Metta World Peace asked for and received a buyout from the Knicks last month, but he’s said he wouldn’t have done that if he knew Phil Jackson, who coached him with the Lakers, was going to become New York’s president of basketball operations. A source tells Marc Berman of the New York Post that World Peace yearns to return to the Knicks and would love to re-sign with the team. The Knicks have an open roster spot, though Berman makes it seem as though a reunion with World Peace is more likely in the offseason. World Peace met with Jackson during New York’s game with the Lakers on Tuesday, and it was tantamount to a job interview, Berman says.
Jackson is high on the former Ron Artest, and he’s praised the defensive-minded forward’s practice habits, Berman writes, while pointing out that the Zen Master was more critical of World Peace in his latest book. The Marc Cornstein client will be seeking a minimum-salary deal this summer, according to Berman. World Peace gets $250K from the Knicks as part of his buyout arrangement, Berman notes, though it’s not quite clear if that’s all he’s receiving or if the Knicks are paying his full salary for 2013/14, too. His contract with the team originally called for him to make $1.59MM this season with a player option worth more than $1.66MM for next year.
World Peace has said he requested his buyout when coach Mike Woodson apparently asked him not to attempt to become a locker room leader. There’s a strong chance Woodson will be let go in the offseason, so perhaps his replacement will find World Peace a better fit. The 34-year-old World Peace, who suffers from arthritis in his knees, said in December that he wanted to play through 2018/19, but he scaled that back to 2015/16 in recent comments to the Post.