Metta World Peace was an integral part of the Lakers’ back-to-back championships in 2009 and 2010, especially the latter during which he sunk a crucial three-pointer in the waning moments of Game 7 against the Celtics. But he’s been on the steady decline ever since, and even spent a couple of years playing in Italy and China before (shockingly) re-signing with the Lakers prior to last season, for what they then described mainly as a mentorship role.
Not surprisingly, there weren’t a whole lot of opportunities available to the 36-year-old forward, what with the organization trying to juggle Kobe Bryant’s season-long farewell tour while simultaneously trying to develop their young nucleus. World Peace, however, believes he could’ve been productive, if given the chance. Via Ian Begley of ESPN.com:
I’m waiting for teams. I can still play. I can play, it’s not even a question man. But, you know, sometimes you don’t get in the game, man. What are you going to do? I’m not going to be upset, I’m going to support. So if I don’t play, like this year on the Lakers I could have averaged 15 or 20 on the Lakers if I played, easily. But you know, I’ll be supportive . But the only thing that gets me frustrated with the whole basketball is people think I can’t play anymore. So as a man, I take that personally.
The only problem is that the evidence doesn’t appear to support those outlandish claims. He averaged five points per game last season in nearly 17 minutes of action, and what’s worse, shot just 31.1 percent from the field. The Lakers, understandably, aren’t rushing to offer him a new contract, nor is anyone else, for that matter. But World Peace shouldn’t give up hope just yet. There’s always the Knicks.