Rumor no more! On Thursday night, the Los Angeles Lakers officially waived Metta World Peace, formerly known as Ron Artest.
The 33-year-old controversial small forward, who seemed to be carefree towards the matter, wasted no time taking to Twitter a few days ago to show his admiration for the New York Knicks by wearing the club’s hat.
The forward also joked and claimed in a few tweets that he’ll probably play for the L.A. Kings or Yao Ming’s basketball team in China.
Under the Queens native’s contract with the Lakers, the team must still pay him $7.7 million.
As for World Peace’s love for the Knicks, his father, Ron Artest Sr., said his son dreamed of playing for the team ever since his childhood, and reportedly would like to finish his NBA career in New York.
“My gut feels like if the Knicks want him now, my gut tells me it will happen,” Artest Sr. told the New York Post. “I haven’t spoken to him yet tonight. I think he could be a prize possession for the Knicks. He wanted to play for the Knicks for so long, since childhood.”
The Knicks, on the other hand, have show interest in the Queensbridge product. In Las Vegas, during the Knicks’ summer league games, coach Woodson shared his views on Peace’s possibly joining the team.
“(General Manager) Glen (Grunwald) is coming up and we’ll sit and talk more about him,” said Woodson. We don’t have to rush to do anything. The core group is intact that won 54 games last year. That player or two, could slip through the cracks with amnesty or someone waived or bought out. It can happen. We got to sit patiently and keep roster spots open to see if that may happen.”
However, there are eleven other teams under the salary cap that may prevent the Knicks from making a bid on the former St. John’s star, since teams under the cap get first bid on waived players according to the amnesty provision.
Peace, while expressing interest in playing for the Knicks, also has his eyes on several other NBA teams including the Brooklyn Nets, Chicago Bulls, Miami Heat, Oklahoma City Thunder, San Antonio Spurs and the Indiana Pacers.
While some share mixed feelings about the forward’s history of unruly antics on the court, such as last year’s attack elbow attack on Harden, there’s no debate that Peace would be a good asset to the Knicks.
The free agent, who has played in the NBA for 14 seasons, averaged 12.5 points and 5 rebounds per game for the Lakers last season. In addition, he was awarded the 2004 Defensive Player of the Year for gaining the reputation as one of the league’s elite defenders.
Since the Knicks are on the market in search for their next wing man who can defend and make 3-point shots along side Carmelo Anthony, Peace would be an ideal candidate.
It’s important to note that if the small forward is not claimed by a team with financial flexibility, he becomes an unrestricted free agent and may sign with the Knicks, receiving $1.7 million or the veterans minimum.
However, if he is claimed by a small market team and chooses not to play with them, he may be required to go back on the waiver wire. In order to be cleared and become an unrestricted agent, he would have to come to a buyout agreement with the team that bids on him, according to the National Basketball Player’s Association.
But Peace’s agent says that if his client was to be claimed by a small market team, he may just retire from the NBA.