Report: Knicks might add Metta World Peace as a free agent
“It’s tough to say goodbye to a player such as Metta, who has been a significant part of our team the past four seasons,” Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said in a release. “For anyone who’s had the opportunity to get to know him, it’s impossible not to love him.”
“He has made many contributions to this organization, both in his community work as well as in our games,” continued Kuptchak, “perhaps no more so than in his clutch play in Game 7 of the 2010 NBA Finals in helping to lead us over the Celtics in one of the greatest playoff wins in Lakers history.”
“We thank Metta for all his contributions and wish him the best of luck in the future.”
Teams still under the salary cap room will 48 hours to put in a claim for World Peace. But if he goes unclaimed through the waivers process, then the Knicks may have interest in MWP as an unrestricted free agent, a league source told ESPN’s Ian Begley.
Ever since the news broke out a few days ago that the Lakers could waive him, there has been a lot of speculation regarding the 14-year veteran forward’s future. The Queens native and St. John’s standout has previously talked about playing for the Knicks. Though, MettaWorld Peace might be an attractive piece for a team with sufficient cap space.
He averaged 12.4 points, five rebounds, 1.5 assists and 1.6 steals in 35.7 minutes per contest, while appearing in 75 regular season games for the Lakers last season.
If Metta World Peace is claimed by a team with cap space, the club will not owe him the entire $7.7 million salary in the final year of his contract, but just the amount of its bid. Meanwhile the Lakers will be responsible for the remainder of World Peace’s salary, but even that amount will not count against their salary cap due to the amnesty clause.
But if no team claims World Peace, he becomes an unrestricted free agent. In that case, the Knicks will not be able to offer him a big paycheck. The Knicks have only $1.75 million left of its mini mid-level exception use on free agents contracts. The club can also offer a veteran’s minimum contract.
The Knicks have 10 players under contract which leaves general manager Glen Grunwald with five roster spots to fill before the start of next season. So, the New York Knicks do have roster room to sign Metta World Peace.
However, the eccentric Metta World Peace has at times also been known to be volatile (as he is still most notoriously remembered for starting the Pistons-Pacers brawl in 2004 that spilled into the stands). If he clears waivers, the Lakers will definitely have to consider if its worth making an offer. But he has mostly avoided running-into major trouble in Los Angeles, where he won a title with the Lakers in 2010. World Peace was also recognized for his off-court contributions with the NBA’s citizen’s award in 2011.