When it comes to Metta World Peace, two words pop in my head: Game 7.
The “Artest formerly known as Ron” was brilliant on both sides of the floor out-playing his Boston Celtics counterpart, Paul Pierce, in Game 7 of the 2010 NBA Finals. He played his best game for the Los Angeles Lakers when they needed it the most. Laker fans will be forever grateful for his much needed 20-point performance that helped bring home the franchise’s 16th banner.
Fast forward to the 2013 offseason.
The Lakers are an aging roster with many flaws. Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash and Paul Gasol are all trying to recover from injuries from last season. Dwight Howard has the option to walk away from L.A. for nothing once free agency opens. And the luxury tax? Forget about it — it is like the Lakers are paying for two rosters, not just one.
So where does that leave World Peace in all of this? Basically, the odd man out.
World Peace is still a very good defender and can still score the basketball at times, but he is getting up there in age. The Lakers need to get younger and more athletic. Teams like the Oklahoma City Thunder, Los Angeles Clippers, Houston Rockets, Denver Nuggets and Golden State Warriors are going to give the Lakers all kinds of problems with their collection of talent, youth and quickness for years to come.
Face it Laker Nation, there is no getting around that. So what L.A. has to do is fight fire with fire and shed off some dead weight immediately.
World Peace needs to be amnestied to allow the Lakers to save some luxury tax money and it would give someone like a Earl Clark or a Devin Ebanks to get a realistic shot to see if they can be formidable peaces to the Lakers’ puzzle moving forward. Plus, we all know what is happening when the 2014 offseason hits: financial flexibility.
World Peace, along with Antwan Jamison (failed experiment) and Chris Duhon (a waste of a perfectly good roster spot), cannot be on the roster coming into training camp next season. The Lakers will not be any better with them, but they can definitely be a better basketball team without them.
The youth movement needs to begin now.