The biggest takeaway from Metta World Peace’s press conference with the media following his exit interview with the Los Angeles Lakers front office was that it sounded highly unlikely he’d be returning to the team for another season.
World Peace averaged 2.3 points in 6.4 minutes per game over the course of 25 appearances for the Lakers during the 2016-17 season, and in most cases a player with those numbers either departing their team or not being brought back wouldn’t be anything close to a surprise.
However, it was clear over the last two years that the organization — especially Lakers Head Coach Luke Walton — valued World Peace, so it wouldn’t have been totally out of the question for some to imagine him overcoming the odds to make it to training camp with the team once again to continue mentoring their young players.
World Peace himself made it clear on Twitter Friday that such a hypothetical won’t be coming to pass:
Thanks to Dr.Buss , Jeanie, Jim,PJ, Mitch , Luke, Magic for closing out my @Lakers ball career in fashion.— Metta World Peace (@MettaWorldPeace) April 14, 2017
I had a great time as a player.
The “player” part of that is the part World Peace wants to continue, even with Walton saying during his own exit interview he would welcome his former player and teammate back as a member of the coaching staff:
I'm very excited for the future. Still balling and eventually coaching. https://t.co/oVS39Tgd7O— Metta World Peace (@MettaWorldPeace) April 14, 2017
World Peace has said multiple times that he hopes to play 20 years professionally (including overseas), meaning that it may be three years before he’s “eventually coaching.”
His send-off in the Lakers’ final home game, featuring a season-high 18 points amid multiple standing ovations from STAPLES Center, was just about perfect. His role in the 2010 Championship the Lakers’ won will never be forgotten.
World Peace just has a bit more playing to do, and then, from the sound of the reverence his young teammates had for him all season, he would make a great addition to the Lakers’ coaching staff should he choose to go that route.
Peace out, Metta.