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Tuesday, July 9, 2013
Metta World Peace eyes future

By Jared Zwerling
Special to ESPNNewYork.com

Amid rumors that Metta World Peace will be released by the Los Angeles Lakers via the amnesty clause, a longtime friend and confidante of World Peace's claims the forward "hopes to land with the Knicks."

The Lakers can't make an official amnesty move until Wednesday, and sources told ESPN Tuesday that the team hasn't made a decision. World Peace's camp told ESPN that the team also told them that no decision has been made.

Jose Morales said World Peace would be "upset" if the Lakers amnesty him, and that he would even consider retirement if any team with room to fit him under the salary cap claimed him off waivers. Those teams would have the first opportunity to claim him.

"If the Lakers do amnesty him, he might want to retire," Morales said. "If one of these small-market teams picks him up, he won't be happy with that. He doesn't want to play there."

Morales said World Peace would be open to playing for the Clippers, but if he can't stay in Los Angeles, he would want to play only in New York, his hometown.

"If the Lakers amnesty him, he's going to have a point to prove that he can still be that player in New York," Morales said.

ESPN.com reported that Morales said he was the head of Artest's foundation. However, he is not currently listed on the websites of either World Peace's or his father's foundations. A spokesman for World Peace said that he currently does not work for World Peace's Xcel University. Artest's father, Ron Sr., said that Morales does work for his foundation, The Artest Foundation.

If World Peace ended up in New York, he would be an ideal candidate to start at small forward and play alongside Carmelo Anthony. The Knicks are in the market for a wing player who can defend and stretch the floor with 3-point shooting. World Peace, if available, arguably would be the best candidate to fill that role.

Morales also said money is not a factor in World Peace's next destination, as he'll still get paid $7.7 million from the Lakers through the 2013-14 season if he's amnestied.

"Whatever he makes next is an added bonus," Morales said. "Playing with a team that has a chance with the championship would be even better. He loves the Knicks."

A tweet by The Orange County Register on Monday saying that World Peace would be released "barring some late change" started a furor. Kobe Bryant even weighed in on Twitter.

"Personally I'd keep Metta and make a run with the unit we have and just add a few pieces #keepthepeace #lakersstilldeciding," Bryant tweeted.

Currently, World Peace is training in Los Angeles and Las Vegas at the Impact Basketball facility, a top destination for players.

"He's working hard," Morales said. "Ron is preparing to have an awesome season."

Information from ESPNLosAngeles.com's Dave McMenamin was used in this report.