The nostalgic arena of professional sports idolizes sportsmanship, good fundamentals, and outrageous fan favorites. We tend to think of sports as pure and clean, and that it’s built on emotion and community. But when news breaks like the news that came out of Lakers headquarters today we are reminded it is ultimately based on rational principles, logical decision making, and business ideals. Sigh
The Los Angeles Lakers have waived forward Metta World Peace and have designated him as the team’s amnesty player as allowed by the Collective Bargaining Agreement
The Lakers made a rational business decision to save millions by waiving the NBA veteran, and NBA World Champion. But emotionally, he will be missed by Lakers players and fans.
The type of player, teammate, and turnaround to a career Metta became and had will be eulogized to no end over the coming days. And Ron Artest turned Metta World Peace earned all of it. The typically unsympathetic Mitch Kupchak said of Peace
For anyone who’s had the opportunity to get to know him, it’s impossible not to love him
He will be missed as a Laker, but where will he go next?
Arash Markazi of ESPNLA said where Artest will want to go if he clears waivers.
If MWP becomes a free agent his top two choices will be the Knicks and Clippers.
— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) July 11, 2013
It would be a best case scenario for World Peace to end up with either of those teams. Say Queensbridge. That’s where he’d be near again if went to the Knicks. And if he went to the Clippers, he would be able to stay in LA where he is beloved. They sure as hell beat being claimed by Charlotte or Milwaukee.
Would Laker fans give Metta World Peace a free hall pass for changing jerseys though?
In the hypothetical discussions that would have sent Dwight Howard to the Clippers in exchange for Blake Griffin, Lakers fans would have mercilessly bashed Howard worse than they do now for leaving for Houston. But Metta is a different case. His antics and ‘wild card’ factor are more parts endearing than frustrating. And it is that mysterious forward who may be terrible, or he may win an NBA Finals, that Lakers fans would still be in support of locally, even if he is in a Clippers uniform.
Other than Metta’s veteran experience, he doesn’t really meet the most pressing needs for the Clippers. They could use more size in the interior. He is a great, although slow, post player and defender. And Doc Rivers would be one of the best to utilize his strengths. But Redick, Barnes, and sometimes Crawford already play small forward. So I think he is more likely to play elsewhere than Los Angeles.