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As Lakers await Steve Nash, Metta World Peace sounds off (sort of)

Steve Nash unlikely to return Saturday. Metta World Peace appears unhappy (maybe, possibly) with loss of starting job. Then there's Antawn Jamison's strange demotion.

December 21, 2012|By Mike Bresnahan
  • Metta World Peace didn't start for the Lakers Tuesday, and the forward hasn't been consistent with whether or not he agrees with Coach Mike D'Antoni's decision to bring him in off the bench.
Metta World Peace didn't start for the Lakers Tuesday, and the forward… (Michael Nelson / EPA )

Lakers Coach Mike D'Antoni certainly isn't afraid to take chances.

In the span of 48 minutes Tuesday, he took away Metta World Peace's starting job and also parked Antawn Jamison on the bench the entire time against Charlotte.

"If I'm experimenting, it means I'm not getting quite what I want," D'Antoni said.

But what does World Peace want? It's always entertaining to find out.

He initially said the right things about the demotion, claiming he would accept it for the betterment of the team but not wanting to go too in-depth about it, quickly touting his new music single ("Represented," for those who care) and reminding reporters it was available now on iTunes.

On Friday, however, World Peace appeared less open to the concept when asked if he was still fine with coming off the bench.

"I'm not answering that at all. Absolutely not. I have no comment," said World Peace, the Lakers' second-best player in a surprising number of games this season.

Welcome to another day of uncertainty about the Lakers' rotation, starting with Steve Nash, who was asked if there was even a 50-50 chance of him returning Saturday to play against Golden State.

"I wouldn't say that," Nash said.

On the plus side, though, World Peace was simply happy to be alive.

One of his favorite movies is "2012," the destruction-filled epic based on the Mayan calendar's prediction that the world would end Friday.

World Peace was relieved it didn't.

"I want to live forever. I want to live for like 100 years," he said.

At any rate, the Lakers (12-14) move forward, alive and excited to be here. Well, they're alive.

They've won three in a row against poor competition and will get a better idea of where they stand Saturday night.

D'Antoni was noncommittal when asked if Jamison would get back into the rotation against the surprisingly strong Warriors, and the coach had only loose predictions of an eventual World Peace return to the starting lineup.

"I like where he is," D'Antoni said. "He's OK with either role. There will be certain matchups he has to start."

World Peace would get the nod against Kevin Durant if the Lakers played Oklahoma City, starting at small forward for such a game, D'Antoni said.

World Peace will be a backup power forward in most other situations . . . for now. The one thing he seemed fine with was playing either forward position.

"I'm stronger than most power forwards in the NBA anyways so it doesn't really matter," he said. "There's not many power forwards that are going to overpower me."

World Peace averaged 13.3 points as a starter and actually fared well in his first game as a reserve, accruing 17 points, seven rebounds and four steals in 36 minutes in the Lakers' 101-100 victory over Charlotte.

Nash to play?

Hopefully it ends soon, if for no other reason than reporters are tired of asking the same questions and Nash is tired of answering them.

For the record, Nash did not commit to playing in Saturday's game.

"Christmas for sure," he said, referring to the Lakers' game Tuesday against New York.

Nash hasn't played since the second game of the season because of a small fracture in his lower left leg.

D'Antoni said he didn't care about the specific date of Nash's return. It's soon, regardless.

"Whatever day he returns will be Christmas," D'Antoni said jokingly.

mike.bresnahan@latimes.com

Twitter: @Mike_Bresnahan

Times correspondent Eric Pincus contributed to this report.

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