- (Photo: REUTERS/Danny Moloshok)
Metta World Peace agreed to a two-year deal after a meeting with the New York Knicks today, putting to rest comments he made suggesting he was not interested.
As first reported by ESPNNewYork.com, the deal is worth $1.6 million per season with an option for year two.
World Peace became a free agent on Sunday after clearing waivers from the Los Angeles Lakers.
"The level of focus it takes to play in the Garden, that's what I'm gonna bring," World Peace told ESPN. He then tweeted, "Where Brooklyn at?" taking a jab at the Brooklyn Nets and their star-studded lineup.
The ball player formerly known as Ron Artest expressed interest playing for China and the Los Angeles Clippers and even dismissed the Knicks in comments last week.
"I had a chance to play in New York [in the past]," he said reports ESPN. "I wanted to play in New York when I was in my prime and I was young, fierce, lock-down [defender]. Madison Square Garden, that would have been sick. But right now, China is way more adventurous for me."
"I'm hoping he comes home,'' Artest Sr., World Peace's father, told The New York Post. "It's New York. It's home. He wanted to play here for a very long time. He doesn't have to win a championship here but playing for the Knicks, that's good enough for me.''
Coach Mike Woodson previously gave his approval if the team would to pursue World Peace and now he will have his opportunity.
"I know his name has been surfacing out there. I can coach any player. I coached guys from 18, 19, 20-year-old young men, and built a team in Atlanta, and that's tough for a first-time coach. So I experienced that, and I don't think there's a player I can't coach if he's willing to be coached," Knicks coach Mike Woodson said about World Peace. "If anybody comes to this team, they've got to understand it's all about team, man. It's not about individuals here, it's not about me as a coach. It's about the New York franchise trying to win an NBA title. If you understand that, then we've got a chance."
That comment undoubtedly comes from World Peace's turbulent past. He was known for giving coaches headaches and getting into a number of high profile fights on the NBA court, once getting suspended for almost a whole season for jumping into the stands and fighting fans while on the Indiana Pacers.
World Peace had a bit of a comeback season last year with the Lakers, where he upped from seven points per game to around 12.