12:52pm: The release of Brown is official, the team announced. The Lakers didn’t mention World Peace in its statement, but presumably he’s sticking around.
12:24pm: The Lakers will waive Jabari Brown and keep Metta World Peace for the opening night roster, reports Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link). One of them had to go, since the Lakers have been carrying 16 players, one over the regular season limit, and the deadline to cut to 15 is today. Neither have any guaranteed money on their contracts, but since the Lakers failed to make their final cut by Saturday’s deadline to waive non-guaranteed players without them counting against the cap, they’ll be stuck with two days’ worth of salary to Brown, assuming he clears waivers. That’s minus $8K in training camp compensation that Brown already earned, as former Nets executive Bobby Marks notes (All Twitter links), so the Lakers are poised to be out a mere $1,972 because they waited an extra two days.
Brown, 22, is a holdover from last season, when the Lakers signed him to multiyear deal after a pair of 10-day contracts ran to term. The shooting guard averaged 6.0 points in 14.3 minutes per game across six preseason appearances this fall, and while World Peace put up only 3.7 points in 14.1 minutes per contest in the same number of preseason games, the 35-year-old’s mentorship ability loomed large. The move isn’t a shock, as Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times suggested last week that World Peace had a slight edge over Brown in the competition for the final regular season roster spot.
The Lakers also cut Brown at the end of the preseason a year ago, and they claimed his D-League rights, making him an affiliate player. The team still has those rights, and the Lakers would like to have him with their D-League affiliate again this year, according to Bresnahan (Twitter link). However, if he clears waivers and doesn’t have another NBA offer, the Lakers would have to convince him to sign with the D-League rather than overseas, where he would probably make more money. Brown’s priority is to sign overseas, reports Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News.
World Peace isn’t assured of much beyond opening night, since his contract wouldn’t become guaranteed until the leaguewide guarantee date in January. Still, it’s an intriguing comeback story for the veteran combo forward who spent last season playing overseas and whom the Lakers waived via the amnesty provision in 2013.
Did the Lakers make the right choice in keeping Metta World Peace over Brown? Leave a comment to share your thoughts.