-down day that means some deep cuts.

There was good news Monday for Christian Wood and T.J. McConnell, both of whom made the final Sixers roster.

That means gone are Jordan McCrae, J.P. Tokoto, Scottie Wilbekin, Furkan Aldemir, and Pierre Jackson, reports Marc Spears at Yahoo Sports. Dei Lynam of CSNPhilly.com has some reaction from Sixers coach Brett Brown.

Jackson was coming off a ruptured Achilles from last season and was just not all the way back yet. Aldemir, who had a $3 million guaranteed deal, was able to make plays in Europe with his size and hustle, but his lack of skill caught up with him in the NBA and he was overmatched. Wilbekin had maybe the best shot of the preseason and showed a steady running the offense at Summer League, he well may be snapped up by another team looking for a third point guard. McCrae is another guy who may find another home because he has NBA length and athleticism, plus he has shown three point shooting range. Tokoto needs to find some shooting range to offer more than hops and some defense.

Derrick Rose to start (as will LeBron James) in season opener Tuesday

Derrick Rose
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The NBA is getting its wish — the stars will be suiting up for the tip-off of the NBA season Tuesday night.

Well, not Kyrie Irving (knee), but the rest of them.

We knew LeBron James would play for the Cavaliers as they travel to take on the Bulls, something he confirmed after practice on Monday. Kevin Love will be ready to go also (although Love and LeBron got no time on the court together in preseason games).

Now comes the word from our own Sean Highkin that Derrick Rose — coming back wearing a mask after an orbital bone fracture — will not only play but start for the Bulls.

This is good news for Chicago — they need Rose to play, find a comfort level in Fred Hoiberg’s new offense, and mesh with Jimmy Butler in the backcourt if they are going to challenge the Cavaliers when it matters in the postseason. This is just the first step in that direction.

To me, the following confirmation of the expected is the more interesting Bulls news:

Hoiberg is doing the right thing breaking up the Pau Gasol/Joakim Noah pairing that was a disaster last season. However, every pairing he’s got has challenges — starting Gasol and Nikola Mirotic together has the potential to be a horrible defensive combination. And that would pile on top of a poor defensive showing by the Bulls in the preseason (because it’s the preseason we’re not taking it too seriously). Hoiberg has all season to mix and match Noah, Gasol, Mirotic and Taj Gibson to both see what works best and get the older guys some rest. We get to see the start of that experiment on Tuesday.

I’m just happy all but one of the big stars is healthy and ready to go.

Lakers waive Jabari Brown, will keep Metta World Peace on roster

Metta World Peace, Norman Powell
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Is this the move a rebuilding team should make?

The Lakers have waived Jabari Brown, the young scoring guard who spent most of last season with the D-Fenders of the D-League, meaning Metta World Peace is back in the NBA and has made the Lakers’ roster.

This certainly makes the Lakers more entertaining (World Peace and Nick Young in the same locker room!).

World Peace had been working out at the Lakers facilities this summer and bonded with rookie Julius Randle, serving as an on-court mentor. Because their size and styles are relatively similar, there is something to this bonding. World Peace can’t provide much on the court — he doesn’t move laterally well enough to defend much outside the post, and his shot is an issue (he was playing in Italy and China the last couple years for a reason), but he can be a fit at the end of the bench.

The question is why the Lakers would take the older player at the end of his career over the second year player — that’s not how rebuilding teams do things. Parker may not pan out, there were questions about his ability to play off the ball in the Lakers offense, but he certainly has a better shot at being part of the future than MWP. The Lakers decided to give their last couple roster spots to veterans World Peace and Robert Sacre over Brown Robert Upshaw (in large part due to Upshaw’s personal issues).

You can try to defend the individual moves, and they are smaller moves, but this is not the pattern of a team attempting to build itself up to be a place that top free agents will want to come and play. Players and free agents notice this stuff.