When Metta World Peace signed with the New York Knicks in July, he was seen as a key piece in the rotation who could put the Knicks over the top and perhaps get them at least as far as the conference finals.
Now the team is scrambling to avoid the lottery after losing 30 of its first 50 games, and their 2014 first-round pick belongs to the Denver Nuggets. Therefore, it's no surprise to hear that World Peace wants out of New York.
Marc Berman of the New York Post reported on Feb. 7 that World Peace would welcome a trade despite previously gushing about his excitement at playing in his hometown. Still, it's understandable that the guy from Queensbridge wants to be on a winning basketball team with legitimate title hopes.
And he's not the only one. Star scorer Carmelo Anthony told the New York Observer in October that he wanted to become a free agent in 2014. ESPN's Ian Begley reported on Jan. 21 that struggling point guard Beno Udrih had requested a trade. There was also the shoelace fiasco with J.R Smith defying his coach, so it seems World Peace is the latest in a line of Knicks with one foot out the door.
When asked if he would like to be traded by the Feb. 20 deadline, World Peace told Berman, "That’s up to my agent. I don't worry about it. I'm optimistic about my future...I'm not going to complain."
However, World Peace countered Berman's report, which was published under the headline "World Peace open to being traded by Knicks," by tweeting that the reporter "knows that i never said i want to be traded." He stated in a subsequent tweet, "Whats so bad about playing."
I'm telling you, this year is one big Seinfeld episode. RT@MettaWorldPeace: Berman of the Post..knows that i never said i want to be traded.— Frank Isola (@FisolaNYDN) February 8, 2014
Being Traded never came out my mouth. Dont listen to these stories. life is fun. Whats so bad about playing.— Metta World Peace (@MettaWorldPeace) February 8, 2014
When he first signed with the Knicks, World Peace was unequivocal about his motivations.
According to CBS Sports' Zach Harper, he stated: "I don't care if I'm starting; I don't care if I'm sweeping the floors. You hear me? I want to win...I want to do things that's hard. That's the challenge of being challenged. We all know it's the hardest place to win. Since (1975), right? '73. '72-'73. Why not take on something that's hard?"
For the record, it was indeed 1973 when the Knicks last won the title, and that will almost certainly remain the case beyond 2014
According to Berman, winning a championship with the Knicks is apparently too hard for World Peace to pursue, and the lack of playing time can't be helping his morale either. In early January, World Peace underwent platelet-rich plasma treatment on both of his ailing knees, but he seems healthy now despite barely seeing the court.
Through 27 games, he's averaging just 14.1 minutes per game. His previous career-low was 26.9 minutes in the 2011-12 season. In the first four games of February, he has played only seven minutes and received two DNPs.
He has not scored in double digits since Dec. 8 and has not played 20 minutes in a game since Dec. 10. In New York's Feb. 7 win over the Denver Nuggets, Jeremy Tyler played 22 minutes and Toure' Murry played 10. MWP played six minutes behind those two D-Leaguers.
World Peace won a title with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2010, and his hunger for championships was laid bare in his hip-hop track "Champions." Don't expect any new songs from the Knick, as it's very hard to rap about struggling for the No. 8 seed, but a change of scenery could do the 34-year-old veteran some good.