Jun 25, 2013, 12:51 PM EDT
The Lakers will have Metta World Peace on their 2013-14 roster, at least until the team decides otherwise.
World Peace had a player option in the neighborhood of $7.7 million to play out the final year of his contract in Los Angeles. He could have chosen to become an unrestricted free agent instead, but that dollar figure — along with continuing to play for a Lakers team he’s been with for the last four seasons — likely made his decision an easy one.
From Sam Amick of USA Today:
Metta World Peace is staying put with the Los Angeles Lakers.
According to a person with knowledge of the situation, the veteran small forward will play out the final year of his contract (worth $7.7 million) rather than exercise the early termination option on his deal. The person spoke to USA TODAY Sports on the condition of anonymity because the decision had not yet been made public.
World Peace had until Tuesday to make his decision …
World Peace, like the majority of his Lakers teammates last season, played through some injury issues. Most notable was his extremely quick return from a torn meniscus; World Peace managed to make it back onto the court in just 18 days, after surgery that had an estimated recovery time of six weeks.
While that level of commitment is appreciated, the team is expected to take a close look at whether or not they will enter next season with World Peace as part of the plan.
The Lakers are looking to shed salary anywhere they can in order to avoid paying significant luxury tax dollars, and World Peace’s contract — whether by amnesty or by trade — is a good place to start.
There’s plenty of uncertainty with the Lakers next season — Kobe Bryant‘s return from an Achilles injury, Dwight Howard‘s pending decision, and what the team chooses to do with Pau Gasol will all be major factors in determining whether or not L.A. can contend for a championship.
For now, one piece has fallen into place in terms of World Peace remaining on the roster, should the team choose to allow him to stay.