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Sixers Notes: Former 76er Jodie Meeks, now with Lakers, has no hard feelings for former team

LOS ANGELES - Sometimes when they leave a team and land somewhere else, NBA players don't speak fondly about their old club.

Los Angeles Lakers guard Jodie Meeks (20) looks for an opening against
Portland Trail Blazers forward Joel Freeland (19), of England, during
the fourth quarter of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Dec. 28, 2012,
in Los Angeles. Lakers won the game 104-87. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)
Los Angeles Lakers guard Jodie Meeks (20) looks for an opening against Portland Trail Blazers forward Joel Freeland (19), of England, during the fourth quarter of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Dec. 28, 2012, in Los Angeles. Lakers won the game 104-87. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)Read more

LOS ANGELES - Sometimes when they leave a team and land somewhere else, NBA players don't speak fondly about their old club.

Not so with Jodie Meeks, now a backup guard with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Meeks spent almost three seasons in Philadelphia and started 114 games before the 76ers allowed him to walk as a free agent last summer. Meeks wanted to stay in Philadelphia, but he knew that the Sixers wanted to free up more playing time for Evan Turner, the second overall pick in the 2010 draft.

No hard feelings.

"No, not at all," said Meeks, who signed a two-year, $3 million deal to be a backup with the Lakers. "I liked everything about Philadelphia. It was a good organization. I liked Coach [Doug] Collins and still do to this day. He gave me the chance to start in the NBA and I loved playing for him. . . . But they made a business decision and it was time to move on."

The Lakers hosted the Sixers on Tuesday night. Meeks is averaging 8.3 points and about 19 minutes per game. In his last season with the Sixers, he averaged 8.4 points and almost 25 minutes.

Meeks said he recognized the difference between Los Angeles and Philadelphia almost as soon as he got here. Five games into the season, after a 1-4 start, the Lakers fired coach Mike Brown and eventually replaced him with Mike D'Antoni.

It has not been an easy transition. Going into Tuesday's game, the Lakers were 10-10 under D'Antoni but had won six of their last seven.

"We've had a lot of turmoil on this team in the first two months," said Meeks, who said he has recently grown more comfortable playing for D'Antoni.

"But it's just different here," Meeks said. "Back in Philly, you want to make the playoffs. Here, the playoffs are expected and so are championships. There are guys on this team that are headed to the Hall of Fame, you know. So you just keep working, being professional and believing that we are going to be playing late in the postseason."

The Lakers made huge changes over the summer, trading for Dwight Howard and Steve Nash. However, Howard is still not 100 percent after back surgery, and Nash and Pau Gasol have missed significant time because of injuries.

Meeks believes that the Lakers will be fine, mostly because of their leader.

"I heard a lot of things about playing with Kobe [Bryant], and a lot of them were bad," Meeks said. "But it turns out that most of that stuff must have been made up. He's been a mentor to me. He works hard every day. He's the ultimate pro."

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