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Metta World Peace Makes Lakers Roster: Latest Comments and Reaction

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistOctober 24, 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)
Juan Ocampo/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Lakers announced the release of guard Anthony Brown on Monday, surprisingly finalizing their roster with both Metta World Peace and Thomas Robinson as part of the final 15.

After the team previously waived Yi Jianlian earlier in the day, it was largely thought the last roster spot would come down to World Peace and Robinson, both on non-guaranteed contracts. The NBA requires all teams to have their opening-night rosters finalized by 5 p.m. ET.

World Peace, 36, played in only two games during the preseason and did not make a shot. ESPN.com's Marc Stein and Ramona Shelburne previously reported last Friday the Lakers were considering World Peace for an assistant coaching job, though he preferred to continue playing.

"He's part of the culture we're trying to build," Lakers coach Luke Walton said, per Tania Ganguli of the Los Angeles Times. "It's about having good people around."

World Peace returned to the Lakers last season after being out of the NBA in 2014-15. He made the roster out of training camp and averaged 5.0 points and 2.5 rebounds in 35 appearances. Nearly all of his shooting splits reached career lows, and World Peace had the slow feet of a man in his mid-30s on defense.

The Lakers, a youth-laden bunch in the midst of the worst stretch of seasons in franchise history, nonetheless found World Peace invaluable as a teammate.

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Guard D'Angelo Russell said the following of the veteran, per Ganguli:

He didn't treat me like a young player. He treated me like that's an excuse, being a young guy is an excuse, you can definitely attack it by being the best you can be at that age or the best you can be being a first-year player and stuff like that. So it was a different angle that I wanted to attack my first year and he helped me with it.

World Peace seemingly centered himself when he arrived in Los Angeles following a turbulent past, which included his involvement in the Malice at the Palace in 2004. He was a critical contributor on the franchise's last championship team and spent the latter part of his career building a special relationship with star Kobe Bryant.

"Well, I used to be a bad teammate," World Peace said, per Ganguli. "I don't know if I changed. I got back to what I was. Sometimes when you go through life, you forget who you are."

Keeping World Peace is a surprising show of faith given his rather minimal contributions on the floor at this juncture. Brown is a 24-year-old swingman who was taken with the No. 34 pick in last year's draft; there's still a real possibility he develops into a rotation player down the line.

World Peace probably won't do much for this team other than serve as a mentor from the end of the bench. That's something he could have done as a coach.

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