The 35-year-old forward landed a spot on the team's 15-man regular-season roster Monday, when the Lakers announced they had waived second-year guard Jabari Brown instead of World Peace, who played with the Lakers from 2009 to 2013.
Lakers coach Byron Scott called it a "very, very, very ... difficult decision" to waive Brown and added that "It was probably the most difficult cut that I've ever had to make." But Scott said that with such a young roster, it was important to add a veteran who could mentor players.
"I think Metta is the type of guy that can keep everybody together as well," Scott added.
World Peace had been out of the NBA for a year after playing for the New York Knicks in 2013-14. The Lakers consider his defense and veteran leadership valuable, especially for a team with a young core featuring 2014 draft picks Julius Randle and Jordan Clarkson and 2015 No. 2 pick D'Angelo Russell.
Of those three young players, World Peace has spent the most time mentoring Randle, the No. 7 pick in 2014. Randle broke his leg in his NBA debut in October and sat out the rest of the season.
World Peace seemed rather calm about making the roster.
"Some would say I would feel relief and joy, but it is a flat emotion because I'm focused on one thing," he said. "My goals didn't change. From the first day I signed my non-guaranteed contract, I wanted to come here and try to win a championship. My goals didn't change, so there's nothing to feel."
Still, he reflected on his journey after being out of the NBA a year ago.
"It's been interesting," he said. "[It's] the first time I've ever been in a situation where I was non-guaranteed and fighting for a spot. But I don't change as a person. I try to keep my beliefs intact and strong and enjoy the process of life."
"The only thing I can say is it's harder than people think," he added. "It wasn't easy being a vet and trying to get back in the league. It was not easy. It was like working hard all over again. So I don't want people to think that I just didn't work and somehow got lucky."
World Peace averaged 9.9 points and 4.0 rebounds per game in his four-year stint with the Lakers. He played a crucial role in the Lakers' win over the Boston Celtics in Game 7 of the 2010 NBA Finals. The Lakers used the amnesty clause on World Peace after the 2012-13 season.
World Peace said he might transition into coaching after his NBA career.
"It would be fun," he said. "I mean, who wouldn't want to be a coach? It's a great life."