Metta World Peace is expected to meet with New York Knicks executives in Las Vegas within the next two days, pushing the free-agent forward closer to an eventual contract agreement with the Knicks, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.
The Knicks are the strong frontrunner to sign World Peace to a contract worth almost $1.6 million for the 2013-14 season, sources said. A possible deal could include a second year with a player option, league sources said. The Knicks plan to give World Peace half of their $3.1 million taxpayer midlevel exception. The other half of the exception was used to re-sign guard Pablo Prigioni.
The Knicks are confident World Peace will sign with them, league sources told Y! Sports.
New York's front office executives and coaching staff are assembled in Las Vegas for the NBA's summer league, and World Peace is expected to arrive in Vegas on Monday.
World Peace – once known as Ron Artest – grew up in the Queensbridge section of New York and attended St. John's University.
World Peace went unclaimed in the amnesty waiver process and become a free agent on Sunday evening. No team placed a bid for him, leaving him free to sign with any team in the NBA except for the Los Angeles Lakers.
The Lakers must pay the balance of World Peace's contract – $7.7 million for the 2013-14 season – but it doesn't count against the franchise's salary cap.
World Peace, 33, averaged 12.4 points, five rebounds and 1.6 steals in 75 games last season.
World Peace spoke with former Houston Rockets teammate Yao Ming about the possibility of playing for Yao's Chinese Basketball Association team in Shanghi. World Peace told Y! Sports' Marc Spears on Sunday he is intrigued by the idea of playing in China.
"I want to do something unique and fun," World Peace told Y! Sports' Spears. "…China has over a billion people. It's fun.
"I want to be adventurous. I've been thinking about it."
Still, the Knicks remain confident World Peace will choose to stay in the NBA and sign with them, league sources said.