For the past two seasons, veteran forward Metta World Peace has managed to beat the odds and secure a spot on the Lakers roster, and it appears he may be looking to make it three in a row. Most assume that a young, rebuilding team like the Lakers would prioritize keeping young players, but World Peace has beaten out the likes of Jabari Brown and Anthony Brown the last couple of seasons.
The 37-year-old, who is completing his 17th season in the NBA, has acted as a veteran mentor to players like Julius Randle and Brandon Ingram. Head coach Luke Walton gave World Peace something of a send-off on Tuesday night by starting World Peace against the New Orleans Pelicans in what is expected to be his final appearance at STAPLES Center.
The only problem is that World Peace doesn’t sound like he is ready to hang up the sneakers just yet, per Lakers Reporter Mike Trudell:
?✌?told us he doesn’t plan to retire, would love to keep playing, but it’s up to the team. He really appreciates the Lakers.
— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) April 12, 2017
While World Peace is certainly beloved in Los Angeles for his eccentric personality and the role that he played in helping the Lakers bring home a championship in 2010, he clearly isn’t the player that he once was. He has only appeared in 23 games so far this season for Los Angeles and is only averaging 5.4 minutes per game.
It’s unknown exactly what the Lakers thoughts are on extending World Peace’s playing career, but Walton’s decision to give him a farewell game of sorts does appear to be telling. World Peace may not agree, but with the Lakers already employing high-priced veteran Luol Deng as a veteran wing and mentor, he does appear to be a bit superfluous.
The Lakers will ultimately determine the fate of World Peace this summer, but if this is it for his career, we certainly thank him for all of the wonderful memories.