EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (AP) — It’s Peace out for the Los Angeles Lakers.
They waived Metta World Peace on Thursday under the NBA’s amnesty provision, which will save the team about $15 million in luxury tax. He was set to earn $7.7 million next season, which the Lakers still must pay.
He averaged 12.4 points and 5.0 rebounds in 75 games last season, having joined the Lakers in 2009. The 33-year-old tore knee cartilage in March and clearly wasn’t the same player afterward. He didn’t play in the last game of San Antonio’s four-game sweep of the Lakers in the first round.
The former Ron Artest legally changed his name during his tenure with the team. One of the highlights of his time with the Lakers was his clutch play in Game 7 of the 2010 NBA Finals, which helped them beat Boston for the franchise’s 16th championship.
“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,” Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said. “For anyone who’s had the opportunity to get to know him, it’s impossible not to love him.”
Kobe Bryant wanted to keep him, tweeting earlier this week that he’d hold onto World Peace and try to make a run with the team the Lakers had.
A 14-year veteran, World Peace has also played for Houston, Sacramento, Indiana and Chicago during his career.
He won the league’s citizenship award in 2011 for his off-court contributions.
World Peace tweeted thanks that Kupchak had called him first.
In a follow-up tweet, World Peace, well-known for kidding his followers on the social media site, wrote, “I’m going to play for Yao Mings team in china! I can’t wait to arrive in Shanghai !!”
Former All-Star center Yao played for the Sharks before coming to the U.S. to play in the NBA and he and World Peace were teammates in Houston.
In another move, the Lakers signed free agent Nick Young, who starred at Southern California during his college career. The 6-foot-7 guard-forward averaged 10.6 points, 2.2 rebounds and 1.4 assists in 59 games for Philadelphia last season.
Young previously played in Los Angeles for the Clippers, and was with Washington during his six-year NBA career.