Metta World Peace could make a return to his New York roots.
When he was known by his given name of Ron Artest, World Peace was a New York City high school basketball star and played his college ball for St. John’s in Queens before jumping to the NBA in 1999.
Now, with the Los Angeles Lakers reportedly considering the use of the amnesty rule on the remaining $7.7 million of his contract, World Peace could find his way back to his home town New York Knicks, according to ESPN New York.
ESPN’s story quotes someone named Jose Morales, who reportedly works for the charity of World Peace’s father Ron Artest Sr.
"If the Lakers do amnesty him, he might want to retire," Morales said. "If one of these small-market teams picks him up, he won't be happy with that. He doesn't want to play there."
Morales also said the L.A. Clippers would be another team the 33-year-old would be interested in playing for.
The Orange County Register reported that the Lakers do intend to waive World Peace via the amnesty clause, which would relieve their salary cap of the final year of his contract and automatically make him an unrestricted free agent. The Lakers are in a bit of scramble since losing center Dwight Howard to the Houston Rockets and need cap space.
Under the amnesty rule teams are allowed to make a bid for World Peace with the highest bid earning the right to sign him. One caveat to consider is that teams that are under the cap are the first ones allowed to make a bid under the collective bargaining agreement. World Peace is also reportedly uninterested in joining a rebuilding team.
The Knicks trade for forward-center Andrea Bargnani becomes official Wednesday, and will relieve them of the $11 million owed to Steve Novak and the $7.4 million left on Marcus Camby’s deal. The trade still won’t free up much space on the Knicks books to sign World Peace to a lucrative deal, since Bargnani is making $11 million next season.
Once the trade is consummated, New York will only have eight players under contract with more than $70 million in salary. They obviously need to fill out the roster and World Peace would be a solid fit along the front line, giving the Knicks a defensive minded small forward who can occasionally knock down a three-pointer.
World Peace’s father told the New York Post that he wants his son to finish his career in New York.
“He wants to stay with the Lakers for a couple of more years but if not, he wants to finish his career in New York if he can,” Artest Sr. said to the Post. “This would be full circle.”
In 75 games last year, World Peace averaged 12.4 points and five rebounds a game. He has been in Los Angeles since 2009 and helped the Lakers capture the 2010 NBA title.