Metta World Peace said the Lakers made a “good decision” in waiving him

Less than a week removed from officially ending his time with the Lakers, Metta World Peace stepped foot Friday on the set of Hallmark Channel’s “Home and Family” at Universal Studios as if nothing had changed at all.

World Peace maintained his gracious and joyful personality. In between segments, various actors and producers continuously thanked World Peace for his four seasons with the Lakers, where he guided the Lakers to an 2010 NBA championship, raised funds for mental health charities and kept everyone laughing along the way. At no point did World Peace sound bitter surrounding the circumstances that led to the Lakers waiving him through the amnesty provision.

For one, World Peace said he feels “blessed” for signed with the New York Knicks to a two-year deal worth $3.2 million, The former Ron Artest grew up in the Queensbridge section of New York and played at St. John’s University. World Peace also insisted with a straight face that it was “smart” for the Lakers to cut ties with him, a cost-cutting move that saved them as much as $15 million in luxury taxes.

“I think it’s a good move,” World Peace said in an interview with this newspaper. “If I was the franchise, it’s different. But not being the franchise, they have to make a decision.”

Shedding ties with World Peace didn’t give the Lakers additional cap flexibility to acquire another player. The Lakers have only filled his void by signing former USC standout Nick Young to a two-year deal at the veteran’s minimum. He’s considered a vast offensive upgrade to World Peace, whose 9.94 points in four seasons with the Lakers came on 40.2 percent shooting. But World Peace’s absence coupled with Dwight Howard’s departure to the Houston Rockets leaves the Lakers seriously vulnerable on defense.

When told of that reality, World Peace said, “But things weren’t clicking.”

Despite committing to a $100 million payroll, overlapping injuries as well as competing coach and player agendas contributed to the Lakers’ first-round sweep to the San Antonio Spurs. World Peace actually became one of the few bright spots. His improved conditioning contributed to World Peace averaging 12.4 points, his highest output with the Lakers, and providing consistent energy. But World Peace 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.

“I thought I was going to finish my career as a Laker,” World Peace said. “But sometimes it doesn’t work that way.”

What does he think?

“They saved more money,” World Peace said. “But if it was me, I would’ve made a bold decision and saved more money.”

The Lakers could’ve used the amnesty provision on Kobe Bryant (makes $30.5 million next season), Pau Gasol ($19.3 million) or Steve Blake ($4 million) since they were on the roster before the NBA constructed its new labor deal in 2011.

“I would’ve amnestied everybody,” World Peace said with clear sarcasm. “It depends on what you’re trying to do. Kobe is the franchise so you can’t amnesty him. I would’ve made a bold decision. I won’t tell you who I would’ve amnestied. But they did it right and did what they had to do.”

So if World Peace would’ve ensured the Lakers save a lot of money, would he have waived Bryant?

“I didn’t say that loser,” World Peace said, laughing.

Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter. E-mail him at mark.medina@dailynews.com

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  • Connector

    They should have amnestied Kobe. He’s a cancer to the team now. Most NBA stars do not want to play with him. It will always be about him; how many touches he gets. He doesn’t care about how many he misses; just how many points he gets. He’s really happy with a 40% night. I’ve never heard him complain about having a low shooting percentage, as long as he gets his 30-40 points per game.

    • Lakerfan

      You are wrong. You know nothing about basketball.

      • Connector

        Yea…..I suppose you’re an expert. You’re like all the other Kobe worshipers. He can do no wrong. You’re not being very objective. You are just a follower and will always follow. And, I suppose you also think the Fakers have done a great job in rebuilding this year.

      • closingracer

        Ya… that is why Dwight is in Houston and not in LA still?

    • Darius Hawthorne

      27 points 6 assist. 5 rebounds per game shooting 46%. I would not want the guy either. Come on man. If you do not like Kobe just say you do not like Kobe as person. But to say he is a cancer and then throwing out bogus stats, that is just crazy.

      • Connector

        You’re right…..I don’t like him. I don’t know him as a person, but I know him as a player and I don’t like him as a player. He certainly isn’t a team player. And, he clearly was a major reason that Howard did not want to stay with the team. And for that, he is a cancer to the team!!!

        • Darius Hawthorne

          Actually, that is not the major reason why Dwight is not in LA. He is not in LA for two reason’s the pressure of bringing a bright light city a championship and dealing with the scrutiny of the media day in and day out and the second reason which was reported by multiple media outlets if you can trust them, LOL, is that he was not happy that management told him that they wanted him to be the face of the franchise and then when he asked them to hire Phil, they chose Dantoni in which he could not stand as a coach. If LA would have hired Phil, there is no doubt in my mind that he would have stayed.

          • Connector

            Darius, I do agree with you hiring Dantoni was a major factor in his decision, but he also said to Steven A. of ESPN that Kobe’s comments to him in the final meeting was a factor. And, the fact that Kobe insinuated that he intended to “hang on” (my words) with the team as long as he can.

      • closingracer

        Is he worth 30 million dollars on the cap? no

        • Darius Hawthorne

          You have to understand, you do not just tell your best player on your team who has given you 17 years and help win you 5 championships and will arguably go down as one of the all time top players goodbye. You have to understand there was a reason they gave him that type of money in the first place because of what he did. I could understand that if he was only averaging 10-15 points a game, then sure, let him go because he does not have it anymore. But if you are still putting up 27 points a game and leading your team in assist then to me you are worth whatever your contract dictates. I will be the first to admit that when he comes back if he does not have it, then he does not have it. Although I am a Lakers fan, I am not one who ignores the truth.

          • closingracer

            you are ignoring the truth… 6 APG means nothing when he has been a Ball hog and isn’t scared to say he isn’t one and is an appealing stat as is Melo’s 6 RPG and more mediocre 3 APG ( though to be honest he would have a lot more Hockey assists so meh)

            Kobe is NOT worth 30 million dollars I would amnesty him about 98% sure I would

          • Darius Hawthorne

            Unless you are a true Laker fan and watch all their games, then it is easy to say that Kobe is a ball hog. You really must put that into perspective. He does dominate the ball when he has to. Kobe is a fierce competitor and he gives his teammates the opportunity to contribute just as much as he does. But as a leader should do, when he notices that they are struggling or not really into the game, he takes over to keep the game from getting out of hand. I have seen plenty of games to where Kobe might only have 2 or 3 shots by halftime. Kobe is a very smart player and when his teammates are being productive, then he always keeps feeding them the ball. As I said before, I am and laker fan and I wish there was a stat that shows how many assist Kobe would have average if his teammates where hitting the shots. Assist only happen when they make it. Also the greatest player ever Jordan averaged 22 shot attempts per game and 5 assist per game for his career, So are you willing to say that he is a ball hog as well? And no before you say it, Kobe is not Jordan, but he is the closest thing we have ever seen and I watched both play.

          • closingracer

            Lebron is closest to thing to being the next Jordan then Kobe… HE scored what 81 points Vs the knicks in MSG like 5 years go ago (Kobe) and you don’t think he is a ball hog? lol

          • Darius Hawthorne

            Come on man be realistic, if someone is hot, you keep feeding them the ball. Kobe shot 60% from the field that game and the rest of the team shot 23% look it up for yourself.Did you even watch that game and by the way it was against toronto. The lakers were down by 14 points at halftime. Once again Kobe avg 20 shots per game and Jordan 22. Is Jordan a ball hog? Answer that question.
            Lebron’s game is nothing like Jordan at all. Other than the athleticism and physical strength, Lebron is more like a magic johnson. He focuses more on his all around game then just scoring. Lebron is more bruit strength and power. He does not poses the finess and showman ship that Jordan had.