What's old "Metta World Peace" up to now?
Oh, he's just getting ready to play professional basketball in Finland. Via BallinEurope:
The news comes from a Finnish newspaper, and naturally there could be a few things lost in translation. There's some question about the report's legitimacy, but by all appearances, it's the real deal.
“The 31-year old Artest has three years left in his Lakers contract, but that doesn’t seem to bother LoKoKo sports director Aleksi Valavuori, who backs up the rumor in Tuesday’s Ilta-Sanomat newspaper.
“We have sorted things out and I can happily confirm that Artest will arrive in Finland,” Valavuori states in the Ilta-Sanomat interview.
I assume this is all lockout contingent, because Artest does have three years left on his Lakers deal, which could complicates things with FiBA rules. I don't really know how that all plays out with lockout rules, but Artest would be risking his contract for sure if he were to get injured.
As BallinEurope points out, Valavuori has pulled over other NBA players to appear in the Finnish league before. In November 2005, more than 7,000 people watched Dennis Rodman play in Helsinki and then in November 2008, Scottie Pippen played for Topo in Finland.
The report says Artest will appear in just a few games, so it's more likely a publicity stunt and not actually that he's joining a team for a season. But no doubt Artest is taking his new name seriously. Metta World Peace is going global, ya'll.