Metta World Peace is nearing the end of his 18th professional season – 17th in the NBA – and will turn 38 in the fall, but he doesn’t intend to retire just yet. As Mark Medina of The Los Angeles Daily News details, the man formerly known as Ron Artest hopes to play 20 seasons of professional basketball, meaning he’ll aim to put off retirement for at least two more years.
Although World Peace has spent the entire 2016/17 season with the Lakers, his playing time has been very sporadic — he has acted as more of a mentor on the bench to the team’s young players. The veteran forward has appeared in just 23 games and hasn’t seen the court much in those contests, accumulating only 125 minutes for the season.
Those numbers don’t necessarily bode well for World Peace’s NBA future, though he isn’t necessarily locked into playing two more years in the NBA. Having spent the 2014/15 season in China and Italy, World Peace is open to returning overseas if no NBA opportunities arise. While he’d love to re-sign with the Lakers, the 37-year-old acknowledges that bringing him back may not be feasible for the franchise.
“There’s too many free agents and rookies they have to sign,” World Peace said. “It’s the last thing I would think about this early. The whole league has to get the free agents, the rookies, and get the B-class players and C-class players. I never think about it. It’s too early.”
Although World Peace’s long-term future with the Lakers is up in the air, he should have the opportunity to see a little more action for the club in the short term. Los Angeles will host the Pelicans on Tuesday before traveling to Golden State on Wednesday for the regular season finale. And head coach Luke Walton expects to get World Peace some minutes, particularly in the Lakers’ last home game.
“We want to reward Metta every chance we get for how great he’s been this year and the way he’s worked and the way he helps the young guys and being positive,” Walton said. “He’s been one of the better players in this league for a long time. He’s won a championship with this organization, obviously. So that comes into play.”