After joining Dwight Howard in leaving Los Angeles, Metta World Peace now has to decide where the next chapter of his life will take him. He came into LA as Ron Artest, and left as NBA champion World Peace. A solid contributor for the Lakers during his stay with the team, he fell victim to a luxury cap cutting decision. His release will save the team roughly $14 million.
The team thanked him for his contributions to the team, and wished him the best moving forward. General Manager Mitch Kupchak showed his appreciation for what Metta World Peace has done for LA in a press release.
“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. For anyone who’s had the opportunity to get to know him, it’s impossible not to love him,” Kupchak said. “He has made many contributions to this organization, both in his community work as well as in our games; 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.”
As a free agent, Metta World Peace is now weighing his options, the 33 year old will likely be receiving his last large contract of his career, and also will want to capitalize on a shrinking window to capture another league title. He won’t sign with just anyone in other words.
Longtime friend of World Peace Jason Morales told ESPN New York that “if one of these small-market teams picks him up, he won’t be happy with that. He doesn’t want to play there.”
Where will World Peace play for next? That is a decision that is not exactly clear as of yet. Early front runners appear to be the New York Knicks and the Los Angeles Clippers although any number of scenarios could still play out.
According to his Twitter, Metta World Peace is going to retire from basketball and begin a career in hockey.
I’m retiring and playing hockey
— Metta World Peace (@MettaWorldPeace) July 12, 2013
Metta World Peace has also considered playing a full season in China before returning to the NBA in time for a playoff run in the spring.
Whoever winds up signing the 14 year veteran is going to receive a player who is in the midst of a resurgent career. Averaging 12.4 points per game to go along with 5 rebounds, he scored nearly 5 more points and 1.5 rebounds more than he did last season.
The surgically repaired knee also looks to be in good shape according to World Peace. “They saw that my knee, inside, my knee was looking great. It’s doing really good for a person who has played 14 years in the NBA. So that was encouraging. I was excited. I was excited after the surgery.Virtually no wear and tear and things like that, it was like amazing. So I was excited.”
Besides the Knicks and Clippers, the Brooklyn Nets, Chicago Bulls, Miami Heat, Oklahoma City Thunder, San Antonio Spurs and the Indiana Pacers are also teams that World Peace would be interested in playing for next.
We don’t yet know for sure what is next in the career of Metta World Peace, only that he will no longer be a member of the Los Angeles Lakers. The team amnestied him this week, forcing the veteran to find a new contender seeking his services.
Follow me on Twitter @CharlieGille
Senior Sports Editor
The Guardian Express