EL SEGUNDO, California: It’s Peace out for the Los Angeles Lakers.
They waived Metta World Peace on Thursday under the NBA’s amnesty provision, which will save the team about $15 million in luxury tax. He was set to earn $7.7 million next season, which the Lakers still must pay.
He averaged 12.4 points and 5.0 rebounds in 75 games last season, having joined the Lakers in 2009. The 33-year-old tore knee cartilage in March and clearly wasn’t the same player afterward. He didn’t play in the last game of San Antonio’s four-game sweep of the Lakers in the first round.
The former Ron Artest legally changed his name during his tenure with the team. One of the highlights of his time with the Lakers was his clutch play in Game 7 of the 2010 NBA Finals, which helped them beat Boston for the franchise’s 16th championship.
“It’s tough to say goodbye to a player such as Metta, who has been a significant part of our team the past four seasons,” Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said. “For anyone who’s had the opportunity to get to know him, it’s impossible not to love him.”
Kobe Bryant wanted to keep him, tweeting earlier this week that he’d hold onto World Peace and try to make a run with the team the Lakers had.
A 14-year veteran, World Peace has also played for Houston, Sacramento, Indiana and Chicago during his career.
He won the league’s citizenship award in 2011 for his off-court contributions.
World Peace tweeted thanks that Kupchak had called him first.
In a follow-up tweet, World Peace, well-known for kidding his followers on the social media site, wrote, “I’m going to play for Yao Mings team in china! I can’t wait to arrive in Shanghai !!“
Former All-Star center Yao played for the Sharks before coming to the US to play in the NBA and he and World Peace were teammates in Houston.
In another move, the Lakers signed free agent Nick Young, who starred at Southern California during his college career. The 6-foot-7 guard-forward averaged 10.6 points, 2.2 rebounds and 1.4 assists in 59 games for Philadelphia last season.
Young previously played in Los Angeles for the Clippers, and was with Washington during his six-year NBA career.
McRoberts stays with Bobcats; Nuggets sign Hickson
Meantime, the Charlotte Bobcats re-signed forward Josh McRoberts, who was acquired from the Orlando Magic on Feb. 21 in exchange for forward Hakim Warrick.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
The 6-foot-10 McRoberts averaged 9.3 points, 7.2 rebounds and 2.7 assists in 30.8 minutes per game in 26 appearances with the Bobcats last season.
Power forward J.J. Hickson signed a three-year, $15 million contract with the Denver Nuggets.
Hickson joins an explosive front line for the Nuggets that includes JaVale McGee and Kenneth Faried.
The Nuggets also officially acquired Randy Foye in a three-way deal that sent Andre Iguodala to the Golden State Warriors.
Restricted free agent point guard Jeff Teague’s days in Atlanta could be numbered after he accepted a four-year, $32 million offer sheet with the Milwaukee Bucks.
When the deal is officially signed and turned into the NBA office, the Hawks have three days to match. Teague, who reportedly informed Hawks general manager Danny Ferry that he was ready to move on, made little progress in contract talks to stay in Atlanta.
Milwaukee executed a separate trade — acquiring Luke Ridnour from the Minnesota Timberwolves — to bolster its backcourt in anticipation of losing Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings. Jennings could be part of a sign-and-trade in the Teague deal, according to Yahoo Sports. The Hawks signed rookie point guard Dennis Schroder on Thursday.
Chauncey Billups and the Detroit Pistons are set to reunite with a two-year, $5 million contract.
Billups, 36, played 42 games last season with the Los Angeles Clippers and only 15 games in 2011-12 because of an Achilles injury. Billups played in Detroit from 2002-2009, winning the NBA title with the Pistons in 2004 with Billups earning Finals MVP honors.
The second year of the new deal is a team option.
Oklahoma City traded shooting guard Kevin Martin to the Minnesota Timberwolves in a sign-and-trade deal. Martin, who has played for Sacramento, Houston and Oklahoma City in the past four seasons, gives the Timberwolves a perimeter scorer who will likely start immediately.