It was only a matter of time until the Lakers reached the crossroads with Ron Artest. They knew that when they signed him. In his first season as a Laker Ron Ron shook off a disappointing season with some clutch moments during L.A.’s title run. It’s been all downhill since.
The Lakers gave World Peace a chance after he showed up to camp out of shape. They stuck by him after he showed more interest in becoming a British soap opera star than a premier perimeter defender.
Every approach has been taken from Phil Jackson’s confrontational style to Mike Brown’s do-as-you-wish philosophy. Same results. Metta was lost in the triangle offense, confused as a sixth man and now he should be out of the mix in Los Angeles.
Whatever punishment the league hands down for Metta’s Bones Jones move on James Harden the Lakers should extend it to a permanent dismissal from the team.
The Lakers could have been swept just as easily by the Dallas Mavericks with or without World Peace. Clearly they didn’t need his services to beat Oklahoma City yesterday. Despite his improved play recently the Lakers are still struggling on defense which was supposed to be his forte.
At this point what do the Lakers get from Metta World Peace that they couldn’t from Matt Barnes and Devin Ebanks? Besides, of course, flailing elbows that leave star sixth men concussed.
Metta’s numbers continue to reach career lows with each passing year as a Laker. His salary isn’t worth the lack of production and certainly not worth the headache of his continued troubles. Just when you think he’s turned the corner, World Peace goes Artest and all the initial concerns come back into the forefront.
Before this season began I was begging for the Lakers to amnesty World Peace. It’s too late in the game for that but it’s never too soon to keep him away from team. At this point in the season the Lakers need players they can rely on. Given Andrew Bynum’s inconsistent temperament it stands to reason the last thing L.A. needs is to have two starters with the potential to miss games due to suspension.
Between those two it goes without saying which is more important to any title chances the Lakers might have. Bynum at least has the excuse of being young. The hope is he’ll grow out of it. As for Metta, this is who is. That’s not going to change. That’s why it’s time for the Lakers to officially get out of the World Peace market once and for all. They can win and lose just as easily without him and if you don’t believe it just wait and see what this team looks like once he’s suspended.