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Metta World Peace Released by Lakers Via Amnesty

Metta World Peace, the enigmatic forward who changed his name from Ron Artest, can now call himself unemployed. The Los Angeles Lakers evoked the amnesty clause on veteran, another way of saying they released him while saving $14 million.

World Peace still is due $7.7 million from the Lakers, but he was waived under the clause that prevents the Lakers taking a hit double his salary for next season.

“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,” L.A. general manger Mitch Kupchak said in a release. “For anyone who’s had the opportunity to get to know him, it’s impossible not to love him.

“He has made many contributions to this organization, both in his community work as well as in our games; perhaps no more so than in his clutch play in Game 7 of the 2010 NBA Finals in helping to lead us over the Celtics in one of the greatest playoff wins in Lakers history.

“We thank Metta for all his contributions and wish him the best of luck in the future.”

The Lakers still have to pay World Peace his $7.7 million salary for next season, but he can be claimed by teams via a bidding process.

A World Peace friend, Jose Morales, told this week that retirement was an option if he did not get an offer from a team that appealed to him.

“If one of these small-market teams picks him up, he won’t be happy with that,” Morales said. “He doesn’t want to play there. . . He’s going to have a point to prove that he can still be that player in New York.”

World Peace joked, presumably, that he would next play for the Los Angeles Kings hockey team.

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