The Knicks announced Monday the release of forward Metta World Peace and guard Beno Udrih.
“We are disappointed that it did not work out for Beno and Metta here in New York,” Knicks president Steve Mills said in a statement. “We thank them for their contributions this season and wish them well.”
The two roster cuts symbolize a Knicks season that hasn't gone according to plan. Both World Peace and Udrih were signed last summer as the Knicks loaded up on veterans for what they expected to be a deep playoff push. Instead, the Knicks are 21-35 entering Monday's action, sitting 5.5 games out of the East's playoff picture.
"They weren't in the rotation, and I'm not going to linger on it," said Knicks coach Mike Woodson, according to ESPNNY.com. "We're buying them out, and as a coach when guys work for me I wish them nothing but the best when they move on. And we're going to move on."
World Peace signed with the Knicks during the offseason after the Lakers released him using the amnesty clause. The 15-year veteran battled knee problems off and on all season, and his role was cut sharply in late November. The highlight of the Queens product's season just might have come when he rode the subway to the Knicks' season opener.
"Thanks NYC for having me," World Peace wrote on Twitter. "Just signed my papers for waiver from my favorite team as a kid, the Knicks."
In response to some disparaging comments made by his brother towards the Knicks on Twitter, World Peace added: "[The] Knicks franchise is not trash. My brother was just anxious for me to play. I had tons of fun [with] the organization."
Udrih, meanwhile, had his share of disagreements with Woodson, as his role fluctuated depending on the health of his fellow point guards, Raymond Felton and Pablo Prigioni. Back in January, the 10-year veteran reportedly requested a trade.
A series of incidents preceded Udrih's release. Back in November, he was torched off the dribble by Wizards guard Bradley Beal for a game-winning lay-up. New York had a foul to give on the play, and Woodson pointed out after the game that Udrih hadn't given it. Then, on Christmas, Udrih shot just 1-for-6 from the field. During the game, he could be seen rolling his short-sleeve jersey up over his shoulder, and afterwards he blamed the Christmas Day uniform for his poor shooting.
“Personally it bothered me and my shot,” Udrih said, according to the Wall Street Journal. “On a normal shot, I’m used to getting my shoulder and elbow up [unhindered]. That was my personal feeling. I don’t know how anyone else was feeling. I know Timmy [Hardaway] was saying he wore it in college before. I never did it before.”
That same night, Udrih expressed frustration at being treated as a scapegoat.
“It’s easy to point fingers when the team loses. But it comes down to we are a team, we lose together,” he said, according to the New York Daily News. “No matter who makes a mistake or who doesn’t, it’s still a team loss. So I think all of this stuff should be kept out of the media and not call certain people out.”
Despite the apparent bad blood and hurt feelings, Udrih offered well wishes upon his departure from New York.
"I genuinely [and] wholeheartedly want to thank the Knicks for my experience here," the Slovenian guard wrote. "To my teammates & the fans of NYC I wish you all nothing but the best! Because you all deserve the BEST!"
World Peace, 34, averaged 4.8 points and 2 rebounds in 13.4 minutes over 29 appearances. He signed a two-year, $3.3 million contract with the Knicks last summer and holds a player option for next season. Udrih, 31, averaged 5.6 points and 3.5 assists in 19 minutes over 31 appearances. He signed a one-year, minimum salary contract during the offseason.