LAS VEGAS – Metta World Peace, formerly known as Ronald William Artest Jr., grew up in Queens as a New York Knicks fan and played collegiately at St. John's. Now, after 14 NBA seasons, World Peace is returning home to play for the Knicks.
"To get back to the orange and blue? That orange and blue blood, you got to come back home," World Peace said Monday after agreeing to a two-year, $3.2 million contract with the Knicks.
The Los Angeles Lakers used their amnesty clause to waive World Peace last week. He was free to sign with any team but the Lakers when none of the teams under the salary cap made a waiver bid for him. The Dallas Mavericks considered putting in a bid for World Peace, a league source told Yahoo! Sports.
While World Peace said he doesn't care if he starts for the Knicks, the team envisions him starting at small forward alongside Carmelo Anthony while Amar'e Stoudemire comes off the bench, a source said.
Asked if he is better prepared for playing in New York now than earlier in his career, World Peace said: "Who is ready? … I'm glad that I didn't go to New York early because maybe I don't finish my career in New York. And I'm bringing that championship experience."
Though the Knicks were always World Peace's likely destination, he used his free agency to publicly suggest he had an entertaining list of other options: the Los Angeles Clippers, Detroit Pistons, and teams in China, Argentina and Turkey. Oh, he claimed to have also considered playing Arena League Football.
"Y'all know I like to be adventurous," he said. "I have no filter. And I have no filter in my creativity. If I want to be creative, I will do it. I'm very bold. I changed my name. Arena Football was really appealing to me. That is something that would have been interesting to everybody. And I'm pushing kids to play multiple sports like Bo Jackson did back in the days. Playing Arena Football, it was a way to inspire."
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