The New York Knicks added forward Metta World Peace as a free agent and said they are losing J.R. Smith for as long as four months following left knee surgery.
The 33-year-old World Peace, who used to be known as Ron Artest, said during a Knicks’ Summer League game in Las Vegas that he reached an agreement with his hometown team. The Queens, New York, native played for St. John’s University at New York’s Madison Square Garden, the home of the Knicks.
World Peace’s two-year deal is worth $3.2 million, Yahoo Sports reported yesterday, citing an unidentified person familiar with the negotiations.
Smith, the National Basketball Association’s Sixth Man of the Year last season, will be out 12 to 16 weeks after having surgery yesterday on his left patella tendon and to repair a tear in the lateral meniscus.
The injury probably will keep Smith, 27, out for the start of training camp in late September and may force him to miss the start of the 2013-14 regular season the following month. The Knicks said on their Twitter feed that Smith’s injuries were chronic and had gradually worsened.
Smith agreed to stay in New York as a free agent earlier this month after averaging a career-best 18.1 points per game on 42 percent shooting last season, when the Knicks finished with 54 wins, their highest total in 16 years.
World Peace averaged 12.4 points and five rebounds in 75 games last season with the Los Angeles Lakers. He was bought out by the team last week under the NBA’s amnesty clause, which absolves the club of paying a luxury tax on the package, and cleared waivers two days ago.
World Peace said his role with the team will be to “do what’s right.”
“It’s all about the chemistry at the end of the day,” he said in a report on MSG Network. “When you start giving yourself a role, then you start thinking too much, you start putting yourself under a little bit too much pressure.”
World Peace has averaged 14.1 points, 4.7 rebounds and 1.8 steals in his 14-year career with the Chicago Bulls, Indiana Pacers, Sacramento Kings, Houston Rockets and Lakers. He was named the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year in 2004, when he also played in his only All-Star Game.
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