World Peace says he’ll sign with Knicks

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LAS VEGAS (AP) - Metta World Peace is coming home to play for the New York Knicks.

The Knicks said the contract has not been signed but an agreement has been reached.

“The team is amazing, the players. I’m excited to play and hustle,” World Peace said Monday while attending the NBA summer league in Las Vegas.

“Yes, this is going to happen,” World Peace’s agent, Marc Cornstein, said. “He’s really excited to be joining his hometown team. That’s obviously been something that’s been a dream of his since growing up in Queensbridge.

“He’s just thrilled to be joining the New York Knicks.”

World Peace was waived Thursday by the Los Angeles Lakers, who used the amnesty clause to create salary cap space. The 6-foot-7 forward will still be paid the $7.7 million that was owed to him by the Lakers.

Cornstein said the new deal came about pretty quickly. The Knicks expressed interest right after they were allowed to reach out to the former NBA Defensive Player of the Year.

“Obviously, Metta being from the area, and also much more importantly than just being a New Yorker, seeing the way he would fit in the team,” Cornstein said. “Coach (Mike) Woodson did an incredible job explaining what his role would be. (Knicks GM) Glen Grunwald really made him feel wanted.

“They just did a tremendous job; quite frankly, it became a pretty easy decision.”

World Peace attended St. John’s in New York, when he was known as Ron Artest.

“It has nothing to do with New York, the city,” World Peace said. “The only thing that’s important are those players that I’m going to be joining and touching that hallway with. That’s all that’s important right now.”

In 14 NBA seasons with five teams, he has averaged 14.1 points and 4.7 rebounds per game.

“I don’t think I’m a missing piece (to a puzzle),” he said. “I’m more honored to be playing with these players.”

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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