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Category: Metta World Peace

Metta World Peace: If I showed you my abs, you'd leave your husband

When a female reporter asked Metta World Peace if he was out of shape at the Lakers' practice facility Sunday, he turned to her and said, "If I showed you my abs right now, you'd probably leave your husband."

And remain chaste for the rest of her life?

His statement, which drew laughs from a group of reporters, was an attempt to backtrack on comments he made Friday in which he acknowledged that he had let himself go during the lockout by drinking a few too many martinis.

"I was just playing," World Peace insisted Sunday. 

The reporter then called his bluff and asked that World Peace reveal his allegedly chiseled midsection.

"No," he said.

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-- Melissa Rohlin

Metta World Peace arrives to training camp out of shape

Normally, most athletes enter training camp raving about the pounds they shed, the muscle they developed and the speed they added.

As most have already noticed by now, Metta World Peace isn't your typical athlete.

Without prompting, he admitted he entered the first day of training camp on Friday out of shape. He revealed he had an Achille's tendon injury during last season's playoffs and couldn't fully heal it during the offseason because the lockout prevented visits to trainer Gary Vitti. And World Peace acknowledged taking a full two months off this summer, when he played very little basketball.

"When David Stern says there's going to be a nuclear winter, I'm thinking the season isn't starting anytime soon," said World Peace, who will wear the No. 15 jersey number this season. "So a little more martinis in November and then, boom, David Stern says no nuclear winter and we have a season."

World Peace's brutal honesty might not be the best approach considering the Lakers have contemplated waiving his three-year, $21.5 million contract under the recently approved amnesty rule. But his admission that he's overweight shouldn't spark more concerns than he's already elicited.  

"The thing that excited me about him is during drillls he always tried to keep himself in to give himself some extra reps," Lakers Coach Mike Brown said. "I know for sure he went through at least two practice jerseys if not more. He's working his tail off and you can't ask for anything more."

Except perhaps to arrive to training camp in better shape. 

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--Mark Medina

E-mail the Lakers blog at mgmedin@gmail.com

Photo: Forward Metta World Peace -- yes, formerly Ron Artest -- towels off during the end of the Lakers' first practice on Friday in El Segundo. Credit: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

Mitch Kupchak always worries about Metta World Peace

The mere mentioning of Metta World Peace solicited amused smiles and boisterous laughs among Lakers Coach Mike Brown and General Manager Mitch Kupchak.

Brown continuously joked about how he's going to adjust to addressing the Lakers' player formerly known as Ron Artest. "I might just call him Metta or Met," Brown said Friday at the team's practice facility in El Segundo. "I don't want to call him Peace because he may think that's grounds for him to be able to leave practice." But underneath the smirks and the jokes stood the reality that the Lakers remain wary of World Peace.

Kupchak continued delivering punch lines when I asked if he's particularly concerned with World Peace's focus entering the 2011-12 season. "We've had concerns the moment we signed him," Kupchak said when Artest agreed to a five-year deal, worth $33 million, in the 2009 off-season. "That's not changed. I don't think it's greater or any less. I think it's the same."

But what isn't the same is whether the Lakers simply tolerate World Peace's goofy antics or view it as the triggering point in waiving him via the so-called amnesty clause. The Times' Mike Bresnahan reported that's a strong possibility, particularly after this season. And particularly with the Lakers' desire to upgrade their roster without significantly going over the luxury tax, cutting ties with World Peace may become an unavoidable reality.

Granted, labeling Ron Artest's poor 2011-12 season as evidence he's distracted not only seems lazy, it makes him a scapegoat because the Lakers suffered far more serious problems last season than World Peace missing break-away dunks, hoisting ill-advised three-pointers or posting a career-low 8.9 points per game. Worrying about his focus level also misses the point because it's never directly correlated to how World Peace plays basketball.

Kupchak gets that part in the Lakers' need to tolerate World Peace's behavior at some level because the payoff can be high, such as strong defensive performances, a surprise tip-in in the Western Conference Finals or a key three-pointer in Game 7 of the NBA Finals. But World Peace needs to understand he doesn't have the same platform to entertain as he once did following his significant role in Game 7 of the 2010 NBA Finals. Right now, his name change may solicit laughs from Brown and Kupchak. But it will no longer appear amusing should World Peace's poor play persist.

RELATED:

Metta World Peace needs to understand flimsy job security

Concerns about Ron Artest's distractions miss the point

Ron Artest striving to maintain balance with devotion to basketball and rap music

--Mark Medina

E-mail the Lakers blog at mgmedin@gmail.com

Mitch Kupchak says Lakers will be 'very limited' in free agency

Mitch Kupchak

The Lakers roster that takes the floor at Staples Center on Christmas could look a lot like the one that shows up when training camp starts a week from Friday.

General Manager Mitch Kupchak said Friday during a media conference at the team's training facility in El Segundo that he would be "very limited" as far as bringing in free agents. Depending on whether shooting guard Shannon Brown decides to re-sign with the team, the Lakers could target a guard and forward in free agency but have limited options to acquire them.

They can use the so-called mini mid-level exception of three years and $9.4 million as well as a veteran's minimum of $1 million, leaving the Lakers hoping that quality players will want to come to Los Angeles for other reasons besides money.

"We're hopeful there's a player out there who's made money in his career and is on the back end and is looking at a championship, or a player who is developing," Kupchak said. "That's harder to do."

Kupchak said he did not anticipate that Theo Ratliff or Joe Smith would be returning to the roster, but he confirmed that he had been in contact with Brown's agent. The Lakers can exercise team options on second-year players Devin Ebanks and Derrick Caracter and must decide whether to sign second-round draft picks Darrius Morris and Andrew Goudelock.

Kupchak almost sounded resigned to losing Brown, who has been a free agent at the end of each of his seasons with the Lakers and has explored more lucrative offers elsewhere.

"My guess is, you can only continue to do that for such a period of time where it doesn't make any more sense," Kupchak said, "so I would think this year he would look for and probably get a package that's financially much more attractive than we could offer under the present rules."

Morris, Derek Fisher and Matt Barnes were among the Lakers who stopped by the team's training facility for informal workouts Friday. Coach Mike Brown briefly hailed Fisher from across the court before smiling and putting his finger to his lips, a nod to the fact that coaches are not supposed to speak with players before the NBA lockout formally ends.

With only 16 days to hold practices before the Lakers' opener, the coach said he would try not to overwhelm his players. And what would he call Metta World Peace?

"I might just call him Metta or Met," Brown said. "I don't want to call him Peace, because he might think that's grounds for him to leave practice."

We'll have more later at www.latimes.com/sports.

-- Ben Bolch

Photo: "We believe in this group," Mitch Kupchak says of the current Lakers roster. Credit: Richard Hartog / Los Angeles Times

Lakers have limited participation in first practice session

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The NBA lockout may have ended, but the Lakers' practice facility Thursday remained as quiet as ever.

They officially opened its doors for players under contract, unsigned rookies and free agents interested in working out. But many didn't take up the team's offer. In fact, only three players actually attended, according to a team spokesperson, including Lakers forward Devin Ebanks, Lakers rookie guard Darius Morris and, of all people, Metta World Peace. For whatever reason, however, the Laker player formerly known as Ron Artest arrived in street clothes. With the Lakers withholding media access, the only details we have come courtesy of Ebanks' Twitter account where he posted a photo of his unkept locker.

"Got some good shots up today," Ebanks tweeted. "Comin bak Lata on tho! Late session."

Continue reading »

Metta World Peace needs to understand flimsy job security

Metta World PeaceAchieving world peace comes with a hefty price tag.

The Lakers might feel the same way about another form of World Peace, this one the goofy 6-foot-7 Lakers forward who flexes his biceps, makes the Staples Center crowd gasp every time he shoots and goes by the first name Metta.

The Times' Mike Bresnahan has reported that the Lakers might waive the player formerly known as Ron Artest via the league's amnesty clause. Such a move could prove somewhat risky considering that Artest's defense remains strong and waiving World Peace would make it necessary for the Lakers acquire a defensive stalwart to replace him. But the thought process makes sense for basketball and monetary reasons.

World Peace averaged a career-low 8.5 points last season and appears, at 32, to be on the decline in maintaining the lateral movement and quickness that have made him a top defender. By shedding World Peace's three-year, $21.5-million contract, Bresnahan estimated that the Lakers could save as much as $27 millon in salary and taxes in 2013-14 under the new rules, should the Lakers remain between $10 million and $15 million over the tax threshold. That would prove more beneficial than even cutting forward Luke Walton (two years, $11.46 million). 

That's why it's important World Peace understands and embraces the need to temper his antics, ranging from his Twitter rants to his on-court goofiness and his name himself. Some of it proves to be no more than harmless fun. Most of the criticism about his apparent distractions also miss the point since his struggles last season pointed more to his declining abilities. But he's no longer entering a season with the nostalgia from his Game 7 heroics of the 2010 NBA Finals prompting the Lakers to tolerate his behavior. World Peace is entering a season in which the Lakers face plenty of uncertainty, including a new head coach and an aging roster, and many of his actions will be scrutinized.

For the Lakers to embrace World Peace, he will have to play a diplomatic hand. He can't become defensive about it in his comments. He will have to be defensive about it on the court. He can't lament the Lakers not appreciating his work ethic. He will have to show off that motor during games. He can't blame his poor offense on the triangle offense. The Lakers aren't running that anymore.

Frankly, World Peace needs to play as though he is fighting to keep his job. It's the only way he will save it, and it's the only way the Lakers will embrace World Peace.  

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-- Mark Medina

E-mail the Lakers blog at mgmedin@gmail.com

Metta World Peace challenges Michael Jordan to one-on-one

Metta World Peace

The NBA lockout has hurt people in more ways than one.

The basketball fans miss out on their fix. Team employees, arena workers, and yes, even escort services are feeling the pinch. The league itself could see the $4 billion it collected last year in total revenue go completely down the drain.

As for Lakers forward Metta World Peace, the work stoppage  apparently has made him suffer amnesia for reasons beyond missing out on the remainder of his three-year, $21-million deal. It's further propelled him to go on unsolicited Twitter rants, which resulted in him Monday night challenging Michael Jordan to a game of one-on-one.

"Come on Jordan!! Bring it. One on one. I win lockout over. I'll beat u with my eyes closed and a in and out burger in my right hand!!"

Continue reading »

Metta World Peace: 'I don't really base my life around money'

Metta World Peace might make other NBA players cringe when he talks about the lockout.

His goes on random tangents. He doesn't speak like a politician the way players' union President Derek Fisher does. And, well, how does anyone expect an owner or NBA Commissioner David Stern to take someone seriously after he changes his name to Metta World Peace?

So of course, some players may dislike what he said Friday afternoon about the NBA labor negotiations: "When I came to the Lakers, it wasn’t about money for me. It wasn’t about money. I didn’t even negotiate. I asked, 'What do you want to give me?' and I signed it. Other players have concerns, but I don’t really base my life around money."

But in his own zany way, Ron Ron offered some well-needed perspective on the current work stoppage while making an appearance Friday at the Hollywood & Highland Center promoting Sungevity, a residential solar company that features an ice cream truck that runs on solar panels and bio fuel.

"Instead of trying to become basketball players and a rapper, get a degree or become an owner," World Peace said. "Get into real estate. Really take your education seriously in college. Not everybody will make it. There’s only 400 players in the NBA. What are you going to do after that? How many more businesses are you creating so we don’t have to go through this and in the future we don’t have to go through this?"

World Peace raises a good point about the necessity viewing what the lockout means beyond money. That's why he appeared disinterested in analyzing the owners' current offer that features a 50-50 split in basketball-related income. World Peace, who signed with the Lakers in 2009 to a five-year, $33-million deal at the mid-level exception, stressed his disregard for money when he was asked his concerns about the next labor deal drastically cutting the MLE. He routinely described the lockout as "educational," arguing he had more experience handling his finances after drawing an 86-game suspension for his involvement in the infamous Malice at the Palace brawl in 2004.

"It’s their business," World Peace said. "It’s not our business. As you can see, Mr. Stern can change rules whenever he wants. He does that a lot and sometimes it’s better for the game. But it’s educational for me." 

-- Mark Medina

E-mail the Lakers blog at mgmedin@gmail.com

Metta World Peace, Devin Ebanks to be at Sungevity promotion

Ron Artest for Sungevity

With NBA players out of work, there are ways to maintain at least part of their cushy incomes.

A few have taken their talents overseas. Some have increased their commercial and product endorsements. And then there are others, such as Lakers forwards Metta World Peace and Devin Ebanks, that are returning to more humble origins.

You know, like giving away ice pops. This isn't Ron Ron and Ebanks driving around in an ice cream truck, exactly. It's supposed to be more energy efficient. They'll be giving away ice pops Nov. 11 from noon to 2 p.m. at the Hollywood-Highland center while promoting Sungevity, a residential company that features an ice cream truck that runs on solar panels and bio fuel. The truck also features installed i-Pads that will provide potential customers with an i-quote for installing solar panels on their homes.

A Sungevity spokesperson confirmed World Peace and Ebanks would be compensated an unspecified amount. David Bauman, who represents both World Peace and Ebanks as their agent, couldn't be immediately reached for comment. For World Peace, this venture may not exactly match his effort in applying to Best Buy earlier in his career so he could receive a customer discount. But at least he'll be able to listen to the ice cream music jingles.

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-- Mark Medina

E-mail the Lakers blog at mgmedin@gmail.com and follow the Lakers blog on Facebook

Photo: Lakers forward Metta World Peace will serve free ice pops Nov. 11 between Hollywood and Highland Blvd. to promote Sungevity's ice pop truck. Credit: Sungevity.

NBA lockout: Who should Lakers waive via amnesty clause?

Mitch KupchakAll the hand-wringing during the NBA lockout negotiations makes it unclear what exactly a new collective bargaining agreement will entail.

But there's one thing that's likely to come to fruition: All teams will have an amnesty clause allowing them to shed a bad contract without any financial consequences.

Forget about wondering what this could mean for Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol or Andrew Bynum. Even if Bryant is nearing the tail-end of his career, Gasol played poorly in the 2011 NBA playoffs and Bynum may remain injury-prone, sizing up those scenarios are just absurd. Bryant remains the team's franchise player, and shedding ties would only start an L.A. riot. Gasol's postseason showing will prove to be nothing more than an aberration. And for Bynum, the Lakers' front office loves him so much there's nothing outside of an offer for Dwight Howard that would prompt the Lakers to part ways.

There are a few others, however, who should be worried about their future should this likely scenario happen. 

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