The new Guaynabo Mets want to make noise on their return to the Baloncesto Superior Nacional (BSN) and, to do so, they are considering to hire a former NBA star to take the reins of the metropolitan team.
El Nuevo Día learned that the candidate to lead the team is former player Metta World Peace, who was known as Ron Artest when he played at St. John's and an NBA champion with the Los Angeles Lakers.
When asked about the candidate, the Guaynabo Mets general manager Alfredo “Piraña” Morales neither denied nor confirmed that the former star of the best basketball league was in conversations to come to the island.
“They (owners Marc Grossman and Mark Linder) are in charge of hiring an NBA star. Once they tell me, I can confirm,” Morales told this newspaper during the official presentation of the expansion franchise at the Sports Museum.
Morales did reveal that the candidate was a successful NBA player and that he works in the technical staff of the South Bay Lakers, the G-League affiliate of the Los Angeles Lakers.
In fact, World Peace worked as a player development coach with the South Bay Lakers,
in 2017. Since then, the former 40-year-old defender has pursued a career as a coach. Recently, he expressed on social media his interest in leading the New York Knicks, which recently fired coach David Fizdale. He also showed interest in working with St. John's University, where he participated in college basketball.
World Peace played for six NBA teams in 17 seasons. He stood out for his defensive skills and was awarded NBA Defensive Player of the Year in the 2003-04 season when he was also named an NBA All-Star. He won the NBA championship alongside retired Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol in 2009-10.
He also became known after a fight between players and fans in 2004 at the Auburn Hills Palace when the Indiana Pacers visited the Detroit Pistons. As a result, he was suspended for 86 games, the most severe punishment by the league. He lost over $ 4 million due to the incident.
Morales added that Linder asked to evaluate other coaches. Spanish Francisco "Paco" Olmos, Allans Colón, Carlos Calcaño, and Roberto "Bobby" Porrata were evaluated.
They will announce the new coach this or next week. Morales said the coach will have to be available immediately to begin the process of recruiting.
Both Olmos and Colón are working in teams in Mexico’s National Professional Basketball League with aspirations to the playoffs. Olmos is in the champion Fuerza Regia and Colón with the Mineros Zacatecas.
If an American coach is hired, the assistants will be local.
“We want a coach who has played, who knows the game and who knows the players' feelings. If he is from the United States, we want to work with Puerto Rican assistants, assistants who know the culture and can help the coach to know about the league. But, we are not going to close down any alternative,” Morales said.
The Mets will return to the BSN as an expansion franchise in a municipality that has not seen basketball since 2015.