Earlier today we told you about how, after the Lakers announced some front office promotions, Mitch Kupchak went on the record with Sam Amick from USA Today to discuss the moves. Well, Amick also brings us updates from Kupchak on the team’s interest in Metta World Peace:
“We’ve got a couple more weeks (until training camp). Our roster’s not complete. And we’ll just take it from there. Nothing’s imminent in terms of a signing anytime soon, but it’s hard not to watch a guy when he’s in your gym every day going up and down the court, working with young guys, playing hard. Part of me says he can still play, so I don’t know where we’re going to end up on it. But that’s kind of where it is.”
For what it’s worth, Kupchak isn’t the only front office decision maker in town who has positive things to say about MWP. In a recent interview with Colin Cowherd, Clippers head coach and president echoed sentiments of Metta’s good form:
Doc Rivers says Metta World Peace looks great, has worked out at their facility, & he could see a team signing him. http://t.co/Gp6s2Agaun
— Herd w/Colin Cowherd (@TheHerd) September 10, 2015
Reading the tea leaves, it would not surprise me if MWP ends up in Lakers’ camp. Whether he makes the team is another story, but reading Kupchak’s comments and knowing the work he’s been putting in with Julius Randle leads me to believe they’ll want to measure him against the young players they have in camp to see if is worth a roster spot.
One player who would surely be happy to see Metta in Hawaii would be Kobe Bryant. The latter was not especially pleased when the former was released with the amnesty provision after the 2012 season and would surely welcome him back with open arms.
The question is, though, will Kobe actually be ready for camp? Kupchak says he should be:
“My understanding is that he’ll be ready for camp,” said Kupchak, whose team has exhibition games scheduled at the University of Hawaii against the Utah Jazz on Oct. 4 and Oct. 6. “Knowing Kobe, he will try to participate in every practice in camp. But myself and (head coach) Byron (Scott) are going to have something to say about that. So I’m sure there will be a practice or two or three where we won’t let him practice, but I do expect him to be full bore at camp.”
The last part of that statement is really more important than the first part. In last year’s training camp Kobe was going all out in drills, winning sprints, and, basically, trying show the rest of the team the standard of work expected in camp. Kobe flexing his fitness only led to Byron Scott overusing him to start the season, leading to dead legs at the end of games.
A smarter approach is needed this year and I’m happy to hear Kupchak and Scott recognize this. Whether or not this leads to any sort of better year from Kobe remains to be seen. It’s certainly more than fair to be skeptical it will. Recent history almost demands it. But, at least from the sounds of things, they’re going to give Kobe and the team the best chance to prove the skeptics wrong.