Updates from Tuesday, July 29
Metta World Peace may take his talents overseas according to Ian Begley of ESPN New York:
Hearing: ex-Knick Metta World Peace is close to agreeing to terms with the Sichuan Blue Whales of the Chinese Basketball Association.— Ian Begley (@IanBegley) July 30, 2014
Metta World Peace wants to continue his basketball career, and the New York Knicks are thinking about taking the plunge once again.
Marc Berman of the New York Post reported Saturday that the Knicks have had internal discussions about giving World Peace a non-guaranteed training-camp invite. The 34-year-old forward would not be guaranteed a roster spot and would have to prove his worth to make the roster.
"[World Peace] has the utmost respect for Phil [Jackson] and Derek [Fisher]," Marc Cornstein, World Peace's agent, told Berman. "There’s a history there. They know he’s out there."
World Peace, a Queens native, played 29 games for the Knicks last season. He averaged 4.8 points and 2.0 rebounds per game on 39.7 percent shooting before the team bought him out of his contract in February. He struggled with injuries for much of his shortened campaign and was unable to carve a niche in former coach Mike Woodson's rotation.
Woodson was fired after leading the Knicks to a 37-45 season. Jackson, who took over in March as president of basketball operations, hired Fisher as his replacement this summer. Fisher got his first coaching experience in the Las Vegas Summer League, where he began installing Jackson's triangle offense.
The Knicks may have interest in World Peace simply due to his familiarity with the system. World Peace played for Jackson with the Lakers from 2009-2011. Fisher was his teammate for three of his four seasons in Los Angeles. Between Jackson and Fisher, the pair know World Peace well and have an understanding of how to deal with his at-times unconventional behavior.
It would be interesting to see how much World Peace has left in the tank. Knee issues have sapped much of his once-excellent lateral quickness and athleticism. A former Defensive Player of the Year, World Peace is now only effective when guarding power forwards or bigger wings. Opposing players shot 60 percent against him in limited isolation situations last season, per Synergy Sports (subscription required).
When released by the Knicks, teams weighed the cost/benefit of having him on their roster and decided to pass. Woodson, as noted by Berman, clashed with World Peace last season, leading to the player asking for a buyout. The Knicks will pay him $250,000 as per the terms of the agreement.
Overall, though, World Peace remains an above-average defender. He was in the 90th percentile on a points-per-possession basis last season and is a heady player who understands team-defense concepts. Given the Knicks' proclivity for mental lapses on that end, Fisher might want to look into having him around for that purpose alone.
World Peace has also developed into an underrated three-point shooter. He shot just 31.5 percent last season but has been around league average or better for much of the last half-decade. It's typically a bit of an adventure when he shoots—shot selection is not among World Peace's positive qualities—but he makes shots at a high enough rate that most defenses respect him.
It's unclear whether he can still produce at a rate necessary to justify the potential downfall of bringing him in. By giving him a non-guaranteed camp invite, the Knicks can mitigate their risk and still add a potential bench cog on the cheap. World Peace would likely sign a veteran's minimum contract without a guarantee date.
Either way, just when most had begun writing World Peace's career off, he comes back with a surprise return to the headlines. Let's see if anything comes of it.
Follow Tyler Conway (@tylerconway22) on Twitter.