It’s 2010. The Los Angeles Lakers have come back down from 3-2 in the finals against the Boston Celtics and are leading by three in the fourth quarter of Game 7. With the ball in their possession, Kobe swings it to then-Ron Artest who short jab steps right before sinking a three in Paul Pierce’s face. That put them up six with a minute left in the championship bout. The Lakers would go on to win it all.
The New York Knicks, who want a championship during the Carmelo era (good luck there), are interested in the championship pedigree that signing Metta would bring to the team. He has roots in New York, can still play a formidable 20 minutes per, and could help rein in small forwards and slow-moving power forwards in the East. David West, Luol Deng, Paul Pierce, and LeBron come to mind.
This works out well considering that the Los Angeles Lakers amnestied the colorful Peace to clear up cap space. After clearing waivers, Metta World Peace is now an unrestricted free agent and looks most likely to be a New York Knick come the 2013-14 season. The signing would be for a veteran minimum deal, as reported by Adrian Wojnarowski, which would nab Peace 1.4 big ones for one year. The deal might even have the legs to morph into a two-year contract which would be tail-ended by a player option.
The man once named Ron is certainly one worth courting to add depth to a bench, and he posted a reasonable 12.4 PPG, 5.0 RPG, and 1.6 STLPG last year. But it’s not exactly an ideal move for the Knickerbockers.
First, the Knicks have a surplus of forwards. Though Steve Novak and Quentin Richardson were sent over the Canadian border to the Raptors, they got Andrea Bargnani in return. Chris Copeland also ended up with rivals Indiana Pacers. But that leaves Mike Woodson to figure out how he arranges Carmelo Anthony, Bargnani, Peace —if they get him, Amar’e Stoudemire, and Iman Shumpert on the court.
Does he start Anthony at the three, though he played very well at the four last season? Does Bargnani start over Stoudemire who is making a franchise-crippling $22 million next season? Maybe Shumpert starts at the two, Melo at the three, Bargnani at the four and you have Amar’e relieve the Bargnani and Peace relieve Anthony.
With J.R. Smith’s contract, the Knicks have about $84 million tied-up in salary for the 2013-14 season, and still have to acquire a decent backup to Tyson Chandler and either a shooting guard to start (if J.R. still comes off the bench and Shump isn’t rolled over to the two) or another shooter at the perimeter, or probably both.
At the end of the night, the Knicks might have over $86 million in team salary which will rack up a hefty $26 million-plus tax bill. Not the kind of price you want to be paying for a team that will struggle against the Heat, an always-dangerous Bulls team, a Pacers team who looks championship ready, a Brooklyn Nets 2.0 squad, and maybe even the Wizards. Metta’s projected salary won’t make much of a difference but there’s other areas the Knicks need to address before taking a chance on the Peace. They need a wingman who is an able passer (Metta only averaged 1.5 assists last season) in order to feed Melo, Chandler, and Bargnani and who can shoot the ball (again Metta suffered, hitting only 34.2% from three) to open up the floor for those three bigs.
The Knicks aren’t exactly known for their wise personnel moves so they’ll probably pen a contract for a piece of a former Laker dynasty. Piece of mind is something entirely different and it won’t come with Metta World Peace in any shape or form.
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