Lakers forward Metta World Peace, who was suspended for seven games for elbowing the Thunder's James Harden on the left side of the face on April 22, told ESPNLosAngeles.com he has no interest in visiting with Harden at the outset of the second-round playoff series against OKC.
"I don't shake substitutes' hands," World Peace said of Harden, a near-unanimous selection as this season's Sixth Man of the Year.
World Peace issued an apology following the incident and told reporters he attempted to reach out to check on Harden's health through a third party. However, World Peace and Harden have yet to speak.
"I'm not worried about him, or what he has to say," Harden said Sunday.
World Peace claims Thunder players ignore the mutual sign of respect before tipoff with a handshake or fist pound.
"I shake everybody's hand before the game, but Oklahoma City, they don't shake hands," World Peace said. "Only some of them, but I don't think they really shake hands before the game. Kendrick Perkins and now (Russell) Westbrook don't shake hands either. (Westbrook) used to shake hands, but now he don't shake hands anymore."
Oklahoma City's Nick Collison responded: "Shaking hands is, like, so low on our concerns right now, it's not really an issue. We're going to be ready to play. You've got to win four games. That's our job. You can't win four until you win one."
World Peace said he was not worried about a hostile environment at The Peake, particularly toward him.
"That's not my concern," World Peace said. "That's their concern. Freedom of America, freedom of speech, freedom to really do what you want to do. That's why it's a great country."
Bryant said the OKC crowd will be a factor and must be accounted for.
"It's going to be intense," Bryant said. "The crowd is obviously going to have a field day with that (World Peace's return). I'm sure their players will generate some type of energy from it. For us, we just got to keep our poise and do what we do."
Fisher smiled as he shared his prediction on the crowd.
"Good, old-fashioned southern hospitality," said Fisher, who played collegiately at Arkansas-Little Rock. "That's the type of reception I expect he'll get. That's fair game. The fans will be excited. I'm looking forward to it, being on this side of these fans this time at this point of the season. I can only imagine the amount of energy they have stored up and we'll have to properly utilize that energy. We can't get too caught up in it, but I expect it's going to be a lot of fun."
Collison: "I'm sure it will be loud. It usually can't get much louder than any of the playoff games we've had. So we expect it'll be really loud. It'll be fun."
Harden: "It'll get loud in there. We're looking forward to it."
ESPN reporter Colleen Dominguez has spent several days following the Thunder during the playoffs. Her feature pieces on Westbrook, Harden, Kevin Durant and Serge Ibaka will run throughout the playoffs.