Metta World Peace may have made a name for himself with the Los Angeles Lakers. But on late Thursday, the team decided to waive his contract under the collective bargaining agreement’s amnesty clause.
The Lakers will still have to pay the rest of World Peace’s salary, but it won’t count against the team’s salary cap for the 2013-2014 season. It will also help lower the cost of the Lakers’ tax bill.
USA Today reports that Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak released a statement about the decision, saying:
“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.”
The Lakers are already over their luxury tax for next season, so the decision to waive Metta World Peace will reduce the team’s tax bill by at least $10 million.
Non-taxpayer teams will now have the opportunity to bid for Metta’s services. The team that bids the highest will get to sign him. However, if no one bids, World Peace will be allowed to pick the team he wants to sign with.
ESPN notes that Kupchak added of Metta’s release, “He has made many contributions to this organization, both in his community work as well as in our games… We thank Metta for all his contributions and wish him the best of luck in the future.”
Before the news came out that the Lakers were amnestying World Peace, a longtime friend of the NBA champion commented that Metta would consider retirement if a team claimed him that he didn’t want to play for.
Jose Morales explained, “If one of these small-market teams picks him up, he won’t be happy with that. He doesn’t want to play there.” According to Morales, the only teams Metta World Peace would want to play for are the Clippers or in New York, his hometown.
The man formerly known as Ron Artest took to Twitter after the announcement to thank fans and tell them that the Lakers GM called him to tell him about the decision. Then, Metta joked about where he would go next, saying:
“I’m going to play for Yao Mings team in china! I can’t wait to arrive in Shanghai!!… I’m playing for the LA kings… I’m retiring and playing hockey… But first, I have to work at Saladish in Pasadena… Serving food.”
Clearly, Metta World Peace isn’t telling anyone what his next plans are.