Former Los Angeles Lakers forward Metta World Peace cleared waivers late Sunday afternoon, making him available to sign with any NBA team.
According to an ESPN source, World Peace wants to play for the New York Knicks, who have already reached out to him. The Knicks can offer him part of their taxpayer mid-level exception of $1.7 million.
World Peace is also considering the Los Angeles Clippers and China’s Shanghai Sharks as possible teams to join.
“I know his name has been surfacing out there,” said Knicks coach Mike Woodson, who is in Las Vegas, where New York has a summer league team competing. “I can coach any player. I coached guys from 18-, 19-, 20-year-old young men, and built a team in Atlanta, and that’s tough for a first-time coach. So I experienced that, and I don’t think there’s a player I can’t coach if he’s willing to be coached. … If anybody comes to this team, they’ve got to understand it’s all about team, man. It’s not about individuals here, it’s not about me as a coach. It’s about the New York franchise trying to win an NBA title. If you understand that, then we’ve got a chance.”
“I like his skill sets a lot. I think a lot of teams have liked his skill sets over the years. He does a little bit of everything.”
World Peace’s father, Ron Artest Sr., told the New York Post on Friday that he believed his son would join the Knicks.
“I feel it’s a big, big possibility,’’ Ron Artest Sr. told The Post Thursday night of his son joining the Knicks. “If the Knicks go after Ron, I can’t see him turning them down.’’
“My gut feels like if the Knicks want him now, my gut tells me it will happen,’’ added Artest Sr. “I haven’t spoken to him yet tonight. I think he could be a prized possession for the Knicks. He wanted to play for the Knicks for so long, since childhood.’’
World Peace, 33, was waived by the Lakers on Thursday via the amnesty provision. He was scheduled to make $7.7 million this season. The Lakers will still have to pay his full salary.
At the time, World Peace said he had no desire to play in New York.
“I had a chance to play in New York [in the past],” he said. “I wanted to play in New York when I was in my prime and I was young, fierce, lock-down [defender]. Madison Square Garden, that would have been sick. But right now, China is way more adventurous for me.”
World Peace averaged 12.4 points and five rebounds in 75 games for the Lakers last season.
I am loving my baseball game. I got one hit pic.twitter.com/lUJW4kAUy6
— Metta World Peace (@MettaWorldPeace) July 14, 2013