On Monday, the Los Angeles Lakers made two cuts and finalized their 2016-17 NBA regular season roster, with Metta World Peace making the cut. Yes, the Lakers have yet another year of World Peace on the way.
Anthony Brown came as the surprise omission from the squad, as the second round pick in 2015 was waived by the team after a lackluster rookie season and an equally unimpressive preseason. Previously, Yi Jianlian had reportedly asked to be released from his contract after it became clear the Lakers did not have a prominent role for the big man from China.
The Lakers obliged with that request on Monday morning and dropped the bomb that Brown would also not be part of the 2016-17 roster. Lakers coach Luke Walton cited the bulk of young talent and the numerous players at the position but still called the decision to release Brown "tough."
With Brown and Yi out, that meant World Peace and Thomas Robinson secured the final two roster spots.
Walton said about World Peace, "He's great. He comes in every day, he stay after, he runs, he does conditioning, he talks to the younger guys all the time about his experiences about what he sees."
Walton added, "He's somebody I trust that I can talk to about what's going on."
Previously, reports had linked World Peace with possibly earning a spot on the Lakers' coaching staff, but the player seemingly did not seem interested. At Monday's practice, the 36-year-old said he hoped to play 20 seasons and continued to look after his body in a manner that would allow him to play beyond the current season.
When asked what the difference between World Peace being an assistant or being an veteran player would be in relation to the team, the Lakers' coach responded, "Everything."
"You can have the best relationship in the world with your players," Walton continued. "Unless you're out there going through what they're going through, it's a completely different relationship. So when one of your teammates tells you something when you're pissed off or you're frustrated about something, you listen, at least I tended to listen, to my teammates much more than somebody that wasn't in the trenches."
With regards to Robinson, Walton said he was "shocked" that a player with his work ethic, ability and attitude had not found a stable home in the NBA. Walton made sure to emphasize that Robinson "earned" his spot by playing hard, fighting for every possession and, similar to World Peace, giving the team added toughness.
Robinson joked after Monday's practice, "They could have called me last night at least. I didn't get to sleep. I'm tired as hell."