Los Angeles Lakers forward Metta World Peace was designated as the team’s amnesty player under the National Basketball Association’s labor agreement, General Manager Mitch Kupchak said.
World Peace, 33, who used to be known as Ron Artest, averaged 12.4 points and 5.0 rebounds in 75 games last season. Before joining the Lakers in 2009, he played with the Houston Rockets, Sacramento Kings, Indiana Pacers and Chicago Bulls, averaging 14.1 points and 4.7 rebounds during his 14-year career.
“It’s tough to say goodbye to a player such as Metta, who has been a significant part of our team the past four seasons,” Kupchak said yesterday in a statement on the team’s website. “For anyone who’s had the opportunity to get to know him, it’s impossible not to love him.”
Under the amnesty clause, the Lakers will continue to pay his salary throughout his contract although it will not count against the salary cap or luxury tax. If World Peace signs with another team, his new salary will be deducted from what the Lakers owe.
World Peace will go through a waiver process under which teams can bid on his contract.
World Peace, a native of Queens, New York, who played at St. John’s University in 1997-99, was the NBA Defensive Player of the Year in 2004, when he also was selected as an All-Star.