Metta World Peace has reached an agreement in principle to a two-year deal with the New York Knicks, a person with knowledge of his situation confirmed to USA TODAY Sports.
The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the process is still underway. World Peace was waived by the Los Angeles Lakers by way of their amnesty clause on Thursday, then cleared waivers on Sunday night and thus became a free agent. He will still be paid the $7.7 million that was owed to him by the Lakers, as well as the $1.6 million he’s expected to be paid by the Knicks. The second year of his deal is expected to be a player option.
“It’s all about the players,” World Peace told reporters at the Las Vegas Summer League Monday about his decision to go to New York. “The team is amazing.I’m excited to play and hustle. I’m excited to hustle for (Raymond) Felton, for Iman (Shumpert), for Tyson (Chandler), Melo (Anthony), (Amar’e) Stoudemire, coach (Mike Woodson). That’s all it’s about right now. It has nothing to do with New York the city. The only thing that’s important is those players that I will be joining and touching the hardwood with. That’s all that’s important.”
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World Peace said that, like he was able to do with the Lakers’ Kobe Bryant, he can work with Anthony, the Knicks’ leading scorer.
“We’re gonna help each other. It’s not about one person helping one person, it’s about us doing it together,” he said. “If I’m not mistaken, they have chemistry and everybody’s seen that.
“I thought they had a lot of injuries this year. I don’t think I’m a missing piece. I’m more honored to be playing with these players. That’s what I really think.”
Coming out of St. John’s, he was passed over by the Knicks, who indicated at the time they didn’t think he could handle the pressure of New York.
World Peace said the Knicks were correct in that assessment, but now that he’s nearing the end of his career, he’s different.
“As a young kid, growing up in the Queensbridge projects, whether you’re from Brooklyn or Fort Rock, and you get into a world where you go from having nothing to making a million dollars a year and so many people telling you ‘You’re the best, you’re this, you’re that,’ and you believe that, and you get in trouble,” he said. “And that’s what happens to a young kid when you’re raised in a dysfunctional environment, a dysfunctional neighborhood. And then it takes 10 years for you to realize that you grew up in dysfunction and you’re going to continue to make mistakes if you don’t change. Not change, improve. You never want to change, you just want to improve.”