Metta World Peace
The Los Angeles Lakers are interested in signing free agent forward Metta World Peace to a one-year deal. REUTERS/Tim Shaffer (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)

The Los Angeles Lakers are reportedly interested in signing free agent Metta World Peace, bringing back the forward that helped Lakerland to win its 16th NBA championship in 2010. World Peace, also known as Ron Artest before he changed his name in 2011, is pursuing an NBA comeback after spending the last two seasons playing in China and Italy.

According to Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski, the Lakers are discussing the possibility of bringing back World Peace to a one-year contract. Although there is no deal agreed upon yet, the report suggested that there have already been talks between the Lakers’ management and World Peace’s representatives.

“There are varying degrees of interest within the Lakers organization about bringing him back to the franchise at 35 years old, although the idea has been met with enthusiasm from Lakers star Kobe Bryant, league sources told Yahoo Sports,” Wojnarowski wrote.

The Lakers failed to lure a superstar who can help the franchise get back into title contention during this summer’s free agency, losing out on big names like Lamarcus Aldridge, Greg Monroe, and Kevin Love. However, Los Angeles significantly upgraded its roster from last season after landing Lou Williams, Brandon Bass, and Roy Hibbert, and the emergence of youngsters Jordan Clarkson, Julius Randle, and 2015 first round draft pick D’Angelo Russell.

Despite the lineup’s promising production for next season, the Lakers are still lacking depth at the small forward position. LA’s small forward rotation involves Nick Young, and rookies Larry Nance Jr., and Anthony Brown. Young is the only legitimate SF who can instantly contribute, although Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant may play at small forward next season.

However, NBC Sports suggested that bringing back MWP will not work and would only be a “return to the past” for an organization that has been left out by the league’s new era. The Lakers have potentially superb young players to help them move into the future, but if the club signs World Peace, they can only expect the 35-year-old to come off the bench and mentor Nance Jr. and Brown in becoming elite defensive stoppers.

World Peace has been in the Lakers’ practice facility this offseason, playing against some of Los Angeles’ players, including Randle. MWP played four season with the Lakers from 2009-2013, but was amnestied in his last year with the club. He then signed with the New York Knicks, but was waived during the 2013-2014 season. Although World Peace averaged 13.3 points in Italy, it will be hard to believe he could duplicate his performance in a competitive NBA level.

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