Lakers Reportedly Interested in Metta World Peace Becoming Assistant Coach

Tim DanielsFeatured ColumnistOctober 21, 2016

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 7: Luke Walton and Metta World Peace #37 of the Los Angeles Lakers are seen against the Denver Nuggets during a preseason game on October 7, 2016 at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2016 NBAE (Photo by Juan Ocampo/NBAE via Getty Images)
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The Los Angeles Lakers are reportedly considering a plan to offer Metta World Peace a place on the coaching staff if he doesn't make the team's final 15-man roster. 

Marc Stein and Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.com reported Friday the Lakers believe the 36-year-old veteran would be a positive influence on their young roster if he's prepared to make the quick transition to coaching as an assistant to Luke Walton.

World Peace, previously known as Ron Artest and The Panda's Friend, might not be ready to commit to retirement, though. Sources told ESPN.com he's expected to seek other options to keep playing if the Lakers let him go before Monday's roster deadline.

In August, he told ESPN.com's Ian Begley he's still confident in his playing ability. The 2004 Defensive Player of the Year explained his lackluster numbers with Los Angeles last season were merely due to a lack of playing time.

"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," World Peace said. "But you know, I'll be supportive [if I don't play]. But the only thing that gets me frustrated with the whole basketball is people think I can't play anymore."

Yet, he's already gained experience in helping players in a mentor role, too. He discussed that behind-the-scenes work with Begley.

"Right now, I'm life coaching a lot of people that are in the NBA," he said. "I can't say [who]. But I coach a couple players. But it's not a thing where I'm going to hide and be that perfect mentor. I just give them the best advice I can and live my life accordingly."

World Peace added: "I'm doing that now and one day I would love to coach."

Ultimately, he could be forced to make a choice about his long-term future sooner than he anticipated if the Lakers decide he's not worth a roster spot. He's previously showed a willingness to go overseas to China and Italy to play, but it's unclear whether he'd be interested in that route again if no NBA jobs are available.

World Peace has gone through some trials and tribulations throughout his career, including the infamous Malice at the Palace in 2004, but he's emerged as somebody the Lakers hope can help Brandon Ingram, D'Angelo Russell and Julius Randle on their journeys toward stardom.