From NBA.com staff reports
As of Friday morning, Metta World Peace was no longer a Laker, having been waived by the team under the NBA’s amnesty provision.
A day after that transaction took place, World Peace was at his World Peace best, telling ESPN.com’s Dave McMenamin that he didn’t want any NBA team to pick him up once he clears waivers. (In case you missed it over the weekend, World Peace told ESPN.com he wanted to either play in China next season or try his hand at arena football).
But whether or not World Peace wants an NBA team to sign him might be a moot point. As Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reports, World Peace could find himself in the league next season … and with his hometown team:
Metta World Peace is expected to meet with New York Knicks executives in Las Vegas within the next two days, pushing the free-agent forward closer to an eventual contract agreement with the Knicks, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.
The Knicks are the strong frontrunner to sign World Peace to a veteran’s minimum deal of $1.4 million for the 2013-14 season, sources said. A possible deal could include a second year with a player option, league sources said.
World Peace – once known as Ron Artest – grew up in the Queensbridge section of New York and attended St. John’s University.
World Peace went unclaimed in the amnesty waiver process and become a free agent on Sunday evening. No team placed a bid for him, leaving him free to sign with any team in the NBA except for the Los Angeles Lakers.
While a reunion with the hometown NBA franchise is still in the cards, that trip to China (or one just across the Staples Center hall to the L.A. Clippers’ locker room) could be in the cards as well, writes Chris Broussard of ESPN.com:
Metta World Peace wants to play for the New York Knicks, according to a person close to the veteran small forward.
World Peace cleared waivers late Sunday afternoon, making him an unrestricted free agent. A source told ESPN.com’s Brian Windhorst that the Knicks, who can offer him part of their taxpayer mid-level exception [roughly $1.7 million], already have reached out to the former Los Angeles Laker.
While the Knicks are World Peace’s first choice, he is also holding onto the Los Angeles Clippers and China’s Shanghai Sharks as possible teams to join next season.
World Peace spoke Sunday with Yao Ming about playing in Shanghai, a source said.
Knicks coach Mike Woodson said Sunday he welcomed a potential addition of World Peace.
“I know his name has been surfacing out there,” Woodson said in Las Vegas, where New York has a summer league team competing. “I can coach any player. I coached guys from 18-, 19-, 20-year-old young men, and built a team in Atlanta, and that’s tough for a first-time coach. So I experienced that, and I don’t think there’s a player I can’t coach if he’s willing to be coached. … If anybody comes to this team, they’ve got to understand it’s all about team, man. It’s not about individuals here, it’s not about me as a coach. It’s about the New York franchise trying to win an NBA title. If you understand that, then we’ve got a chance.”
“I like his skill sets a lot. I think a lot of teams have liked his skill sets over the years. He does a little bit of everything.”
New York, Los Angeles, China … the world of Metta World Peace continues to spin at its own pace — as usual.