Less than a day after becoming a free agent, Metta World Peace has narrowed his options on where he will want to play.
“It’s between the Clippers and the Knicks,” said a source familiar with World Peace’s thinking. “I think he’s leaning more toward New York. Even though he likes staying in L.A, I don’t think he could pass up playing at home.”
World Peace, formerly known as Ron Artest, grew up in the Queensbridge section of New York and played at St. John’s University. He plans to meet with New York Knicks officials soon in Las Vegas today, according to a source. But the Clippers are also said to be interested in World Peace’s services.
A source familiar with World Peace’s thinking also insisted his suggestion he’d play in China remains a “serious possibility.” He recently talked with former Houston Rockets teammate Yao Ming about playing with his Chinese Basketball Association team in Shanghi.
The Lakers waived World Peace last week through the one-time amnesty provision, a cost-cutting move that will save them about $15 million in luxury taxes. Though the Lakers still owe World Peace his $7.7 million salary, the figure doesn’t equate into player payroll and luxury tax penalties.
World Peace, 33, averaged 12.8 points on 40.5 percent shooting, his highest scoring output in four seasons with the Lakers. He also appeared in better shape than in recent seasons, entering training camp weighing 245 pounds at 6 percent body fat. But he remained limited when he returned 12 days after having surgery to treat torn cartilage on his left knee. World Peace averaged only six points a game and shot 25 percent in the playoffs.
Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org