Rapid Reaction: World Peace to Knicks

Metta World Peace came to terms with the New York Knicks on a two-year deal Monday, with the first year guaranteed. Click here for the full news story.

WHAT IT MEANS: World Peace, a Queens native, will suit up for a New York team for the first time since playing college ball at St. John's in the late 1990s. "Elated" was the reaction of his father, Ron Artest Sr., when he spoke with ESPNNewYork.com.

THE IMPACT: The Knicks started their free-agency process searching for an upgrade at small forward -- one who could possibly start alongside Carmelo Anthony when Melo plays the 4. When the Knicks heard World Peace would be amnestied by the Lakers, they wanted to make him the priority, a player source said. And they got their man -- a 14-year veteran and NBA champion in 2010 with the Lakers.

With the Nets stealing NBA headlines in New York, the Knicks finally made a splash Monday. Even World Peace tweeted "Where Brooklyn at?"

One quality the 6-foot-7, 260-pound World Peace brings to the Knicks is versatile defense; he has the size, strength and foot speed to guard players at any position. He can also knock down the 3, create off the dribble in half-court sets and finish well in transition. In 2012-13 with the Lakers, he averaged 12.4 points, 5.0 rebounds and 1.6 steals, while shooting 34 percent from downtown.

At times last season, the Knicks missed having a versatile wing player who could play both sides of the ball consistently. Steve Novak specialized as an outside shooter, and Anthony and J.R. Smith had defensive lapses. Now, when Anthony and World Peace are on the court together, Melo can guard a weaker player at times, giving him more energy for the offensive end.

Rasheed Wallace, Kurt Thomas and Marcus Camby are out of the picture, so the Knicks needed veteran, old-school toughness -- especially in the physical Eastern Conference. World Peace plays scrappy and gets in his opponent's ear.

THE DOWNSIDE: One potential hazard with World Peace is his sometimes unpredictable behavior: His list of suspensions includes 86 games, including playoffs, after brawling with Pistons fans in November 2004, and seven games -- also including playoffs -- for elbowing James Harden in the head.

The Knicks hope World Peace causes no distractions; they already have a perplexing, polarizing player in Smith.

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