- Arash Markazi, ESPN Staff Writer
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LOS ANGELES -- Metta World Peace is happy to be back home with the New York Knicks, but when the Los Angeles Lakers used the amnesty clause on him in the offseason he said he seriously considered signing with the Los Angeles Clippers.
"One of the teams I was looking at was the Clippers," World Peace said Wednesday before the Knicks played the Clippers at Staples Center. "I was at the Clippers' facility the whole summer, but I just felt like the biggest challenge in the world is New York City, so when I was picking where I wanted to go I was like, you know, I want to go somewhere with the big biggest challenge."
It has certainly been a challenge so far for World Peace in New York as the Knicks are 3-10, losers of six straight entering Wednesday. World Peace has played in 11 games, starting none and averaging a career-low 7.6 points and 2.9 rebounds.
"You don't know what type of challenge is going to be in front of you but this is one," World Peace said. "I learned a lot here [in Los Angeles] on how to deal with different challenges. If it wasn't for [Derek] Fisher and Kobe [Bryant] and Phil [Jackson] and those guys, I wouldn't have known how to deal with all the challenges."
World Peace recently got in touch with his friend and former teammate Lamar Odom, who has been working out in the hopes of making a comeback with the Clippers at some point this season.
"I spoke to him and he's working out," World Peace said. "I'm happy that I spoke to him. I was a little bit upset because I know he's in another stage in his life now, but when you know somebody since they're 11 years old and they're going through adversity and you can't get to them, me and Elton [Brand] were very upset. We won a championship together, we played with each other since we were kids, and we came into the league together and were on the same team for years. Now our brother is in a little bit of trouble and we don't know where he's at, so me and Elton were pretty concerned. I finally hunted his number down and I talked to him and was relieved after that. It was stressful."
World Peace had heard and read all the reports about Odom and knew he was in trouble when he was unable to reach him and also talked to other friends who were unable to reach him. Odom, World Peace and Brand were on the same AAU team in New York, and World Peace and Brand would often talk about trying to reach out to Odom to make sure that he was OK.
"It was stressful not being able to talk to him," World Peace said. "I was very worried. I heard everything that you heard and I was very worried because you don't know. When I spoke to him, I didn't ask him anything. I just told him we're here for him and that's it. He said he was working out and we talked basketball and that's it. He sounded great."
When Odom is back in basketball shape, World Peace says he hopes Odom returns to the NBA and wins another championship.
"Lamar is a back-to-back champion and he's played under stressful situations," World Peace said. "He's been around that so he can bounce back. He's just got to be ready for things that he might not expect like silly fans saying silly things. I just hope he comes back and has fun and wins another title."
If Odom does have a storybook return to the NBA, World Peace said he wants the rights to the story.
"I want to write the book. I want the book rights," he said. "The vocabulary might not be exactly right and the font might be off but other than that it would be kind of cool."
15hMarc Stein and Tim MacMahon