When you think veteran mentors perfect to guide your young potential stars down the right path, you think…
Metta World Peace?
The guy who has bounced between China and Europe since the Knicks waived him in 2014 because he struggles to perform at an NBA level?
The Lakers are seriously considering it. MWP has been working out at the Lakers’ facility and apparently formed a bond with young big man Julius Randle. Sam Amick of the USA Today asked Laker GM Mitch Kupchak about it.
“I love the guy,” Kupchak said. “I really do. Last year, he was in Europe, he was in China. (Then) he coached his daughter’s middle school or high school team to a championship. He was here to work out when he got back from Europe playing, and then he’d come in through the summer. He’s been coming in on a regular basis. I do know that he wants to play, and that’s where we are.
“We’ve got a couple more weeks (until training camp). Our roster’s not complete. And we’ll just take it from there. Nothing’s imminent in terms of a signing anytime soon, but it’s hard not to watch a guy when he’s in your gym every day going up and down the court, working with young guys, playing hard. Part of me says he can still play, so I don’t know where we’re going to end up on it. But that’s kind of where it is.”
The part of him that thinks World Peace can still play should watch tape of MWP in New York. He’s not near the same defender he used to be, and in that last season with the Knicks he averaged 4.8 points a game on 39.7 percent shooting overall and 31.5 percent from three (where he took a lot of shots). If Lakers fans are picturing the MWP from 2010, they need to dissuade themselves of that notion.
That said, if World Peace has bonded with and can be an effective mentor for Randle, it’s worth considering. It’s just a lot of money to pay a glorified coach (even though the league picks up a chunk of veteran minimum contracts).