SEPTEMBER 14TH, 2:49pm: It’s more likely that World Peace will join the Lakers than it is that he won’t, as Bill Oram of the Orange County Register says he’s been told (Twitter link). That’s in spite of World Peace’s recent comments in which he downplayed the idea of rejoining the team.
6:20pm: A source close to World Peace has informed Mark Medina of The Los Angeles Daily News (on Twitter) that there is confidence a deal with the Lakers will happen.
SEPTEMBER 9TH, 3:54pm: World Peace has been working out daily at the Lakers’ practice facility, and the two sides appear to be inching closer to agreeing to a one-year pact, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports relays (on Twitter).
AUGUST 25TH, 7:56am: The sides have engaged in “casual conversations” about a would-be return for World Peace, an executive told Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times. Bryant would be on board with the forward’s return but the Lakers star will let the front office decide whether to make it happen, another source told Turner.
AUGUST 24TH, 6:54pm: The Lakers are seriously considering signing veteran forward Metta World Peace to a one-year deal, league sources told Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports. There’s no deal in place, Wojnarowski continues, and there are varying degrees of interest within the Lakers organization about bringing him back. World Peace has been in the Lakers’ practice facility this offseason practicing with the team’s players, including 2014 first-round pick Julius Randle, sources told Wojnarowski.
The 35-year-old did not play in the NBA last season. He appeared in 29 games with the Knicks in 2013/14. Last season, he played 15 games for the Sichuan Blue Whales in the Chinese Basketball Association before a knee injury sidelined him. He finished out the season with Pallacanestro Cantu in the Italian League, averaging 13.3 points and 4.0 rebounds.
Of course, World Peace has a history with the Lakers organization, playing four seasons with them before joining the Knicks after Los Angeles used the amnesty provision to cut him loose. He appeared in 75 games with them in his last season there in 2012/13, averaging 12.4 points, 5.0 rebounds and 1.5 assists while starting 66 games. Overall, World Peace started 270 games during those four seasons with the Lakers, as well as 41 postseason starts.
The Lakers already have 12 guaranteed contracts, along with three partial or non-guaranteed contracts, for the upcoming season. They’d have to dip into their room exception of $2.814MM if it takes more than the minimum salary to sign World Peace. Given the composition of their roster, World Peace would most likely back up Kobe Bryant at small forward if they utilize a young, dynamic backcourt of lottery pick D’Angelo Russell and last year’s breakout rookie, Jordan Clarkson.