As buyout season continues, the New York Knicks parted ways with forward Metta World Peace and point guard Beno Udrih, per team announcement earlier today. World Peace was reportedly frustrated with the lack of playing time, going from 33.7 minutes per game last season for the Los Angeles Lakers, to playing only 13.4 minutes in 29 games for the Knicks – the lowest minutes-per-game in a regular season for the 19-year veteran. World Peace, originally signed a two-year deal worth $1.6 million per season with a player option in the second year. He will be free to join any team upon clearing waivers, but will lose his player option next season.
In a statement addressing his departure from the Knicks, World Peace commented “It was a childhood dream of mine to play basketball professionally in New York City, and it has truly been a blessing for that dream to have come true, however, under current circumstances, my agent and I have agreed that being bought out would be the best option for me professionally. I would like everyone to know that whether I was on the court or off, I could not have been happier playing for and cheering on this amazing city, my city. Lastly, I would like to thank all of the incredible fans of New York, as well as my teammates, my coach and the Knicks’ owner for the wonderful opportunity to play in my hometown.”
ESPN’s Chris Broussard is reporting that World Peace hopes to end up with the Miami Heat, San Antonio Spurs or Oklahoma City Thunder for the remaining season, and whether that’s a lack of interest or respect for the Los Angeles Clippers, head coach and general manager Doc Rivers and the Clippers have respect and definite interest in retaining the services of World Peace.
Source: After being waived by the Knicks, Metta World Peace hoping to land in Miami, San Antonio or OKC
— Chris Broussard (@Chris_Broussard) February 24, 2014
With the Clippers (38-20) considering other candidates to fill their last roster spot, World Peace makes perfect sense. The Clippers are currently ranked second in offensive efficiency, averaging 107.1 points per game and third in assists while playing without their starting small guard J.J. Redick or adding the statistical advantage of newly signed big-man Glen Davis. Adding World Peace to the fold would help bolster things on the defensive side of the ball, where the Clippers are currently ranked 16th out of 30 teams, giving up 101.2 points per game, an average that shot up from the 90’s after the injury bug hit the team.
Adding World Peace and his championship pedigree gained as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers would be another answer for two of the Clippers main inefficiencies: rebounding, and defense. On average, a teams defensive rating with Metta on the floor stands at 100.2, enough for Clippers coach Doc Rivers to give him defensive assignments on the league’s top-tier guards/forwards, in addition to adding another rebounder to the bench. World Peace is able to defend the small guard through power forward, and exudes the type of physical and mental toughness the Clippers have lacked; a deficiency exploited in last year’s first round post-season matchup against the Memphis Grizzlies. With a high likelihood that the Clippers will matchup against the Grizz in the first round of the post-season again, for now they’ll keep a close eye on Metta World Peace’s situation.