Metta World Peace Rumors
May 11 at 3:47pm CST By Chuck Myron
Metta World Peace hasn't offered any public hints about whether he plans to exercise his early-termination option for next season, but Salary Cap FAQ author Larry Coon hears he intends to play out his contract with the Lakers. World Peace is due $7,727,280 in the final season of his five-year deal, and Coon would be "shocked" if he turned that down.
The news isn't unexpected, since World Peace might have trouble making half as much next season if he were to hit the open market. He could probably wrangle more guaranteed money as part of a long-term deal, but at 33 years old, few teams would be willing to give him a contract that stretched out for too long.
World Peace has shown durability and, this year, a remarkable capacity to recover from a late-season knee injury, but his on-court efficiency hasn't been the same since he signed with the Lakers four years ago. His career PER had been 16.5 during his first 10 seasons in the league, but his PER with L.A. is just 11.8. His number this year was slightly higher, at 12.5, as World Peace was tasked with more minutes and shots amid an injury-hit season for his Lakers teammates.
In his blog post, Coon counts World Peace among the Lakers' commitments for next season and ponders whether the team could sign both Dwight Howard and Chris Paul, as Grantland's Bill Simmons suggested. Such a move would require the team to amnesty Kobe Bryant and trade Pau Gasol to the Rockets, and there's no reasonable scenario that would allow the Lakers to offer max contracts to both Howard and Paul, as Coon deduces.
May 1 at 10:09pm CST By Chuck Myron
Mitch Kupchak has been Lakers GM since 2000, the year the team won the first of its five championships with Kobe Bryant, but this is his most important offseason to date, opines Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio. Just months after it appeared Kupchak might be a candidate for Executive of the Year for his role in building a team primed for a title run, the pressure's on him to clean up the mess of a season gone wrong. Amico goes over the Lakers' to-do list for the summer, and drops news from both L.A. teams and other NBA outposts, as we detail here:
- The Lakers are privately hoping Metta World Peace exercises his early-termination option to get out of his $7.727MM contract for next season, according to Amico. World Peace hasn't given any hints about his intentions, though I'd be surprised if he turns down the money.
- Stan Van Gundy reportedly doesn't want to return to coaching yet, but he may be holding out to see if the Clippers job opens up, Amico hears, adding that Van Gundy has sent signals that he's not interested in the Pistons vacancy.
- Sources tell Amico that Byron Scott may become a candidate to take over as Suns coach if the team doesn't retain interim boss Lindsey Hunter, who appears to be on his way out.
April 30 at 7:46pm CST By Alex Lee
Not only were they swept by the Spurs, but the Lakers lost all four games to San Antonio by double digits, culminating in Sunday's game four defeat at the Staples Center. Today was exit interview day for the Lakers in Los Angeles. Let's round up all the news coming out of those meetings here as it is reported throughout the night:
- D'Antoni expressed confidence that a full offseason with the talented Lakers squad could make a world of difference under his command, writes Trudell. The Lakers coach thought the team progressed in the second half and that their playoff hopes were largely derailed by injury.
- Like D'Antoni, Blake thinks the Lakers have the talent to win now, per Trudell. Blake thought he fit well into D'Antoni's system, but admitted that either the system or the roster would probably have to be tweaked to make it work.
- Pau Gasol acknowledged on Tuesday that he may not be back with the team next season, writes Eric Pincus of the L.A. Times. As Pincus points out, what happens with Dwight Howard in the offseason will go a long way to determining Gasol's fate in Los Angeles. If the Lakers re-sign Howard, speculation that Gasol will be traded or amnestied is sure to accelerate. Gasol did express his desire to remain a Laker.
- One Laker who seems to want both Gasol and Howard back is injured guard Kobe Bryant, writes Mark Medina of the L.A. Daily News. Bryant's torn Achilles has him unsure of his own NBA longevity, but in the short term he plans to help sell Howard on the Lakers as well as continuing to lobby for the retention of Gasol. Bryant said, “I want Pau here. It’s not a question or discussion. He gives us the best chance to win titles."
- Howard was continuously asked about his offseason plans after his exit interview, writes Lakers.com's Mike Trudell. Howard didn't hint one way or another, per Trudell, but did say that he needs to "clear his head" to think. He also expressed relief that Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak said he wouldn't pressure him into making a decision.
- Kupchak reiterated as much during his media session on Tuesday, adding that he is "hopeful" and "optimistic" that the Lakers will be able to re-sign Howard, writes Medina. Kupchak said that because of how the Lakers lost, "everything is in play" when it comes to improving the team, which includes bringing back Howard and Gasol. The Lakers GM insinuated that Howard's decision won't affect Gasol's future in Los Angeles more than that of any other of the current Lakers.
- Finally, Kupchak maintained that Mike D'Antoni will be back and dodged a question about the state of the Lakers amnesty provision. Medina writes that of the possible candidates - Bryant, Gasol, Metta World Peace and Steve Blake - only Gasol and World Peace seem to make sense as amnesty candidates. World Peace has a $7.7MM player option to consider. Kupchak said he has "no idea" if he plans to exercise it.
April 29 at 5:35pm CST By Zach Links
The Lakers' season ended in unspectacular fashion last night as the Spurs completed their first round sweep with a 103-82 victory in game four. Dwight Howard was ejected along the way and headed back to the Staples Center home locker room, possibly for the last time. Here's the latest out of L.A as we look ahead to what should be a
- No one knows if Howard will be back with the Lakers next season, but Steve Nash sounds optimistic about it, writes Yannis Koutroupis of HoopsWorld. “I’m very hopeful that Dwight will be back,” Nash said at his season-ending press conference. “I think this is the place for him. He’s in the prime of his career, with his best years ahead of him. Playing for one of the greatest franchises in sports and an amazing city. I hope he sees it that way and hopefully as teammates we can be there to support him and find [him] back with us July 1."
- In his season-ending interview with reporters, Metta World Peace said that he'd like to be back with the Lakers next season, but declined to talk specifics about his player option and contract, tweets Mike Trudell of NBA.com. The forward holds a $7.27MM option for 2013/14 and as unpredictable as he may be, it's hard to imagine him turning it down.
- Earl Clark said that GM Mitch Kupchak told him that many teams would be interested in him this summer, Trudell tweets. For his part, Clark hopes to stay with the Lakers. The Louisville product enjoyed his best season to date in 2012/13, averaging 7.3 PPG with 5.5 RPG in 23.1 minutes per contest.
April 6 at 4:40pm CST By Chuck Myron
The Lakers held on to their half-game lead for the last playoff spot in the Western Conference with a two-point win against the Grizzlies last night, and if L.A. makes the postseason, they could get some reinforcements. Coach Mike D'Antoni revealed that Metta World Peace could be back by the end of the month, knocking two weeks off the original six-week timetable for his recovery from a left knee injury, tweets Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times. Jordan Hill tells Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News he's seeking medical clearance to return at about the same time, though D'Antoni is skeptical about that. Either way, there's reason for optimism in a season that's left Lakers fans with little of it. Here's more on the purple and gold and other news from the Pacific:
- Most signs, including the three years left on D'Antoni's contract, point to him returning to coach the Lakers next season in spite of the team's disappointing play, writes Marc Stein of ESPN.com. Stein also suggests that while Dwight Howard may have sway over D'Antoni's future if the big man threatens to sign elsewhere, Howard won't have nearly the clout that fellow soon-to-be free agent Chris Paul will wield on the Clippers' coaching situation.
- Regardless of who's in charge of the Kings next season, the "leaguewide presumption" is that neither GM Geoff Petrie nor coach Keith Smart will return, Stein adds in the same piece.
- Kendall Marshall wasn't among the 10 players I mentioned yesterday when I examined 2012 first-round picks who've seen limited action this season, but his 568 total minutes would make him the 11th player on the list. He's been seeing more action of late with the Suns, and Marshall tells Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic that he's finally starting to feel comfortable.
April 4 at 5:22pm CST By Luke Adams
Although the Lakers' short-term focus is on finishing the regular season strong and earning a playoff spot in the Western Conference, the team will face a number of questions this summer and beyond, with luxury-tax penalties set to increase starting in 2013/14. Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com spoke to a number of agents, executives, and players about the Lakers' cap situation, so let's round up the highlights:
- One general manager on free agent big man Dwight Howard: "No matter what, they have to re-sign Dwight. Even if they don't want to move forward with Dwight, you gotta
re-sign him because he's a tradable asset no matter what he makes.... You can always move him, but if you don't have him under your
control, then you've got nothing."
- The general belief is that if Howard is re-signed, the Lakers will look to move Pau Gasol, but there are mixed opinions on how much trade value he would have, and how strong a package the Lakers could acquire. Said one GM: "He'll have value as a super expiring contract. There are 12 teams with $12MM or more in [cap
space] this summer. Multiple teams will be open to doing an uneven deal
to acquire him.... They would probably have to take back a multiyear deal at a
lower number. Say, somebody with two or three years left at 6 million a
year. They can't incentivize a deal because they have no assets -- no
[draft] picks and no young players of value."
- Gasol could also be amnestied, which would significantly lessen the Lakers' tax burden, but it would be a purely financial move rather than a basketball one. Rival GMs are skeptical that the team would make such a move in what could be Kobe Bryant's last year.
- Metta World Peace is a more likely amnesty candidate, though if he decides to opt out of the final year of his deal, Steve Blake could be amnestied as well. World Peace told NBA.com last week that he'd consider declining his '13/14 option, and the knee surgery he underwent since then hasn't changed that stance, according to Shelburne.
- One Lakers player said he believes World Peace would like to secure a two- or three-year contract rather than exercising his one-year player option.
- There were also varying opinions among GMs on coach Mike D'Antoni's future with the Lakers. One GM's thoughts: "I like Mike D'Antoni, but if I was them, that's the move I'd make (letting him go). You can talk about amnestying players and
trades, but players are still assets. Coaches are different."
April 4 at 3:44pm CST By Luke Adams
Earlier today, the Clippers signed DaJuan Summers for the season, and we passed along word that Grant Hill is likely to retire at season's end. Here are a few more Thursday items from out of the Pacific Division:
- Chris Broussard of ESPN.com (Insider-only link) expects Dwight Howard to re-sign with the Lakers, but notes that there are other potentially attractive destinations in play. Broussard breaks down the pros and cons of three likely Howard suitors, the Hawks, Rockets, and Mavericks.
- Metta World Peace's rehab from knee surgery is off to a good start, though his future is still uncertain, writes Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News.
- As Steve Kyler of HoopsWorld explains, when the NBA Board of Governors votes on the future of the Kings, the decision won't necessarily come down to Seattle vs. Sacramento, since the Board can't force the Maloofs to sell to the Sacramento group. The Board of Governors will simply be voting on whether or not to approve the sale to the Seattle group, so if the sale is to be declined, there will need to be real cause.
- In his latest column for the Los Angeles Times, T.J. Simers argues that the immaturity of Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan is dragging the Clippers down, and says Jordan "blames [head coach Vinny] Del Negro for burying him on the bench."
March 29 at 8:56am CST By Luke Adams
The Lakers announced yesterday that Metta World Peace underwent successful surgery on his left knee to repair a torn meniscus, and will miss six weeks. Whether or not the Lakers make the playoffs, World Peace's season could be over, and Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News wondered yesterday if the veteran forward has played his last game as a Laker.
World Peace isn't necessarily in the final year of his contract, since he has a player option for next season. However, if he exercises that option, he becomes a prime candidate to be amnestied. If he declines the option, he'll hit unrestricted free agency. Either way, the man formerly known as Ron Artest may sign a new contract before he plays in his next NBA game.
A number of players are in the same situation as World Peace, with potential free agency looming and an injury keeping them off the court. Here are a few guys who we may not see play for their current teams again, and whose free agent stocks could be affected by their current injuries:
- Leandro Barbosa (Wizards): If you'd forgotten Barbosa was on the Wizards' roster, you're probably not alone. Acquired for salary purposes in the deal that sent Jordan Crawford to Boston, Barbosa is on an expiring minimum-salary contract, and his ACL/MCL injury may hurt his chances of signing another deal this offseason. Having suffered the season-ending injury in February, he probably won't be healthy in time for fall camps.
- Rodrigue Beaubois (Mavericks): Eligible for restricted free agency this summer, Beaubois underwent surgery on his hand last week, and is unlikely to return this season. I doubt the Mavs will make him a qualifying offer, and there's a good chance he doesn't return to Dallas.
- Andrew Bynum (76ers): As well-documented as any non-Derrick Rose injury this season, Bynum's ongoing knee troubles will certainly hurt his earning potential in free agency this summer, and may also ensure he never plays a game with the Sixers.
- Richard Hamilton (Bulls): While Hamilton remains optimistic that he'll play again this season, his ongoing health problems will likely lead the Bulls to part ways with him this summer. Hamilton's $5MM salary for 2013/14 is partially guaranteed, so he figures to receive a $1MM buyout and hit the free agent market.
- Sasha Pavlovic (Trail Blazers): Pavlovic's quad injury has kept him out of action for more than a month, but even if he were healthy, he doesn't appear to be part of the Trail Blazers' plans. Although he's under contract for two more seasons, both years are non-guaranteed, so he may find himself seeking a new deal this July.
- A.J. Price (Wizards): Price earned 22 starts this season for the Wizards, so perhaps the team will have interest in bringing him back next year. He's eager to return to the court to try to improve his free agent stock, but for now, groin issues are keeping him out indefinitely.
- Brandon Roy (Timberwolves): All the time Roy has missed this season with knee problems ensured that the second year of his contract with the Timberwolves became non-guaranteed, and there's virtually no chance the Wolves will retain him and his $5.33MM salary. If Roy is forced to call it a career at season's end, it would be an unfortunate way for him to go out, but I wouldn't be surprised if that's where we're headed.
- Brandon Rush (Warriors): After going down during the season's first week, Rush underwent knee surgery in January that ended his year. Fortunately for him, he's got a $4MM player option for 2013/14, so he figures to be returning to the Warriors rather than looking for work next year.
- Jason Smith (Hornets): Out for the season with a torn labrum, Smith, like Hamilton, has a partially guaranteed contract for 2013/14. The price to keep him wouldn't be exorbitant - $1MM of his $2.5MM salary is guaranteed - so we'll have to wait and see what the Hornets decide.
- Kurt Thomas and Rasheed Wallace (Knicks): A pair of aging Knicks bigs on expiring contracts, it would be a little surprising to see both Thomas and Wallace playing in the NBA next year, even if they return in the playoffs. Even if Thomas and Wallace wanted to extend their playing careers, their latest foot issues would raise red flags for any interested teams.
- Elliot Williams (Trail Blazers): Unlike some other players on this list, Williams is no lock to receive an NBA contract, especially if he can't show that he's healthy before the fall. That's probably why, even after surgery on his achilles, he talked about wanting to return to the court in '12/13 and auditioning in the Summer League.
March 28 at 1:02pm CST By Luke Adams
The race for the final playoff spot(s) in the Western Conference will continue tonight, when the Lakers play the Bucks in Milwaukee and the Mavericks host the Pacers in Dallas. As we look forward to those games, let's round up a few Thursday items out of the conference....
- Tony Allen is headed for unrestricted free agency this summer, and at least one Eastern Conference general manager thinks Allen will receive a modest raise. "Three years at $4MM per year sounds right," the GM tells
Chris Mannix of SI.com. "He adds instant toughness and a defensive mentality to your team. He's a
leader on the floor and he isn't going to back down from anyone. I
think everyone in the league would love to have him." The Grizzlies have no interest in approaching luxury-tax territory, so it's unclear if they'll be able to bring back Allen.
- Chris Sheridan of SheridanHoops.com believes that both Los Angeles head coaches, Mike D'Antoni and Vinny Del Negro, could be on the outs with the Lakers and Clippers respectively if they don't finish the season strong.
- With Metta World Peace expected to miss six weeks after undergoing surgery on his left knee, Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News wonders if the veteran forward has played his last game with the Lakers.
- Terrel Harris' new deal with the Hornets includes an second year that will become guaranteed if Harris makes the team's 2013/14 roster, reports Sam Amick of USA Today.
- Nuggets coach George Karl tells Benjamin Hochman of the Denver Post that he thinks Gregg Popovich would be interested in the Team USA head coaching position, and that Popovich would be a great choice for the job.
March 27 at 11:14pm CST By Chuck Myron
It was a busy 14-game night in the NBA, but there aren't too many of these evenings left. Every team will be in action three weeks from tonight on the final day of the regular season, but after that, four playoff games is the most NBA action we'll get out of a single night until the fall. As we savor the season while it lasts, here's news from around the Association:
- Hedo Turkoglu, back from his 20-game suspension for using performance-enhancing drugs, says he hopes to stay with the Magic, but as Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel notes, he has financial incentive to say so. The Magic would only have to pay half of Turkoglu's $12MM salary next season if they waive him.
- Fellow Magic forward Al Harrington has said repeatedly this season that he wants to play five more years, but he's already making post-retirement plans, telling Chris Tomasson of Fox Sports Florida that he wants to go into broadcasting.
- Gerald Henderson is set to hit restricted free agency this summer, but says he "absolutely" wants to re-sign with the Bobcats, according to Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer (Twitter links).
- Oklahoma junior power forward Amath M'Baye is entering this year's draft field, the school announced. The 23-year-old will finish his degree requirements this spring and plans to hire an agent, so it doesn't look like he'll remove his name from consideration before the April 16th deadline. Neither ESPN's Chad Ford nor Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress have M'Baye listed among their top 100 prospects.
- Bob Young of the Arizona Republic looks at the draft prospects playing in each game of the NCAA Tournament's Sweet 16 this week from the perspective of the Suns, who appear squarely focused on next season.
- Metta World Peace will miss a minimum of six weeks with a torn lateral meniscus in his left knee, the Lakers revealed via press release. USA Today's Sam Amick examines the effect his absence will have on the team, noting that L.A.'s projected starting five has appeared together for just 189 minutes this season.