All summer long Metta World Peace has been working out at the Lakers facility, and he formed a bond with second-year player (but a rookie in practice) Julius Randle. The Lakers watched the workouts and saw World-Peace the mentor — as strange as that sounds. What matters is that Randle was listening to him.
So, as had been long rumored, the Lakers are giving World Peace a one-year deal and a chance to make the team, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.
Free-agent forward Metta World Peace has reached agreement on a one-year, non-guaranteed deal to return to the Los Angeles Lakers, league sources told Yahoo Sports….
World Peace is expected to make the roster and play a role as a small forward off the bench, and a veteran extension of coach Byron Scott in the young Lakers locker room.
I would hold off on the assumption he makes the roster, although he certainly has a chance. The Lakers have some decisions to make. They have 12 guaranteed contracts on the books right now (although in theory they could buy out someone like Robert Sacre), and can only carry 15. The Lakers signed veteran Brazilian point guard Marcelo Huertas‘ to a non-guaranteed deal, but I’d expect him to make the cut. If Huertas and MWP make the roster, the Lakers have one roster spot for young talents Jabari Brown, Tarik Black, Michael Frazier and Jonathan Holmes to fight over (again, unless there is a buyout of an existing deal).
If MWP makes the roster, Lakers fans should not expect quality production out of him — there was a reason he’s been out of the league for more than a season. The Knicks waived him in 2014 because he isn’t near the same defender he once was, and his offensive game has slipped (he shot just 31 percent from three for them). Last season he played in Italy where he averaged 13.3 points a game, but at age 35 he’s not bouncing back to have NBA rotation player level contributions.
But that’s not why the Lakers want him. He seems to have the ear of Randle.
Why that requires a roster spot, and he can’t be brought in as an assistant coach or consultant I don’t get. Yes, listening to players is different from a coach, but that’s not the relationship Randle and World Peace have formed, so it doesn’t matter the title for MWP now?
The rebuilding Lakers keep stocking up on veterans. It’s an interesting mix.