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12:30 p.m. ET, 1/18/07

Any Takers For Artest?

Posted by Marty Burns
Ron Artest, who has played for three teams in his seven-plus seasons, could be on the move again before the trade deadline.
Greg Nelson/SI
On Saturday, Ron Artest is scheduled to make his first visit to Detroit since the infamous Malice at the Palace. Unless, of course, he gets traded before then; the Kings reportedly are shopping the 6-foot-7 swingman.

But would any team want him?

The Clippers, who could offer Corey Maggette, would seem like a natural fit. They desperately could use a wing stopper to shore up their leaky defense, and Hollywood loves personalities like Artest. Plus, L.A. has Artest's former AAU and Bulls teammate Elton Brand to stay in Ron Ron's ear when he's feeling unloved.

The Heat, Spurs and Artest's hometown Knicks also have been mentioned as possible destinations.

It's very easy to look at Artest and see all the positives he brings. Inside-outside scoring. Rugged defense. A bull-in-the-china-shop intensity. Just enough zaniness to keep foes on edge.

It's also easy to gloss over some of Artest's past behavior. Other than the brawl, what grave sins has he committed? Last season's controversy in Indiana, for example, really began only because Artest told a local beat writer that he was unhappy in Hoosier Land and might benefit from a change of scenery. Stupid, yes. Ungrateful, definitely. But hardly deserving of a scarlet letter.

To some, Artest could be another Dennis Rodman. Remember how he was vilified in his San Antonio days before Chicago stole him off the scrap heap and plugged him into its All-Star lineup? All Rodman did was go on to help the Bulls win three rings.

But as tempting as it might be for one of these teams to make a play for Artest, they should take a pass. It's not that Artest is a bad guy. It's just that he has too many personal issues to make him a safe investment. For whatever reasons, he just can't stay happy and focused on basketball. Artest has to act up or cause distractions, whether it's complaining about "touches" or asking for time off to promote his latest music venture. Ultimately it erodes team chemistry.

As for those comparisons to Rodman, forget it. The flamboyant rebounder might have been eccentric, but unlike Artest he did it strictly for the publicity. Besides, the Bulls had Michael Jordan around to keep Rodman in line.

Caveat emptor isn't just sound advice for car buyers. It applies to NBA GMs as well. Especially when it comes to Artest.

Comments:

Posted: 1:44 PM   by Brandon
Three words, NEW YORK KNICKS. The garden would the best fit for Artest
Posted: 1:59 PM   by Anonymous
pat loves him as a player, here he will have to deal with oneal . pat can do wonders for players like him
Posted: 2:10 PM   by Anonymous
You are wrong! He IS A terrible person. He shouldnt even be in the league. Any team that takes a chance on him deserves the inevitable failure that he will bring.
Posted: 2:15 PM   by rich
the lakers or knicks could be good fits as both need a stopper at the three spot. ny's balkman could eventually into such stopper but needs seasoning and PT. at LA, phil has experience in working with the artest-type in rodman. plus, with the reincarnated Kobe and the triangle, touches would not be a problem. lakers have some bigs and backcourt that could work in a trade, but probably cap space would not allow. knicks could offer frye and nate.
Posted: 2:57 PM   by Anonymous
I dont know if Ron Artest or Dennis Rodman are 'good people' or not. But the comparison is flawed. Rodman, when he was sent to the Bulls, had already helped the Pistons to two championships. Artest is yet to prove he can win on that level.
Posted: 5:15 PM   by Anonymous
Anyone who would want Ron Artest might as well kiss their season goodbye. All he does is put a curse on any self-respecting team trying to better themselves. Indiana went out on a limb for him and look how he repaid them. That team in 2004-2005 could have competed for an NBA title. Now the Pacers are a team in disarray, thanks in a large part because of the infamous Mr. Artest.
Posted: 6:08 PM   by Anonymous
I have written two comments and you haven't published them, maybe the third time is a charm. Ron Artest will ruin whatever team he plays for. He will show his best behavior at first, but when things don't go his way, watch out. I'm glad Sacramento figured out what Indiana went through.
Posted: 6:57 PM   by Scot
I completely agree with Burns. Artest is a distraction and a joke. Anyone who does what Artest has done obviously is disconnected with reality and doesn't have their mind on the game. I mean, what did he do after he got suspended for the rest of the year? He went on some show like the Today show and kept changing the subject to his record label, Truwarier (the butchery of the English language, my goodness). The guy disrupts team chemistry and his personality and honestly--I say this with no vitriol whatsoever--he has the maturity of a grade schooler. Until Artest can man up and show the maturity to play as a teammate and not as a petulant baby, no one should touch him with a 10-foot pole. Or at least his contract should have so many clauses that he literally is paid for every time he scores a point, a rebound, an assist, as well as for every time he shuts up when talking to the media.
Posted: 7:38 PM   by Anonymous
OK, the guy isn't exactly Norman Normal. If you were to look ONLY at the "Malace At The Palace" incident, he looks one way. But honestly, you look deeper at the guy and he really does NOT look to be like a terrible human being! Is he a bit of a weird-o? Yes! Did he make a terrible MISTAKE? YES!! Can he be a bit of a flake or even a jerk?? Sure. But he and everyone else in sports live under a microscope. Would YOUR life hold up to that??

From personal experience, I have made mistakes - some of them bigger than others - one in particular, a REGRETTABLE. A mistake I could never imagine myself making. But ya know what?? I don't look at myself as a terrible person. After that one perticular mistake, I thought "will I ever be able to look at myself as the same guy I was before?" After a little while, I decided "No. I can't be the same guy - I'm gonna be a BETTER man for it". And I learned a LOT about being judgemental of other people who may make a mistake or two in the heat of the moment.

I say "Rock on, Ron Artest. Prove the haters wrong".

And as far as basketball goes, I agree that Pat Riley might be the guy to bring out the best in him.
Posted: 9:33 PM   by Anonymous
Artest is a ticking time bomb. I can't imagine any team in the NBA being prepared to deal with his manic behavior. Maybe the Harlem Globetrotters could give him a try.
Posted: 10:33 PM   by Max
It's not that Rodman's exploits weren't a distraction to teams, it's that distractions only becoming distracting when a team is losing. Not only did Rodman have Jordan to keep him focused, but he had wins to keep him satisfied.

I agree with you that Artest is a more difficult and troubled person than Rodman, but I think if he ends up in just the right situation he could have success. I'm sure at this point the Kings would take table scraps for him.

To me, Miami would be absolutely perfect. They are in need of a small forward, they will win games, particularly with Artest replacing james posey or dorell wright or antoine walker or whoever the hell they are starting at SF these days, and they have O'Neal, a vocal and intimidating, no nonsense leader. Obviously the situation would be even more ripe for Artest were Riley still coaching, but I still see it as deal that needs to get done.

As a Knicks fan, I'm praying that Isiah doesn't take on another flawed player. It's his biggest shortcoming as a GM - looking at the potential of a player and not considering their faults and history. The team has found some chemistry despite all the turmoil and trades that they've been through in recent history.
Posted: 2:59 AM   by Anonymous
I a raptors fan Torontonian and wouldn't want him here because of the chemistry we have in our team. However, I would love to see him play with Lakers with Mr. Hollywood a.k.a Kobe and Dr. Phill Jackson (the maestro)! He would be a great player to compete with despite of his mixed behavior!!
Posted: 9:16 AM   by Anonymous
Artest definitely needs a high end coach, (Riley, Jackson, Sloan) to be able to keep him in line. I think as long as Artest is in a winning situation where a championship is a reality, and the team has a strong personality to keep him under control, he can be an asset.

I don't see Artest ever having a repeat incident like the one in Detroit, because he has to know he'd be looking at a lifetime ban from the league.

Would I want him on the Heat? With Jason Kapono coming on strong recently, I'm not sure if Artest's defense is worth it, but it's an intruiging idea.
Posted: 9:54 AM   by antonio
LA LAKERS, need i say more...oh my!! what if the lakers actually had someone to play inside defense...Artest is easily one one the top five all around players in the league...a bit unstable, yes, but so was Rodman...In todays NBA winning now is the story and Artest wins..I mean come on! how irrelevant is Indiana since he left??..If I was the Maloofs I would tell Bibby to shut up and play defense...Artest is worth the risk folks..get over yourselves
Posted: 11:45 AM   by Anonymous
LA Lakers is where Artest needs to end up. I think that LA should have made a run the first time at him. However, they have the pieces to get him now and they need him to make a serious run at the title. He would give them another tough defender, Kobe of course the other. I also think he could come in and guard the other teams main star without a problem, not that Kobe cant but know imagine how fresh Kobe's legs would be in the fourth.
Posted: 12:01 PM   by BIG O
Personally, I think Ron is a tremendous talent and he gets himself in tough situation when he speaks out. On another note, like all sports the league needs a villain Dennis and the Bad Boys Piston, Rasheed “Technical King” Wallace, and now Ron “I’m unhappy” Artest. The fact is Ron has to go to a team where he is not the featured guy or the next guy in line the third option fits his character to deviate some of the attention from his teammates when need be. I feel Miami should be the team that will be the best fit for his skills and personality.
I bet Phil and Kobe could squeeze a couple of great seasons out of him. Imagine Kobe and Artest at the 2-3 -- that would be some deluxe wing D. But i think the Lakers would have to part with Odom to make that happen, which probably wouldn't be worth it.

Someone else who might have the stature to keep Ron-Ron in line is Garnett. Speaking offierce D--Ron at the 3 with KG at the 4? Plus, if Ron's happy and in line, he would provide the steady second scorer KG needs.

The Miami heat idea is also intriguing.

In short, I disagree with Burns' take that Rodman wasn't a legit headcase. He was, and the bulls rode him to three rings, and the right team could do the same with Artest.
Posted: 4:53 PM   by Anonymous
Artest has been well behaved in Sacramento, all in all. The only reason Artest may be dealt is because they are seriously looking into rebuilding with the youth movement.
Posted: 7:33 PM   by Anonymous
Who developed Ron ? The answer is one of the top three talent evaluators...Isiah Thomas. The Kings would bait with Channing Frye and Renaldo Balkman. Imagine this versatile starting five... Artest, Lee, Curry, Richardson and Marbury. The aforementioned players will provide a natural scare to the Pistons, Bulls, Cavaliers and Heat... 45 wins until the end of the season.
Posted: 10:50 AM   by Anonymous
The only people that want him on their team, are people who never had a chance to see how much he screws up team chemistry. Im from Indianapolis; I got to watch first hand the slow rot that guy produced. Our team still hasnt recovered (well, that and Reggie retiring.. we also lost our identity as a team but thats another matter)

We havent heard much about him since he went to Sacramento.. but he's still a liability unless he puts in another couple years of blowup-free behavior.
Posted: 4:47 PM   by Pablo (Texas)
Artest would be a great pick up for any team, but only if he goes to a contending team with an alpha male. Artest views himself as a top player (and rightly so); that has caused problems in Sacramento. In Rodman's case, he went to a team with an alpha male (Jordan) who kept him in line. If Artest goes to a team where there is no player to keep him in line it would have the same outcome as in Sacramento, except he would be untradeable until his contract runs out (Kings having enough difficulty finding takers now). So which player would keep him in line? honestly there is no one that comes to mind. Duncan and Brand don't have that personality. maybe Shaq or Wade in Miami. the only situation that comes close is Kobe and the Lakers. If the Lakers can acquire Artest in exchange for Vlad Radmanovic or Kwame it would be a good deal for both teams.
Posted: 12:13 PM   by Anonymous
He is a good player, but he is probably a cancer to any team. If he joined a contender, he would have to take less shots and play his role, which is to defend and rebound.
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