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Saturday, February 22, 2014
Knicks to buy out Metta World Peace

By Ian Begley
ESPNNewYork.com

The New York Knicks are in discussions to cut ties with forward Metta World Peace.

World Peace wrote on Twitter that his agent and the Knicks are working on a buyout.

My agent just informed me this release could happen any hr now. I just want to say "Thanks for everything"

- Metta World Peace (@MettaWorldPeace) February 22, 2014

League sources confirmed to ESPN New York that the team is in discussions with World Peace's representatives to work on a buyout or outright release.

Shortly before the Knicks' Saturday night game in Atlanta against the Hawks, coach Mike Woodson said the team is preparing to part ways with World Peace and that New York also is in talks with Beno Udrih's representatives to work on a release or buyout for the point guard. Neither played in Atlanta.

"It was something that was discussed [among team officials], and they decided to pull the trigger on it," Woodson said. "Again, it's not complete yet I don't think. I'll know more, probably, after the game. They won't be in uniform tonight."

The absence of World Peace and Udrih left the Knicks with 10 players. Iman Shumpert (sprained left knee), Andrea Bargnani (left elbow) and Kenyon Martin (sprained left ankle) remain out with injuries.

World Peace, a Queens native, signed a two-year deal worth approximately $1.6 million per season, with a player option in the second year, over the summer.

If the Knicks release World Peace, he will be free to join another team but will lose the player option.

The 14-year veteran expressed gratitude to Knicks fans on Twitter on Saturday morning.

"Thanks NYC for everything. Thanks for having me. I will always be grateful," World Peace wrote.

World Peace a minimal role with New York (21-34), playing just 13.4 minutes in 29 games. World Peace played 33.7 minutes per game last season with the Lakers.

Both departing players recently were unhappy with their lack of playing time.

"They weren't in the rotation, and I'm not going to linger on it," Woodson said. "We're buying them out, and as a coach when guys work for me I wish them nothing but the best when they move on. And we're going to move on.

"You can't play everybody, and if you're not playing you've still got to be a good teammate and be ready to play when called upon. Unfortunately, I couldn't play them ... I'll get back and talk to [Knicks general manager] Steve [Mills] and ownership [Sunday] sometime and look at the players available out there."

The forward had issues with his surgically repaired left knee throughout the season. He underwent a blood-spinning procedure on his troublesome left knee in early January and missed 15 consecutive games.

Udrih, 31, requested a trade from the Knicks in late January, sources said.

The Knicks attempted to trade Udrih before Thursday's deadline but were unsuccessful.

Udrih signed with the Knicks over the summer for the veteran's minimum at $1.27 million. At the time, Udrih hoped to be a part of the Knicks' three-point guard rotation along with Raymond Felton and Pablo Prigioni. Udrih filled in as New York's point guard while Felton and Prigioni were out with injuries but hasn't been in the team's rotation on a consistent basis when both point guards were healthy.

On the season, Udrih is averaged 5.6 points and 3.5 assists in 19.0 minutes per game. The nine-year veteran holds career averages of 8.9 points and 3.6 assists per game.

Udrih caused a minor stir earlier this season when he publicly questioned why he was the subject of criticism.

"I kind of feel like when I do the right thing, it's not the right thing in some people's eyes. It's just tough. It's easy to point fingers when the team loses. But it comes down to, we are a team, we lose together. No matter who makes a mistake or who doesn't, it's still a team loss," Udrih said on Dec. 25. "So I think all of this stuff should be kept out of the media and not call certain people out or something. We've just got to go out there and fix it and watch video and fix it as a team."

Udrih didn't specify who he meant by "some people," but Woodson had been critical of Udrih earlier this season, particularly for a defensive lapse in the final seconds of the Knicks' mistake-filled loss to the Washington Wizards on Dec. 16.

"I got pointed out a couple of times that I think it was unfortunately a team loss at the end," Udrih said.

Knicks forward Amar'e Stoudemire said, "I'm going to miss those guys ... they want to play, they want to compete, they want to contend."

Information from ESPNNewYork.com contributor Matt Winkeljohn was used in this report.