May 21, 2012; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward Metta World Peace (15) reacts to a technical foul call in action against the Oklahoma City Thunder during the first half in game five of the Western Conference semifinals of the 2012 NBA Playoffs at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-US PRESSWIRE

Lakers Roster Review: Metta World Peace

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Vitals

Age: 32

NBA Experience: 13 Years

Contract Status: Signed thru 2013-14

2011-12 Averages: 7.7 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 26.9 mpg, 39% FG, 61% FT, 29% 3PT, 1.0 spg

It is getting increasingly difficult to find positive things to say about the man former known as Ron Artest. He might have changed his name but Metta World Peace has lost his game in the process.

When he first arrived in L.A. the then Artest was able to overcome his shortcomings by coming up big in some crucial moments. Winning a championship helped to mask Metta’s bloated salary relative to his lackluster production.

The problem is now we’re looking at two straight years of a premature playoff exits both of which featured little to no production from World Peace. His numbers keeping hitting career lows as his career itself slowly fades into the L.A. sunset.

Now before this turns into a full on Metta bash let’s get a couple of things clear. When he’s in shape, engaged and focused World Peace is still a difference maker. Look to Metta’s harassment of the Clippers and his Game 7 performance against the Nuggets as evidence of that. World Peace also upped his game when Kobe Bryant missed time due to a nagging shin injury. So you know there’s still gas in the tank. The problem is getting Metta’s engine running.

World Peace did himself no favors by relaxing during the lockout. He reported to camp out of shape and was a complete non-factor for more than half of the rushed season. To be fair Mike Brown didn’t exactly have a great plan in place to utilize World Peace either. After the failed experiment of making Metta a sixth man, it became clear that if he didn’t start he wouldn’t contribute.

So here the Lakers stand with two more years and $14-million owed to the former Artest. There is almost no chance a team will take on the non-expiring deal of a non-contributing player coming off the worst season of his career.

Amnesty could come calling for World Peace unless he stays true to his promise and takes this summer to get in great shape for the upcoming season. Entertaining roles in a British soap operas and going on reality dance competitions isn’t such a bad thing when you’re hanging banners. But when you’re part of a team that hasn’t made it out of the second round for two years running then all those antics become a distraction. And for a team trying to right the championship ship distractions are very unwelcomed.

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Tags: Kobe Bryant Metta World Peace Mike Brown Ron Artest

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