The Los Angeles Lakers officially waived forward Metta World Peace under the amnesty provision of the collective bargaining agreement, the team announced Thursday.
The move had been anticipated as early as Monday. It will provide the Lakers with about $30 million in salary and luxury tax savings.
"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. For anyone who’s had the opportunity to get to know him, it’s impossible not to love him,” general manager Mitch Kupchak said in a statement.
“He has made many contributions to this organization, both in his community work as well as in our games; perhaps no more so than in his clutch play in Game 7 of the 2010 NBA Finals in helping to lead us over the Celtics in one of the greatest playoff wins in Lakers history. We thank Metta for all his contributions and wish him the best of luck in the future."
The 33-year-old World Peace averaged 12.4 points, 5.0 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game last season in 33.7 minutes. He underwent meniscus surgery late in the season. He returned in time for the Lakers’ playoff series against the San Antonio Spurs, but clearly was not the same player. He sat out Game 4 of that series and watched the Lakers get swept in a 21-point loss.
Ron Artest Sr., World Peace's father, suggested on Tuesday that his son could retire if he was released. However, he is expected to garner plenty of interest. The New York Knicks would reportedly be interested in signing World Peace if he clears waivers and hits the free agent market, according to Yahoo Sports and other reports.
World Peace already responded to the news by (assumedly) cracking a few jokes on Twitter:
I'm going to play for Yao Mings team in china! I can't wait to arrive in Shanghai !!
— Metta World Peace (@MettaWorldPeace) July 11, 2013