The Los Angeles Lakers have interest in adding veteran forward Metta World Peace to their coaching staff if he does not make the team as an active player, according to ESPN’s Marc Stein. World Peace seems unlikely to make the team’s roster as their organization focus has shifted to developing younger players.
The Lakers reportedly brought the veteran back for 2016 training camp and preseason because of the positive impact he had on the team’s young players, particularly on the defensive end of the court, in the 2015-16 season. The Lakers have an end-of-roster logjam at forward with Yi Jianlian and Thomas Robinson also competing for spots on the team.
According to Stein, World Peace would prefer to explore options to continue his playing career before accepting a coaching role. If the Lakers cut him by Monday’s deadline to trim rosters to 15 players, he would look for work elsewhere. With the Lakers last season, World Peace played nearly 17 minutes per game, averaging five points and 2.5 rebounds per game.
Jianlian is considered the favorite to secure the team’s final roster spot after the Lakers signed him to a one-year, $8 million contract to bring him back stateside from China. Cutting Jianlian, however, would be a low-cost move, as he is only guaranteed $250,000 for the season. He resurrected his career after a strong showing at the Rio Olympics where he averaged 20.4 points per game.
World Peace has played in 16 NBA seasons and is well-regarded for his defensive contributions. He has averaged 13.5 points, 4.6 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.8 steals per game in his career. At his peak, he was a solid 3-and-D player, shooting over 35 percent from beyond the arc at his peak in the mid-aughts.