Lakers sign Metta World Peace

September 24, 2015

The Los Angeles Lakers inked a big name from their recent past in the hopes giving Kobe Bryant one more postseason run, as General Manager Mitch Kupchak announced that forward Metta World Peace has been signed.  Other outlets have reported that the deal is for one year and worth $1.5 million, but is a non-guaranteed contract.

World Peace was an integral member of the Lakers’ 2010 NBA Championship team, starting all 23 playoff games and averaging 11.2 points, 4.0 rebounds, 2.1 assists, and 1.5 steals in 36.5 minutes per game during the postseason.  He is fondly remembered for his clutch performance in Game 7 against the Celtics when he picked up the slack for a badly struggling Bryant.

While some have viewed this move as an act of desperation by the Lakers, World Peace at the very least could function as a mentor to some of the team's younger players.  At the very least, his intensity, competitive nature, and tough defense certainly will make practices more interesting.

If he is in good condition, World Peace still remains one of the strongest players at his position in the league.  He will likely be expected to play at both the 3 and the 4 next season, and could see some offensive touches in the post from time to time. At his age however, heavy minutes are out of the question.

A 15-year NBA veteran who spent four seasons in Los Angeles between 2009-13, World Peace holds career averages of 13.8 points, 4.7 rebounds, 2.8 assists, and 1.8 steals in 33.0 minutes per game over 931 contests (833 starts) with the Bulls, Pacers, Kings, Rockets, Knicks, and Lakers.

Selected with the 16th pick of the 1999 NBA Draft by Chicago, the 35-year-old was named the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year in 2003-04 in addition to being chosen as an All-Star and member of the All-NBA Third Team that same year. He has also garnered four NBA All-Defensive Team selections and made the postseason nine times (including all four of his seasons in L.A.) with four different franchises.

His most recent NBA action came during the 2013-14 season when he appeared in 29 games for the New York Knicks, and has since played in the Chinese Basketball Association and Lega Basket Serie A, Italy’s top division.

World Peace was honored with the NBA’s J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award in 2011, and is actively involved in mental health awareness initiatives.

By Staff of and news services

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