Metta World Peace might soon be coming to China if reports in America and China are to be believed. According to Sina Sports, Sichuan Blue Whales’ GM Jie Geng flew to Los Angeles earlier this week to discuss terms on a deal with World Peace, who had also been receiving offers from China, courtesy of the Xinjiang Tigers, and teams from Turkey. Jie confirmed to Sina that the team had originally been looking to pick up a center but the American would be an ideal alternative and would allow them to start one of their young big men alongside World Peace.
World Peace has been a rumored target for CBA teams for over a year. Although at thirty-four, his NBA days are probably behind him, he would still have the game and the physicality to survive in China. Sichuan, who have already resigned shooting guard Mike Efevberha for the coming year, only need to sign one more overseas player before they can focus their efforts on their strengthening their local roster.
In theory, World Peace could play both forward positions but a lot depends on what the Whales do with their Chinese players. If the experienced but oft-injured point guard Lu Xiaoming can be persuaded to come back for one last season, Sichuan might be tempted to run a small ball line-up with MWP at the four and Efevberha and the streaky Jet Chang lurking on the wings. That would be an ideal scenario for the Whales, who will need to add some grit to their somewhat porous front court and World Peace could also help stretch the floor (as implausible a sentence as that sounds in 2014).
Sichuan, who were the talk of Chinese basketball this time last year, only to quickly implode in their debut CBA season, dearly need veteran leadership and World Peace, again as implausible as it sounds in 2014 (or ever), will be able to give that to a still developing Whales roster.
The former Laker, who tellingly was not picked up by a play-off team following his release from the Knicks six months ago, probably knows the CBA is his best option. Given the fact that he will probably be able to collect a cool $500k (edit: it could be upwards of $1.3m according to a report in Sohu) for five months work, one should expect to see him in the CBA this season barring something unexpected.