Metta World Peace is one of three players in the running for the Lakers’ 15th and final regular season roster spot, battling Yi Jianlian and Thomas Robinson for that opening. None of the three players have fully guaranteed salaries, but Robinson has youth on his side and Yi has an incentive-heavy, trade-friendly contract, giving them the leg up on World Peace.
Still, even if the veteran forward doesn’t earn the Lakers’ final roster spot, the Lakers might like to keep World Peace around. According to Marc Stein and Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.com, the Lakers have interest in the 36-year-old as an assistant coach. Sources tell the ESPN duo that World Peace’s impact as a veteran mentor to the team’s young players last season was a major reason why the team re-signed him this year.
World Peace indicated earlier this month that he’d like to continue his playing career for three more seasons, so it’s no surprise that Stein and Shelburne suggest he’d prefer not to retire, even if the Lakers decide to cut him.
Still, if World Peace doesn’t make the Lakers and can’t land an NBA roster spot elsewhere, his willingness to transition into a coaching role is worth monitoring. He and Lakers head coach Luke Walton were teammates for multiple years with the Lakers, so it would be a good match for World Peace to join Walton’s staff in Los Angeles.