Metta World Peace to play for New York Knicks
Forward Metta World Peace, waived by the Los Angeles Lakers, has agreed to a two-year deal with the New York Knicks.
The New York Times and The Associated Press
NEW YORK — The New York Knicks on Monday added a veteran forward with a big personality.
Metta World Peace, whose antics during a 14-year career have ranged from the comical to the outlandish to the dangerous, agreed to a two-year, $3.2 million deal with the Knicks.
World Peace, 33, is expected to sign the contract this week.
The first year is guaranteed, but he can opt out and become a free agent next summer. The Knicks, who had little money to spend this offseason, used the remainder of their mini-midlevel exception — $1.6 million for the upcoming season — to obtain World Peace.
“I want to fit right in,” said World Peace, who was known by his given name, Ron Artest, when he was a college standout at St. John’s in New York. “I’m the type of player where I go hard. I feel comfortable winning, having eight points or taking over a game if I have to or just being satisfied with the win.”
Earlier in the day, World Peace met with Knicks coach Mike Woodson, general manager Glen Grunwald and assistant general manager Allan Houston in Las Vegas.
World Peace became a free agent when he was not claimed after the Los Angeles Lakers waived him last week; they used the amnesty clause to create salary-cap space. World Peace will still be paid the $7.7 million owed to him by the Lakers.
The Los Angeles Clippers reportedly expressed interest, but World Peace said the Knicks’ representatives did not have to say much during their meeting over lunch to convince him to join the team.
“You don’t got to sell me,” World Peace said he told Knicks officials. “I’m sold already. Let’s go. Let’s do it.”
In 75 games last season, he averaged 12.4 points and 5.0 rebounds. He has been known as a good perimeter defender.
Marc Cornstein, World Peace’s agent, said, “Obviously, Metta being from the area, and also much more importantly than just being a New Yorker, seeing the way he would fit in the team. Coach Woodson did an incredible job explaining what his role would be.”
World Peace, listed at 6 feet 7 and 260 pounds, often has wondered what it would be like to play in front of his family and friends at Madison Square Garden on a regular basis.
“The level of focus it’s going to take to play at the Garden, that’s what I’m going to bring,” he said. “That’s what we need. That’s what I’m here for, nothing else.”
• Knicks guard J.R. Smith had patella-tendon surgery and arthroscopy on his left knee that likely will keep him from being ready for the start of training camp in late September.
Team officials said Smith, 27, will need 12 to 16 weeks to recover from the operation. They said the injuries were chronic, with the arthroscopy repairing a tear in the lateral meniscus.
Smith, who won the Sixth Man of the Year award, averaged 18.1 points in the regular season.
• Forward-center Elton Brand, who played in the 2002 and 2006 All-Star Games, has signed with the Atlanta Hawks. Brand, 34, averaged 7.2 points and 6.0 rebounds last season for the Dallas Mavericks.
Hawks GM Danny Ferry said, “His ability to play center or power forward will give our frontcourt a great deal of versatility and we think he will be an outstanding fit to our program.”
• Center Aron Baynes, who played college ball at Washington State, collected 19 points and a game-high 15 rebounds to help San Antonio beat Atlanta 96-87 in an NBA Summer League Las Vegas game.