Perhaps a new name will inspire a turn around in Metta World Peace's play.
It’s been a steep decline for World Peace since arriving in Los Angeles. In his last four seasons prior to donning the purple and gold, he posted PERs of 15.2, 18.5, 18.8 and 15.6. That’s two seasons of league-average production and two seasons of playing like a borderline All-Star.
In four years with the Lakers, though, he’s been dreadful, posting PERs of 12.1, 11.2, 11.0 and 12.5 respectively. According to that metric, World Peace has no business being an NBA starter.
World Peace has the ability to opt out of the final year of his contract—which no doubt the Lakers brass all secretly hope he does – but I don’t think even a man who tried to fight an entire arena and legally changed his name to Metta World Peace would be crazy enough to walk away from $7.7 million in guaranteed money.
If the Lakers want to rid themselves of MWP, they would either have to find a sucker organization willing to take him on (fat chance of that, unless he’s a throw-in as an unofficial trade tax in a potential Dwight Howard sign-and-trade), or they can use their amnesty provision to simply waive him (though they would still foot the bill for his entire 2013-14 salary).
Just in case World Peace does hit the road, here are a few potential monikers for the former Ron Artest to go by.
Bill Simmons has been pushing this one for the past 18 months now.
The idea behind it is that as soon as the league announced that the new collective bargaining agreement would include an amnesty provision, the Lakers were destined to axe World Peace with it.
It’s not a very nice name, but if he is amnestied it would be a lasting tribute to the mechanism by which World Peace was cut from the Lakers.
And it is kind of funny.
Straight-up—raw and uncut.
World Peace has been a staunch advocate for mental health awareness for years. He even auctioned off his 2010 NBA championship ring to benefit the cause.
No gesture would raise awareness more than a name change. Every time someone mentioned World Peace by his new name, awareness for mental health would automatically be raised. Literally.
Just imagine Bill Macdonald on the mic in World Peace's return to L.A. going with the "MENTAL! HEALTH! AWARENESS!" call.
The Queensbridge housing project is obviously near and dear to Metta World Peace’s heart. What better way to rep his hood than to name himself after it?
If you’re going to throw a last name in after it, it’s got to be Artest over World Peace. Queensbridge hearkens back to MWP’s youth—back when he was still part of the Artest clan in name as well as in spirit.
Every time World Peace/Artest walks into a room, you’re free to shout, "Queensbridge in the building!"
You already know.
The word Metta is a Buddhist term meaning loving-kindness and friendliness towards others.
That can still work as a first name, but no one really understands it. That’s where the "B. Nice" comes in. It basically reiterates "Metta" in English.
The name also pays homage to World B. Free—the original NBA player who changed his name for a cause greater than himself (though it happened to be his nickname growing up as well).
This suggestion is for when World Peace is furious with the Lakers for cutting him via the amnesty provision.
He can embrace his inner crazy person and just be full-on bananas for the rest of his playing days as "Ronnie Loco."
If World Peace reins in his anger at being let go and decides to gracefully step away from the game, "Ronnie Loco" would be a great moniker for a sideline reporter/talking head/nebulous media member.
And who wouldn’t want to see World Peace get into the media game? I’m particularly taken with the sideline reporter idea. I’d pay to see World Peace conduct one of those between-quarter interviews with Gregg Popovich. Especially if he introduces himself as "Ronnie Loco."