The Lakers’ concerns are less than weighty
Metta World Peace changed his name, went “Dancing With the Stars” and drank martinis well into November with the lockout threatening the season.
Andrew Bynum worked out with a famed boxing coach, infamously parked his convertible across two handicapped spots and heard his name mentioned in trade rumors.
Other than that, it was just another off-season for the Lakers duo.
Story lines that would have been among the focal points on the first day of Lakers training camp under usual circumstances were rendered secondary items of interest by the zaniness that unfolded Friday.
A trade that would have brought New Orleans guard Chris Paul to Los Angeles before NBA Commissioner David Stern nixed the deal was being discussed anew, leaving the Lakers unsure who was coming or going with little more than two weeks before their season opener.
“It’s always going to be like that with the Lakers,” Bynum said.
Bynum has been widely considered a bargaining chip for the Lakers in their bid to acquire Paul and/or Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard, though the 7-footer said trade talks don’t faze him.
“I’m not shook up about it,” Bynum said. “If I’m here tomorrow, that’s great. If not, that’s still great; I still get to play basketball, it will just be for someone else.”
World Peace also faces the possibility of switching teams if the Lakers opt to waive him under the league’s new amnesty provision that allows teams to shed one unfavorable contract, though it appears the veteran forward will probably remain in Los Angeles through at least the end of this season.
For now, at least, there’s more World Peace than usual to go around. The player formerly known as Ron Artest acknowledged he was heavier than he would have preferred after taking off two months during the summer and then overindulging when it appeared the NBA season was in jeopardy.
“When David Stern says there’s going to be a nuclear winter, I’m thinking the season’s not going to start in December,” World Peace said. “So a little bit more martinis in November, and then -- boom! -- David Stern says no nuclear winter, they’re having a season.”
World Peace said his conditioning efforts were hindered in part by not being able to use the Lakers’ training facility during the lockout or discuss an Achilles’ tendon injury with trainer Gary Vitti. He also admitted not giving a full effort during his one-and-done appearance on “Dancing With the Stars.”
“I never really went to practice,” he said.
Conditioning doesn’t appear to be an issue for Bynum, who said he weighed a relatively lean 278 pounds after summer workouts with boxing instructor Freddie Roach. Bynum also pronounced his often-troublesome knees fine, though he won’t get to test them until the Lakers’ sixth game unless his suspension for committing a flagrant foul in the playoffs is reduced.
World Peace said he retained his No. 15 jersey from last season because “that number deserves a ring,” a reference to the fact that he wore No. 37 during the Lakers’ NBA title run in 2010. But World Peace’s name change prompted some confusion Friday, when most of his teammates continued to call him Ron.
“It’s not a problem,” World Peace said.
Do Ron and Metta have different personalities?
“I don’t know yet,” World Peace said. “If I could write a book and make some money, I’ll say they’re different people.”
Three players sign
Second-round draft picks Darius Morris and Andrew Goudelock signed non-guaranteed contracts with the Lakers and would each make about $475,000 if they were still with the team at the end of the season.
As expected, the Lakers signed shooting guard Jason Kapono to a one-year deal for the veteran’s minimum of about $1.3 million.
Times staff writer Mike Bresnahan contributed to this report.
Get our high school sports newsletter
Prep Rally is devoted to the SoCal high school sports experience, bringing you scores, stories and a behind-the-scenes look at what makes prep sports so popular.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.