Following the 2012/13 season, Metta World Peace will have the option of extending his contract with the Lakers for one more year for a salary of $7.73MM, or turning down that player option and becoming an unrestricted free agent. While the man formerly known as Ron Artest had been viewed as a lock to pick up that option, he tells NBA.com's Scott Howard-Cooper that he's not ruling out the possibility of declining it, if it means re-signing with the Lakers on a longer-term contract.
As Howard-Cooper notes, the idea of World Peace turning down that money seems to defy logic. Earlier this month, I listed him among this offseason's amnesty candidates, assuming he'd opt in. However, it may be precisely that possibility that prompts the 33-year-old to try to work out a new deal with the Lakers — if he simply opts in, he immediately becomes a candidate to be amnestied or traded, and it sounds as if his strong preference is to remain in Los Angeles.
"I think my agent (Marc Cornstein) is trying to see if he can get an extension to stay here in L.A.," World Peace told Howard-Cooper. "I’m really excited about the possibilities of staying here in L.A."
If World Peace did turn down his player option in an attempt to work out a new contract with the Lakers, he'd have to be prepared to take a significant pay cut. Although the team is projected to be well into the tax in 2013/14, it has very few commitments on its books beyond '14. I'd guess there'd be some reluctance to compromise future flexibility by locking up World Peace, whose best days are behind him.