The Los Angeles Lakers officially exercised their amnesty provision on Metta World Peace Thursday night, waiving the mercurial forward after four seasons of service.
It was a good run for the player formerly known as Ron Artest, as he helped the club win a championship in 2010 and was always one of the more intriguing personalities in the locker room.
However, as he has done multiple times over his 14-year career in the NBA, it is now time for World Peace to pick up the pieces and move on.
Since being drafted by the Chicago Bulls with the No. 16 overall pick in 1999, the 33-year-old has played for five different teams, including the Indiana Pacers, Sacramento Kings and Houston Rockets.
He could soon be joining his sixth, as the Lakers still owe World Peace $7.7 million—that will not count against the cap—for his “services” in 2013-14. That opens the door for the veteran to take his talents to a contender this summer.
Will World Peace sign for a minimum contract and try to win a second ring in Year 15, or will he hang up his sneakers and call it a career?
Let’s take a look.
Clippers Could Work
The Los Angeles Clippers have long played in the shadow of the Lakers, but it seems that the team that has recently inked Chris Paul to a long-term deal and acquired a legit head coach in Doc Rivers has piqued the interest of World Peace.
According to Arash Markazi of ESPN Los Angeles, MWP would have the Clips at the top of his shortlist—but only if he were able to escape the bidding process and become a free agent.
Because all amnestied players are subject to a waiver process in which any franchise with cap room can place a bid for his services, there is no guarantee that World Peace will actually become an unrestricted free agent.
However, Jose Morales—a confidant for the star player—told ESPN L.A.’s Dave McMenamin that it wouldn’t be a wise decision for most parties to try and acquire the former St John’s star: "If one of these small-market teams picks him up, he won't be happy with that. He doesn't want to play there."
At this point of World Peace’s career, it seems he is only interested in playing for a big market organization that is positioned to compete for a championship. The Clippers fall under that category and would be an ultra-convenient place to sign.
Knicks Are Interested
World Peace was born and raised in New York City, playing his high school and college ball on the island.
However, he’s never had a chance to suit up for the hometown New York Knicks—until now.
If the 6’7”, 260-pound player clears waivers, Ron Artest Sr.—the star’s father—believes that his son will jump at the chance to play in Manhattan.
The elder Artest told the New York Post’s Marc Berman: “I feel it’s a big, big possibility. If the Knicks go after Ron, I can’t see him turning them down.’’
Ian Begley of ESPN New York found that the Knicks are interested and certainly have a need for a versatile forward of World Peace’s caliber on their roster.
Begley noted that the club has only 10 players under contract and still have $1.75 million left of the mini mid-level exception, or a veteran’s minimum contract, to offer World Peace.
Should World Peace clear waivers, the Big Apple seems to be the most likely and sensible destination.
Retirement, Other Options
With so many games under his belt and a championship ring on his finger, there’s always the possibility that World Peace elects to retire or coast for a decent, tax-free salary overseas.
He made light of that situation on Twitter, but it’s nearly impossible to read deeper into anything the eccentric star says via social media.
Then, he said he would retire and play hockey:
If anyone actually believed he was serious, he quickly changed that by saying he would serve food at Saladish in Pasadena:
Despite the sheer ridiculousness of these Tweets, there may be some modicum of truth in these messages.
World Peace could play for a sizable contract for little work overseas, or just rest on his laurels and retire at the age of 33.
It’s definitely going to be an interesting situation to monitor over the next couple of days.