Reports: Metta World Peace exercises player option

In a move that surprised no one, Metta World Peace exercised his player option for 2013-14 on Tuesday to stay with the Los Angeles Lakers, according to multiple reports.

World Peace is set to make $7.7 million in the final year of his contract with the Lakers, which is more than he’d likely command in free agency. Tuesday was the deadline by which World Peace had to make his decision.

World Peace’s four-season tenure with the Lakers has hardly been the smoothest, but he did win a ring in Los Angeles in 2010. However, he’s best remembered for his odd outbursts and the seven-game suspension he faced in 2012 for elbowing then-Thunder guard James Harden.

Over the course of his four seasons in Los Angeles, World Peace has averaged 9.9 points and 4.0 rebounds while starting in 270 of 298 games. He saw something of a resurgence in 2012-13, averaging 12.4 points to his 7.7 in the previous season. As strange as his off-the-court persona may be, World Peace has been something of a fan favorite in Los Angeles, especially after he returned from a meniscus tear in just 18 days after doctors estimated it would take him six weeks.

Now, though, it is decision time for the Lakers. Looking to shed oversized contracts and thus decrease their luxury tax payments this offseason, World Peace looks to be a likely player on the chopping block, whether that’s through a trade or the team exercising its amnesty clause. Amnestying the 33-year-old seems like it might be the more realistic outcome, as he won’t likely command much on the trade market, and the team still might have a need for Pau Gasol, the other player upon whom it could bestow its amnesty.

For now, though, World Peace is on the team’s 2013-14 roster, and he’ll remain there in the near term as the Lakers begin to piece together their plan for next season while free agency unfolds.

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