The Lakers and Metta World Peace may once again become an item. Adrian Wojnarowski broke the story on Monday afternoon:
The Los Angeles Lakers are discussing the possibility of signing free agent forward Metta World Peace to a one-year contract, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
No deal has been agreed upon, but there have been talks between the Lakers and World Peace’s representatives, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
There are varying degrees of interest within the Lakers organization about bringing him back to the franchise at 35 years old, although the idea has been met with enthusiasm from Lakers star Kobe Bryant, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
The LA Times’ Brad Turner called the discussions between Metta and the Lakers “casual conversations”, but did add he has been a presence around the team this summer:
World Peace has been working out at the Lakers’ practice facility in El Segundo with Julius Randle the last two months, and the two have played pickup basketball at the Clippers’ practice facility in Playa Vista, an official said.
While these reports clearly state nothing is imminent, this is all very fun to discuss.
When Ron — he’ll always be Ron to me — first arrived to play for the Lakers, I was skeptical about his fit and weary of his reputation as a ball stopping wing who had a tendency to play outside of his role and on the verge of doing something that would compromise his team’s chances to win.
By the time the team waived him via the amnesty provision, however, my views had evolved:
Ron always played with an intensity and competitive fire that was distinct. And while playing on the edge in the way that he did would sometimes lead to him crossing the line between fair and foul, his determination and desire to give his all on the floor was something that many don’t always provide. When you combine his temperament with some of his big game performances, Ron will live on in Lakers’ lore for a lifetime.
I mean, I will never forget his put-back against the Suns in the 2010 Western Conference Finals nor the even bigger performance — and clutch 3 pointer — he provided in game 7 of the NBA Finals. His post game press conference is also the stuff of legend, but that just obscures the fact that without Ron in uniform, it’s unlikely the Lakers defeat their long time foes to claim the title, or even get that far for that matter.
That was two years ago, though. Regarding his current fit, there is a logic that the Lakers are thin at SF, Ron plays SF, and, hence, this is the reason to sign him — or at least explore the option. However, I would argue that Ron is much more of a small-ball PF at this stage of his career. He was already skewing that direction in his final season with the Lakers and, in the limited time he saw in New York, was also moving in that direction for the Knicks.
None of this even speaks to whether he can still play at an NBA level, either. I won’t pretend to know what the answer to that question is. While playing in Italy last year, he posted some decent numbers:
Metta World Peace averaged 13.3 ppg and 4.0 rpg in Italy last season.
— HoopsHype (@hoopshype) August 25, 2015
Metta World Peace made 50% of his spot up jump shots while shooting 48% on post ups & 64% in transition with Cantu in Italy last year.
— Synergy Sports Tech (@SynergySST) August 24, 2015
I don’t know how those numbers would translate to the NBA. What I do know is Ron is still “only” 35 and, considering he has always kept himself in top physical form, is likely to be well conditioned enough to give it another go in the NBA — though likely in a very limited role. Whether that chance should come with the Lakers is a different question, but, based on fit and what he could provide, the answer to that is likely “no”.
Still, it’s fun to discuss on a late August day.
Let me start by saying I love Ron – which LAL fan doesn’t?
But I am not at all a fan of bringing him back.
He might be in decent shape but in his last 2 years in the NBA, he had slowed down considerably.
And even if he’s brought in to be a veteran presence to help Randle/Nance/Brown/etc, I just don’t see the upside in signing him.
He’ll cost a roster spot. LA’s got to think about the future.
See if one of the young, unsigned guys, is a diamond in the rough.
See if Holmes can be this Jeff Green-esque small ball 4.
See if Upshaw turns his career around and becomes this shot-blocking machine.
See if maybe Frazier (who literally just signed as I was typing this out) is this sharp-shooting 3&D shooting guard.
And yes, I know you can cut/trade* Sacre/Kelly to make room for some of those guys, but there’s potential opportunity cost in doing that (*Trade assuming they give up a 2nd rounder or something like that).
LA has a roster spot left. That should be used to help build for our future. We already have a few vets, and can always sign player development coaches (I’m sure a lot of former NBAers would be open to this role).
Try to sign as many young guys as possible.
And again, love MWP. But that era is over.
Lakers fans should always remember two words when we think of MWP:
That said, they should not sign him IMO.
For the vet minimum on a non-guaranteed one-year (or two-year with team option) he wouldn’t be bad. I imagine he’d play in very limited situations–8-10 minutes a game at max, while his main job would be acting as a practice monster for the young guys to match up against. If Randle can learn to post up against a long-armed, bull-strong player with quick hands like him it will help his growth quite a bit.
And he might be able to help mentor Upshaw through explaining the early-career demons that he faced to help him avoid the pitfalls.
Thanks for everything Metta but pass…
Yep, I’ll never forget his fabulous game 7 performance vs the Celtics. Not only that, he bookended the series smartly by earning Techs manhandling Pierce in games 1 and 7, thereby sending an unmistakable message.
Thomas Rickard says
There’s no way any of us knows whether or not he is still capable of playing in the NBA, but if he is signing him depens on what the goal is for next year, if it’s to make the playoffs I’d say maybe and then wonder why other choices weren’t made, but if in fact it’s to build for the future then I’d say no, all it would do is take time away from the young players that hopefully will become the core to build around and help attract top talent
T. Rogers says
Ron won me over for good with his game 7 performance. Him and his defensive instincts can be an asset to the young guns. But maybe as an assistant coach. They don’t need him taking up a roster space. Ron’s NBA playing days are far behind him.
Ron Artest’s contribution to our success was huge. He was clearly the MVP of Game 7 (as stated by Phil at the post game conference). The 3 pointer he made in dramatic finishing minutes was a priceless Laker moment.
That said, I can’t believe we are considering signing him. If we sign him it will be a sign that the FO really thinks we can pursue the 8th seed and they think that Ron is the missing Peace of the puzzle.
david h says
darius: if things work out priorly, lakers should consider signing ron artest; and only ron artest.
must be nice to have money to burn…
I am not at all opposed to the Lakers signing Metta World Peace for the following reasons:
1) MWP would serve as a great practice partner for some of the young players such as Anthony Brown, Larry Nance, Jr., Julius Randle, and Jonathan Holmes (should he make the team);
2) he could inculcate in the young players the principles of intense, outstanding, in-your-face defense (whom better to learn it from?); and
3) if Kobe plays, say, 26 mpg and MWP plays 12 and A. Brown plays 12, then that would help ease the rookie into the rotation without having his confidence completely shattered by the likes of Kevin Durant and LeBron James.
A one year Veteran’s minimum contract for all of the above sounds about right. So I would vote yes.
Also, if MWP comes on board, the Lakers would probably have to jettison one (or both) of the following: Ryan Kelly and/or Nick Young. At least one of those would have to go. I’m all in favor of that.
I say do it!
Hard to make a call since none of us have seen the current version. I would prefer MWP earn a slot by outplaying the competition in camp and pre-season.
james katt says
I would waive Ryan Kelly for Ron Artest-Metta World Peace. Ryan Kelly has no natural position on the Lakers. Metta plays small forward better than Ryan Kelly and shoots better than Ryan Kelly as a small forward. And he would certainly play better defense than Ryan Kelly ever could. So I am for waiving Ryan Kelly for Ron Metta World Peace.
J C says
At this stage of his career, MWP would be a great mentor to some of the younger players, in practices and in sharing his defensive mindset.
With limited minutes he’s an asset.
His clutch performances mark him as a special player and a special person.
I vote yes – especially if it means losing Sacre, who is probably a nice guy too but the worst basketball player I’ve seen in a Laker uniform since Kwame. I’d also much prefer MWP over Kelly if it came to that.
I think the team gathers assets and then stashes a man or two on the injured reserve list and a couple for D league development so I think roster space is available.
Lastly, MWP’s attitude and post-game interviews should make for high entertainment value if nothing else.
You cant do wrong giving him a vet deal
1) it would give us a much needed veteran presence in the locker…young guys need leadership
2) he was the best defender in the nba for years, and has the ability to alter shots even when beaten off the dribble, which will happen a lot….especially guys like russell should learn a lot from him…ron could show them how to get around screens, recover and get a hand in their face as well as the worth of playing physical D
3) it would set a nice tone for our youth movement….after all, defense still wins championships (gs was a top-notch defensive squad)
4) we still need a 3&D player
5) 20 – 5rbs – 5stls – hold PP to 5/15 from the field
Nuff said, sign the man! He deserves it, 1 outta 16 belongs to him (at least the way i see it) and he is a massive upgrade to kelly, whom we should let go….
I agree with James Katt. I know and love MWP but the only way we sign him is if we can get rid of Kelly.
I think MWP could be a good influence instilling a defensive mindset. He has also reportedly been having a strong rapport with Randle at the training facility. I have compared Randle at times to being like a bigger version of MWP. However, isn’t that sort of the reasoning behind signing Bass?
However, I’m not too sure where he would get his minutes? Is he going back up Kobe at SF? I don’t see him playing much at PF. Kelly as is I don’t think will play short of catastrophic injuries at PF. So dropping Kelly would basically just be opening the roster spot not adding much depth at PF.
I would see a MWP signing as just rather meh. I do think he could be a great mentor but, then why not just bring him in as a player development coach?
Craig W. says
And now MWP says he knows nothing about talks…
…and we have another dozen articles about this non-event. Dog days is right.
As a resident of NYC, I’ve followed Ron Artest since his High School days at Lasalle Academy and during his time spent at St. John’s University. And although years younger than I am, we competed against each other on the blacktop in a few Summertime Basketball Tournaments in Harlem back in the days. In my opinion, without Ron there’s no way that we walk away with the ‘chip in 2010. He applied the handcuffs to Paul Pierce and locked him up during that series.
With that being said, I don’t believe that signing him would be the right move for the organization. We should be more concerned with on court future player development. Not on the past. Last seen participating in NBA action, Ron was on the downside of his career. Can’t imagine, after playing overseas for a year, that his game would have a sudden rebirth to the point where he can make an impact competing against the best that basketball has to offer in the NBA. A Player Development Coach, as Vasheed stated, would be the best fit at this point and time.
Rick in Seattle says
What do the Lakers have to lose by giving him a camp invite? If he makes the teem, he could probably be signed for the veterans minimum. And, he would certainly play better defense than the Lakers current backup, Nick Young. While he may not be the perfect player to add (I would think the FO would sooner consider someone like a healthy Dorell Wright), Ron would definitely provide some veteran defensive leadership for this very young Lakers squad. I say give him a shot to make the team. What do they have to lose?