Like everyone else, Metta World Peace conceded the obvious reality surrounding Dwight Howard’s pending free agency.
“I honestly don’t even know what’s going on,” World Peace said Tuesday in a phone interview with this newspaper. “I’m not going to lie. Everytime people ask me a Dwight question, I lie and try to act like I know what’s going on.”
World Peace said he wasn’t just pretending to act oblivious about the Lakers’ most pressing issue this offseason, a tactic the Lakers forward often uses as a defense mechanism and to make reporters laugh.
“I really don’t. I’m in my own little world,” World Peace said. “I say, ‘I think that Dwight is going to come back.’ But I don’t know to tell you the truth. I’m in my own little world.”
Howard plans to test free agency beginning July 1 and will consider teams such as the Lakers, Dallas Mavericks, Houston Rockets, Atlanta Hawks and Golden State Warriors. Depending on the substance of the courtships, Howard’s considerations remain subject to change. But don’t expect World Peace to try to persuade Howard to stay with the Lakers, something Pau Gasol said on Monday he wouldn’t do either.
“That’s Dwight’s choice,” World Peace said. “It’s not really up to me at the end of the day. I’m a big Dwight supporter so I don’t really need to tell him how much I support him anymore considering as much as I did all season. Through the ups and downs, I was there for him. I haven’t spoken to Dwight since the season was over.”
World Peace supported Howard in a number of ways.
He was one of the lone Lakers that defended Howard in taking his time from healing from a partially torn labrum in his right shoulder. World Peace also has praised Howard from returning in time to play in the Lakers’ season opener, four to five months earlier than expected after having back surgery in the previous April. Even though he believed Howard initially appeared too jovial at times before games, World Peace has said he grew to appreciate his unique personality.
“I just hope he makes the best decision for him,” World Peace said. “That’s all that matters. I like him as a person and I hope he makes the best decision for himself. That’s all that matters.”
Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org