Luke Walton Recommends Lakers Keep ‘Role Model’ Metta World Peace
Metta World Peace Says Luke Walton Is ‘perfect’ For Lakers Coaching Job
Jeff Chiu-AP Photo

Personnel decisions in professional sports are rarely easy, and they are made even more difficult when a player has sentimental value to a franchise and their fan base. Such is the case with Metta World Peace, who the Lakers are reportedly considering waiving prior to the deadline for non-guaranteed contracts on Saturday.

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The team would benefit by getting World Peace’s non-guaranteed salary off their books and they would also free up a roster spot that could be used to give another player, perhaps a young role player who didn’t catch on elsewhere, a chance to impress. However, head coach Luke Walton, who spoke after the Lakers’ big win over the Miami Heat on Friday night, prefers to keep World Peace around (via Ryan Ward of Lakers Nation):

Walton added that he sees World Peace as a role model on this team of young players, via Ward:

World Peace returned to the Lakers last season but has been used sparingly this season, appearing in only 14 games. His primary role has been acting as a mentor to the team’s young players, leading some to question whether he would be better suited as an assistant coach rather than a player.

On the other hand, the relationship between a young player and a teammate is different than the relationship between him and a coach, and an argument can be made that World Peace can make a bigger impact on the team’s many youngsters if he is suiting up alongside them.

Either way, it’s going to be a tough decision for the Lakers front office to make, and it’s always possible that they keep him to guarantee his salary and then waive him at a later date if they need a roster spot.

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