NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The Los Angeles Lakers have officially amnestied forward Metta World Peace, creating the possibility of the Queens native coming back home to play for the New York Knicks.
On Tuesday, World Peace’s father, Ron Artest Sr., told the New York Post that if his son were to be amnestied by the Lakers, the forward would want to finish his career in New York with the Knicks.
“Let’s hope and pray it happens,” Artest Sr. told the newspaper.
Now, Artest Sr.’s dream of having his son come home to play just might happen.
Head coach Mike Woodson told reporters at the Knicks’ summer league game in Las Vegas that the possibility of bringing in the 33-year-old forward will be discussed.
“(General manager) Glen (Grunwald) is coming up and we’ll sit and talk more about him,” said Woodson. “We don’t have to rush to do anything. The core group is intact that won 54 games last year. That player, or two, could slip through the cracks with amnesty or someone waived or bought out. It can happen. We got to sit patiently and wait and keep roster spots open to see if that may happen.”
The Lakers still have to pay World Peace the $7.7 million that remain in his contract. It would be smart for the 2004 Defensive Player of the Year to sign with a team so that he can earn that money, instead of foregoing it for retirement.
Under the amnesty provision, NBA teams under the salary cap get first bid on waived players. Currently, there are 11 teams under the salary cap that can block the Knicks from bidding on World Peace. However, if no team decides to bid on the former St. John’s star, he will become a free agent, available to any team for the veteran’s minimum contract of $1.4 million.
Although World Peace said that he would retire if he was amnestied, Artest Sr. doesn’t believe it. The temperamental forward expressed interest in playing for a team that could contend for a championship. The Knicks, who have yet to sign an outside free agent this offseason, are certainly considered contenders, especially with their recent trade for Andrea Bargnani.
“My gut feels like if the Knicks want him now, my gut tells me it will happen,” Artest Sr. told the New York Post. “I haven’t spoken to him yet tonight. I think he could be a prized possession for the Knicks. He wanted to play for the Knicks for so long, since childhood.”
World Peace doesn’t seem to be taking the matter very seriously, as he has taken to Twitter to joke about his decision, claiming he will play for the L.A. Kings or Yao Ming’s basketball team in China.
However, he recently took a picture of himself wearing a Knicks hat in public. Could he have already made his decision, or is the jokester just playing around with Knicks fans?
The La Salle Academy product would be a strong defensive forward in the Knicks’ lineup, and Artest Sr.’s optimism about his son’s decision has gotten many Knicks fans excited about that possibility.
“I feel it’s a big, big possibility,” Artest Sr. told the Post. “If the Knicks go after Ron, I can’t see him turning them down.”
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