Last season the Lakers signed Metta World Peace not for his stellar play — he only got on the court in 35 games for a 17-win team, although he’s convinced he could have contributed more — but to be a mentor to the team’s young players. In particular, he had a bond with Julius Randle.
Now the Lakers are bringing him back, at least for training camp, to fill that same role, reports Shams Charania of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.
Metta World Peace has reached agreement on a deal to re-sign with the Los Angeles Lakers, league sources told The Vertical.
World Peace, 36, has been working out daily with the Lakers, and the two sides finalized a contract for training camp on Wednesday.
It’s unlikely World Peace (or Robinson) sticks around for longer than training camp. The Lakers have 14 guaranteed contracts already plus the very team friendly deal of Yi Jianlian, who almost certainly makes the roster. That makes 15, the max the Lakers could carry into the season. Meaning World Peace likely isn’t on the opening day roster barring a trade or if the Lakers decide to cut Anthony Brown and eat his salary (which is unlikely).
But World Peace made the Laker roster last season out of a non-guaranteed deal.
Last season was World Peace’s return to the NBA after having played two seasons in China and Italy. There’s a reason he was over there. If you think the Lakers are getting the lock-down defender that World Peace once was, you didn’t watch him last season — his lateral quickness isn’t the same, and he’s now a physical but average defender. He took 47.5 percent of his shots from three last season but hit just 31 percent of them. He shot 31.1 percent overall. His PER of 8.3 was well below the league average.
It’s tough to see where MWP fits in this Lakers’ roster and future direction. But he’ll get his chance in camp to prove me wrong and make this team.