As first reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports, Metta World Peace is working out at the Lakers practice facility. Earlier in the summer, World Peace worked out with Lakers second year player, Julius Randle. In late August, reports indicated the Lakers had an interest in bringing World Peace back to Los Angeles. Follow the dots and it’s not far fetched to imagine World Peace in a Lakers uniform on opening night.
So as not to get ahead of the business side of things, World Peace does not have a contract. But multiple sources around the league seem to think a contract will happen for the 35 year old who played in China last year. At the very least he will be a training camp addition.
But, the burning question is why? And would he play?
First, the why. The physicality and toughness of Metta World Peace defined his career and his game. He has the speed of a 35 year old; he is slow. But, his mental edge dependent on grit, craziness and strength is at the same level it has always been.
Would World Peace be anything more than a Kobe ally, cheerleader and garbage time player? Yes. It would be just like Byron Scott to play Metta World Peace instead of Nick Young because Scott is drawn to players who can intimidate. It’s a soft league now and World Peace has moments when he opens up his bag of dirty tricks at just the time the refs turn their heads. If nothing else, World Peace is intensely driven to compete. Scott considers those intangibles more powerful than speed or agility. It was his rationale last year when Scott used veteran Ronnie Price over Jeremy Lin. Scott loves mental grit and fortitude as a defender. It is the primary reason why Nick Young remained in Scott’s doghouse last year and probably will stay there again this year.
The addition of Metta World Peace back to the Lakers will undoubtedly cause trips down memory lane for it was World Peace who made the money shot sealing the Lakers 16th championship against their nemesis the Boston Celtics. World Peace, on a Kobe Bryant assist, drilled a three pointer with 90 seconds left and pretty much sealed the game, giving the Lakers a six point lead. The Lakers demise followed that moment and since then they have been pretty much a joke on offense and defense, clinging to Kobe Bryant’s stardom to keep them hanging on to relevancy.
The Lakers have talent on their team but they are still very young and need experience. In other words they need to lose first before they learn how to win. The Lakers start out with a friendly schedule the first two weeks playing 8 teams that didn’t make the playoffs. Always good in the locker room, World Peace can provide invaluable leadership especially to soft players like Nick Young.
It must be noted that if World Peace gets a contract the Lakers will have two players whose combined ages are 72 years old.
If it was a choice between Carlos Boozer and Metta World Peace then for entertainment value, general likeability, a bunch of crazy quotes and a little basketball still in him, World Peace is the one. Even he was prophetic about his NBA return.
“I always wanted to play in China but I didn’t want to play when I was 40 because I won’t have a lot of skills at that time probably. So I came in my prime so I can try to come back to the NBA like next year.”
Next year is now.
photo via llananba