Metta World Peace is reportedly undecided about whether or not he will opt out of his contract, but losing him wouldn't be the worst thing that could happen to the Los Angeles Lakers this upcoming season.
Eric Pincus of Hoopsworld spoke with the veteran small forward, who told him he hasn't decided yet on his early termination option:
Metta World Peace told me Wednesday that he hasn't decided yet on his early termination option - he seemed legitimately happy to see me— Eric Pincus (@EricPincus) June 20, 2013
The 14-year veteran will turn 34 years old later this year, and it's clear his best days are behind him.
Never a strong shooter (41.7 percent from the floor and 34.2 percent from behind the arc), World Peace has made his bones in the NBA throughout his career by dominating on the defensive end of the court and with his contributions on the glass.
World Peace is set to earn approximately $7.73 million next season (h/t Hoopsworld.com). The money itself won't have any impact on the team's salary-cap situation, however, which is out of control.
According to Pincus (via the Los Angeles Times), the Lakers hope to re-sign Dwight Howard, in which case the team's salary-cap number would hover somewhere around $100 million—nearly $30 million over the expected tax threshold of $71.5 million.
It doesn't matter if World Peace stays or goes—either way the Lakers will be in deep as it pertains to the luxury tax.
The big issue facing the Lakers right now is that if Howard is going to be at the heart of the team's plans, then the team needs more shooters to run Mike D'Antoni's offense.
Furthermore, the team needs to get younger and more athletic on the wing. D'Antoni's preferred style of play is a frenetic, up-and-down game in which his offense wears down the opposing defense by sheer volume.
Losing World Peace would allow guys like Earl Clark and Devin Ebanks a chance to either prove their worth or prove they don't belong. Both players will be free agents after the 2013-2014 season—as well every player on Los Angeles' roster not named Steve Nash, via Hoopsworld.com.
Losing World Peace would be _____ for the Lakers next season.
It's time for the youth movement to begin in earnest for the Lakers.
Should World Peace decide to opt out of his contract and pursue one final long-term deal with another club, it certainly wouldn't hurt the team's chances next season—chances that are slim, no matter how you slice it.
If anything, a roster without World Peace would allow the front office to evaluate its younger players and plan for its pivotal 2014-2015 season.
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