Lakers’ Metta World Peace gets his 11th suspension in a decade
NEW YORK — It’s become an annual event, much like the All-Star game and the NBA Finals.
Metta World Peace gets suspended by the league. Again.
The Lakers forward was hit with his 11th suspension since 2003, an unbelievable number for any player in any sport, though this appeared to be one of the NBA’s weaker World Peace enforcements.
He picked up a one-game penalty because he put his hand on the back of Brandon Knight’s neck after the two got tangled while boxing out in the Lakers’ game Sunday against Detroit.
The NBA also said World Peace struck Knight in the jaw, though it looked more like a subtle graze. World Peace was assessed a flagrant foul in the game but not ejected.
Maybe his reputation earned the suspension more than his actions.
“I’m sure that goes into it,” Lakers Coach Mike D’Antoni said. “I think their philosophy, or policy, is that everything goes into it. They look at the player, they look at who did it and past experiences.”
World Peace sat out the Lakers’ 92-83 victory Tuesday over the Brooklyn Nets. He was not at the arena, as per NBA rules, and unavailable for comment.
He went through the team’s Tuesday morning shoot-around but was informed of the suspension afterward. He will forfeit $80,655 in pay, nothing new for him.
He lost almost $350,000 in pay last season after drawing a seven-game suspension for elbowing James Harden in the head. Back in 2004, he was suspended for 73 regular-season games and 13 playoff games after the infamous Palace Brawl at Auburn Hills.
World Peace hadn’t missed a game this season until Tuesday, averaging 13.2 points and 5.7 rebounds. He will be back for the Lakers’ game Thursday against Boston.
Lakers’ opinion? TBA
There has been a surge of player reaction to unseat union chief Billy Hunter, but the Lakers aren’t publicizing what they’re thinking.
“I see all the things that you’re seeing from other players but it’s tough to say what will happen,” said Steve Blake, the Lakers’ union representative, who declined to provide how the team would vote. “I think a lot of guys would rather voice their opinions at the meeting.”
Team representatives will meet before this month’s All-Star game in Houston to determine what steps to take next with Hunter, recently placed on indefinite leave after a report revealed questionable business practices by him.
Boston Celtics forward Paul Pierce was less conservative than Blake, telling the Boston Globe it was “finally time for some change. A lot of the players been unhappy with what’s going on and so I think it’s time.”
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