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NBA

Don’t Forget About Metta World Peace

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NBA Free Agency is officially underway. Most of the big name free agents have come to terms on new deals. As the offseason drags on, however, and the end of summer nears, there is always a sprinkling of players still waiting to be signed. A lot of the veteran guys who are near the tail end of their careers tend to fall into this group.

Closer to training camp is when some of the older vets tend to ink a new deal, and one of the players who figures to be among that group is Metta World Peace. World Peace will turn 38 years old in November, and averaged career lows in minutes (6.4), points per game (2.3), field goal percentage (27.9 percent), rebounds (0.8) and steals (0.4) last season for the Los Angeles Lakers. He also appeared in only 25 games.

If you ask him, however, he’s not quite ready to hang it up just yet. He still has plans to be on an NBA roster next season.

“A couple more years,” World Peace told Basketball Insiders. “I don’t know how much longer, but a couple more.”

World Peace has come a long way since his Indiana Pacers days and the “Malice at the Palace.” He no longer has the agility and quickness that made him one of the few perimeter players to ever win the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year award as he did in 2004.

The past couple of seasons with the Lakers, he took on the role of veteran mentor to the younger guys on the team. At this point in his career, it’s probably the top quality he can offer a team and the one thing that may allow him to stick around the league for a few more years.

“The guys, they deserve to learn and have someone teach them,” World Peace told Basketball Insiders. “I had someone teach me, that’s why we try to help them too. My role now is to play and have fun, but at the same time you still want to teach them.”

That’s not to say that World Peace still can’t provide some quality minutes on the court here or there when given the opportunity. On Apr. 11, the second to last game of the year, World Peace played a season-high 24 minutes and scored 18 points on 41.2 percent shooting from the field, and 40 percent from the three-point line.

As is often the case, the NBA often decides that a player is retired before the player himself fully accepts it. World Peace knows that his time in the league may be coming to an end soon. Regardless of if that happens sooner rather than later, he does have a backup plan in place.

“I’m in school right now, I’m taking digital analytics. I’m doing coding and social media, I’m in an extension program now,” World Peace told Basketball Insiders. “I already took some business analytics classes. Next year I’m taking my Masters online, and I’m getting my Masters probably in computer science or I might do financing.”

For now, World Peace is keeping himself in game shape by playing in the Los Angeles Drew League. While it is a summer exhibition league, he competes with the same ferocity and intensity that has been his calling card since he first started playing in the NBA.

He is hopeful that he will still manage to attract the eyes of a team once it gets closer to training camp. He is adamant that he still has quite a bit to offer anyone interested in his services.

“Toughness and smarts, I’ve been playing for so long so I kind of know how to play a little bit,” World Peace told Basketball Insiders. “And just some mental toughness.”

For any team looking to fill out the end of their roster near the end of the summer in anticipation for training camp, World Peace might be someone they should consider.

Make sure to follow Basketball Insiders on Twitter at @BBallInsiders.

About David Yapkowitz

David Yapkowitz