Kobe Bryant is met by Metta World Peace after leaving a game against the Warriors. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles…)
Metta World Peace was having one of his best seasons as a Laker -- until he tore the meniscus in his left knee.
Although he was expected to be out for at least six weeks, the veteran forward was back in the lineup 12 days after surgery. The effort was commendable but World Peace was significantly limited on his return. By the post-season, he was a non-factor, sitting the final game as the San Antonio Spurs swept the Lakers.
On the year, World Peace averaged 12.4 points a game on 40.3% shooting from the field and 34.2% from three-point range. In the post-season, he limped through with just six points a game on 25% and 14.3% shooting, respectively.
World Peace had stretches of inconsistency throughout the year but he made a significant jump from last season's 7.7 points on 39.4% and 29.6% shooting.
Injuries to Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol and Jordan Hill saw World Peace playing out of position at power forward and even center. When the Lakers made a mid-December push, he averaged 18.7 points over six games.
World Peace has an early-termination option, which could make him a free agent this summer. Throughout the season, he admitted that he was thinking about opting out but the injury may push him to take the final $7.7 million left on his deal.
If he does, the Lakers might consider using their one-time amnesty to let him go. Though World Peace would still get his salary, the Lakers could save in the neighborhood of $30 million.
The Lakers need to add talent, but finances may affect the roster when the amnesty decision is made in July.
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Email Eric Pincus at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @EricPincus.