COMMENTARY | A homecoming may be in order for the Queens native formally known as Ron Artest.
Veteran forward Metta World Peace became a victim of the new CBA as the Los Angeles Lakers decided to amnesty him in a salary-cap cutting measure, placing him on waivers. The Lakers owe the 14-year NBA vet $7.7 million but that number will not count against their salary cap next season.
What's next for World Peace? Well that depends who you ask. There have been a few different rumblings about the former St. John's standout. Metta has considered the idea of playing overseas in China the way Stephon Marbury and more recently, J.R. Smith have. He has also contemplated retiring altogether depending on the situation he finds himself in. As far as playing in the NBA goes, World Peace wants to play for a big market team with a chance to make some noise sooner rather than later. This is where we get to the next possible landing spot for the native New Yorker: Madison Square Garden.
The word is spreading faster and faster about the New York Knicks' interest in World Peace. But if the Knicks decide to add him, would it even be worth it? Initially, I thought no but after much deliberation, I feel it would be.
As long as he comes cheap, why not? The off-the-books paycheck from LA will help New York or any other team sign World Peace at a reduced price. If the Knicks can swoop in, spend a little and get whatever he has left, it could be a boost for a team that only has enough money for smaller parts.
I'll be the first to say that in the past I had a thing against the guy. Double-digit suspensions and actions proving he was nothing short of a loose cannon have been enough to deter this fellow Queens native and St. John's fan. It isn't easy to turn a Johnnies fan off to you when you played for the school, but the way World Peace acted over that few year span has done exactly that. With that said, I want this formerly hostile and volatile guy on the team.
It must also be noted that his maturity level has without a doubt risen. The egregious and awful elbow to the head of James Harden in last year's playoffs cannot be discounted, but in comparison to his entire body of work it is more of a relapse than a current problem.
As far as on the court goes, we know World Peace isn't what he used to be. At his advanced age all the Knicks can really expect is a heady ballplayer who is as intense as they come on defense. Whatever he gives on offense (if anything) is a plus.
Last season, Metta actually upped his numbers from the previous couple of seasons by averaging 12 points, 5 rebounds on an acceptable 40% shooting. Increases came all around; he even shot free throws better than he has in the last four years. The 2012-13 season certainly was a resurgent one for Metta despite the Lakers' struggles.
The thing that most shows World Peace IS capable of helping the Knicks is the fact that he was productive with the Lakers as an aging player clocking huge minutes. Not the numbers specifically, as they were a result of the minutes, but he was productive in general. Most would agree that 34 minutes per game for a 33-year old with an injury history is a lot to expect.
Luckily for both World Peace and the Knicks, he wouldn't have to play in nearly as big of a role. After meniscus surgery and a subsequent knee draining, less minutes is ideal for the veteran.
What the Knicks need is another defensive stopper on this roster to go along with Iman Shumpert up top and Tyson Chandler down low. World Peace fits in right at the three spot whether off the bench or not and places some defense at a spot where New York desperately needs it.
To repeat, any offense is really a bonus. However, if the Knicks are able to move the ball and space the floor anything like they plan to, World Peace could even find himself with some opportunities to score. The percentages aren't great by any stretch but he could definitely be serviceable to the potent Knick offense.
Look, it's not a make or break move either way. He may not add any wins as it turns out even if he is acquired but the team still needs to look to fill their holes. As these things surface, we are forced to look at it and say: 'can this help the team?' And who is to say that it can't? On a worse team in Los Angeles, Metta was able to help. It stands to reason that as long as he is as healthy as he can be, World Peace can help New York.
Some fans will hate the move, naturally. But those same fans would also be mad if the Knicks made no move at all. You can never please everyone, especially in this city. The bottom line is that with limited funds, the New York Knickerbockers need to try and figure out ways to get better at a low cost.
The way it is playing out, bringing Metta World Peace back home is a legitimate possibility and not one that should be automatically dismissed as effective for one reason or another. The spot the Knicks are in along with the spot 'Old Ron' is in could turn out to be a match that is beneficial to both sides.
Besides, if Kobe already misses him then maybe we should give the man a shot. He should become Ron Artest again, though.
Brian Sausa is originally from Queens, New York and has covered a variety of New York sports teams on New York Sports World. Follow on Twitter @BrianSausa
- Sports & Recreation
- Ron Artest
- New York
- World Peace
- Los Angeles Lakers