Sunday is Dec. 15. It is the first day that NBA players who signed as free agents in the offseason can be traded. It could be the final day of Metta World Peace's brief but unusual tenure as a Knick.
If the Knicks consummate a trade -- World Peace has been talked about as part of a package that would head to Toronto for point guard Kyle Lowry -- then what looked like a key depth signing for a contender will end up being nothing more than a quirky early-season footnote.
The man formerly known as Ron Artest will always go down in Knicks lore as the player the team passed on drafting when it selected Frenchman Frederic Weis with the 15th pick in 1999.
Weis never played in the NBA. Artest, a Queensbridge product and former St. John's star, was the league's defensive player of the year in 2004 and won a ring with the Lakers in 2010.
It's not just World Peace's name change that gets attention, but it has led to some confusion. Walt Frazier calls him just "World" or just "Peace" at times on MSG. Even coach Mike Woodson, after struggling to remember World Peace's last name, shrugged and said, "I'm just going to call him Ron."
But what Woodson hasn't done is call "Ron" into games as often as World Peace expected. Entering the Knicks' 111-106 victory over the Hawks Saturday night at the Garden, in which World Peace scored five points in 8:55, he had appeared in 19 games (one start) and had averaged 5.9 points and 2.2 rebounds in 16.7 minutes. The only Knicks averaging fewer minutes were Beno Udrih, Toure' Murry and Cole Aldrich.
Not that World Peace is fretting about it. In a wide-ranging interview Friday, he shared his thoughts about the possibility of getting traded. Here are some excerpts (aka the World According to World Peace):
Q: Would it hurt if you're traded out of New York so quickly?
A: Not at all. Whatever happens happens . . . My goal is to win a ring. Wherever that is, whether it's in New York or whether it's in another city, my goal is just to win a second ring. Actually, the reason I came to New York was because I wanted to try to win a ring in New York. That was the only reason to try to win the ring here. That's my goal. My goal has never changed. It was a risky goal. I didn't weigh all my options, any other options I had. I didn't really.
Q: Would it hurt to go to a rebuilding situation in Toronto?
A: Listen, whatever team I'm on is never rebuilding. When you get Metta World, you're officially championship mentality when you get World Peace. Like here, officially championship. I know we're talking about division here and I heard it a lot. But that's not what Metta World brings. Metta World brings championships. That's it.
Q: How do you deal with trade rumors?
A: There's really nothing to deal with. What am I dealing with? Getting paid to play basketball? Is that what I'm dealing with here? . . . All the teams that called me last year -- I wanted something that was going to be an adventure, something different. China, Knicks and Arena Football. That was it. What else is an adventure? You know what I'm saying? This is the adventure I was talking about. I didn't know what adventure I was in. I just wanted to hop into an adventure. Hey, let's do it. Sometimes it's good to be ready for the unpredictable. I'm glad that I can go through unpredictable situations. It's a good thing.