Don’t laugh. The Los Angeles Lakers seem prepared to make this happen, according to ESPN.com’s Ramona Shelburne and Marc Stein:
The odds are against Metta World Peace making the Los Angeles Lakers’ Opening Night roster, but the Lakers have interest in keeping the veteran forward around as an assistant coach if they can’t make room for him as an active player, according to league sources.
Sources told ESPN.com that World Peace’s impact as a mentor to young players last season was a big reason they invited him to training camp again under new coach Luke Walton.
Look past the potential absurdity of seeing World Peace, on the sidelines, animatedly interrupting Luke Walton in Lakers huddles, for a minute. This report tells us something more important: that Los Angeles doesn’t seem prepared to waste a roster spot on a 36-year-old forward who is of minimal use to them.
This is great, really. It’s further evidence that the Lakers have turned a corner, that they are committed to playing the kiddies and reinventing this team the right way. (Timofey Mozgov’s contract aside, of course.)
Yes, World Peace would, perhaps, be valuable as a motivational mentor. But he can fulfill that role as an assistant. And if he’s unwilling to accept the position—Shelburne and Stein say he remains interested in playing—the Lakers have Luol Deng, and I guess Mozgov, to be steadying veteran presences.
Okay, that’s enough. Go back to imagining what life inside Lakerland will be like if World Peace is on the payroll as a coach.