World Peace’s Memorable Run Ends

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HANG TIME WEST – There now. That wasn’t so bad, was it?

The Lakers survived Ron Artest-turned-Metta World Peace through four seasons, two names, two uniform numbers, one championship podium, one shooting slump (of about four seasons) and one continuous slide of his once-formidable defense. It’s all good, in other words.

In the final tally – and the best perspective as World Peace heads into free agency with the Orange County Register’s Kevin Ding reporting that World Peace will be amnestied – he was among the least of the Lakers’ problems. Try getting odds on that when they came together in summer of 2009 in a risky choice as management broke up a title lineup and chose then-Artest over bringing back Trevor Ariza, but the eye-rubbing truth is that the biggest issue with the starting small forward by any name was his play, and that’s a victory given his past.

He was quirky, to be sure. But that’s pretty common around the league by now and more than acceptable around the locker room that has known open superstar combat while winning championships.

The Lakers were close to heartless in two consecutive playoffs and most of the regular season of a third, coach Phil Jackson left, Mike Brown was under constant public pressure and finally asked to leave, there was discussion about a Jackson return, Mike D’Antoni was a controversial replacement, E! News showed up to training camp after Lamar Odom married a Kardashian, Magic Johnson was not shy about tipping over gas cans and flicking matches with public comments, Dwight Howard came, Dwight Howard went, Chris Paul was nearly acquired, Pau Gasol was forever in trade talks, and, oh, yeah, Kobe Bryant was in there somewhere.

“Among the least of the problems” might be a soft sell.

Winning a title the first season, 2009-10, justified the front office swapping Ariza for Artest, with the bonus validation of Artest in a starring role. He grabbed Bryant’s errant jumper/assist out of the air for the layup that gave the Lakers a back-breaking Game 5 win over the Suns in the Western Conference finals, a series they wrapped up in Phoenix in Game 6. Then, in Game 7 of The Finals against the Celtics, with both teams grinding gears on offense, he hit a clutch 3-pointer and finished with 20 points, five rebounds and five steals to get the Lakers over the finish line. Reaching the podium with his mind racing and thoughts coming in ricocheting tangents meant anything was possible, and not all good, but it turned out to be delightfully quirky Artest.

He did great things, playing an important role to help drive the Lakers to another crown and off the court raising awareness of mental-health issues and specifically working to improve care for youths. He auctioned off his championship ring for the cause and considered other fundraisers for future titles that never came.

The breakup could be seen coming from a long distance. It was a possibility all along anyway, and the Lakers falling out of title contention when Howard jumped to the Rockets all but clinched the decision to amnesty World Peace and save approximately $30 million. News of the impending departure comes the same week it was announced the Lakers owe $29.26 million in luxury tax for last season, with a harsher penalty kicking in for 2013-14.

World Peace will find a new home and the Lakers will find a new starting small forward for a lot less money, but they will always be linked by a put-back against the Suns, a 3-pointer against the Celtics and a union he and Bryant long wanted. That it is time to move on, if the amnesty does happen, is understandable, mostly because of the money. But it was a good run.

21 Comments

  1. iiiii says:

    Knicks should sign him on veteran minimum. mwp shouldnt retire he still got some years left in him to get paid^^

  2. Dany says:

    Sent from Huawei Mobile

  3. yoloolol says:

    Knicks should sign him, and start him at the SF spot. and melo can continue to play the 4 spot.

  4. NBA Fan says:

    Knicks, Pacers , OKC or Houston should pick him up with league minimum
    he can help all those teams right away and be able to challenge / knock down Miami

  5. larry says:

    Beast Mode. Indiana Ron back to the Rockets. Maybe?

  6. Kimmy says:

    Another team will pick up Ron Artis and he will be better off. Time to leave the Titanic.

  7. ehehrh says:

    Knicks should sign him on a veterans minimum now, a good cheap defender:)

  8. SAM REYES says:

    META its not the person he used to be and for that reason L.A Lakers want someone who can make another layup and defend as he used to or better.

  9. Come to Boston Ron, we would like u to help us out in the battles again the Heat, Nets & Knicks. The “venom” to keep these feuds alive are going to be trade to the Nets. We can use a bad guy next to Rondo! Someone who’s not afraid to work hard and get some trash involved in the game. Be a present-day Dennis Rodman to our squad & lets win some games in 2013-2014!

  10. matthew mathis says:

    bring him back under a smaller contract him and steven jackson

  11. Lakers4life says:

    I hate how the Lakers treat talented players. Lamar Odom,Derek Fisher, and now Metta World Peace. ):

  12. WetsaQ says:

    Metta did some great things here in LA, but the Lakers should look to get younger, more athletic guys in the lineup. Can’t compete against OKC or MIA without a faster lineup.

  13. CornHole says:

    Metta/Ron is and will be a highly respected Laker. LA wishes him the best and thanks him for a good run!

    • 34yr fan says:

      …….lmao……..yeah, Right !!………the list is too long to worry about a manchild’s laker….”legacy”

  14. JustSaying says:

    Maybe, just maybe…Kirilenko would be a good replacement? I believe he’s still around….his defense and basketball IQ is far superior than MWP I think. But only if AK47 is interested to play for the Lakers…..:)

  15. squala96 says:

    Ron-Ron’s game-winning layup in the conference finals against the Suns was actually in Game 5; the Lakers sealed the deal in Game 6. Nontheless, it’s still one of the best shots in Metta’s career. I am sad that World Peace has been let go. I know that he had his ups and downs, but in the last season, we did see his dedication, immediately coming back from a rather serious injury to play. He didn’t care that it could worsen. The Lakers continue to go down, and without finding more substantial players to support Kobe, I won’t be surprised if they don’t make it to the playoffs this coming season.

    Jim simply isn’t Jerry.

    • KOBE'S_A_BALLHOGGER says:

      WOW ONE COMMENT, I LIKE THE ELBOW HE GAVE TO HARDEN THO-SARCASM OR THE BRAWL IN AUBURN HILLS THAT WILL ALWAYS BE RON ARTEST’S BASKETBALL LEGACY, NOT WHAT LAYUP HE DID AGAINST THE SUNS, LMAO

      • Kamil says:

        Who cares? I wish basketball was more like Hockey.

        I’d never miss a game.

      • MHM 35 says:

        Is your caps key broken? And what basketball stats are you using that supports “Kobe is a ball hog?”