Wednesday, December 27, 2006

More Ron-Ron

by SonDog

This entire post is from Mark Stein's blog on ESPN Insider:

"I think Ron Artest, deep down, would be thrilled with a trade to the Clippers.

I'm even more convinced that the Kings have realized, rather suddenly, that they better trade Artest as soon as possible if they hope to get back something of value. To L.A. or wherever. I'm not quite sure why the Clips believe their honeymoon with Artest would last any longer than it did for Sacramento, but they're apparently giving serious consideration
to reviving the deal that was nearly consummated with Indiana in January 2005: Corey Maggette for Artest.

Artest has heard all of the above and more. He's well aware that skepticism about his conduct with the Kings and his relationship with the point guard is growing. Yet he insists that No. 1 on my list -- the only one of those three items Artest can address directly -- is a skewed view.

"I want to finish my career here in Sac with Mike Bibby," Artest stressed in a series of e-mails we exchanged. Artest also disputes the widespread notion that he and Bibby are wrestling for control of the team, insisting that he's "looking forward to buying a big mansion here [in Sacramento] next summer."

The irony, of course, is that Artest signed a six-month lease on a rental property in Clipperland about this time a year ago, before the Clips consummated anything. The Pacers wound up aborting that Maggette-for-Artest trade over concerns about Maggette's recovery from knee surgery. Now? The Clips are sorting through their own reservations. There's no question they need a shakeup, especially defensively. It's also true that they can get Artest without Sacramento even bringing up Shaun Livingston, whom L.A. refused to part with during the Allen Iverson Sweepstakes.

However . . . The root of the Kings' newfound tension, by all accounts, is Artest's Whose Team Is It? tangle with Bibby. With the Clips, you could make the case that Artest wouldn't be higher in their pecking order than No. 3 or 4, with Elton Brand, Sam Cassell and Livingston on the same roster.

You suspect he'd have to be really geeked about the Hollywood music scene, and what it can do for his rap career, to be OK with that status. The Kings' position is easier to figure. Even though co-owner Joe Maloof branded Artest as their "face of the franchise" over the summer -- and even though Gavin Maloof said late last season that he and his gambling brother hoped to keep Artest in Kings robes "forever" -- recent events pretty much forced an about-face. If Artest isn't traded soon and more chaos ensues, his limited trade market shrinks further.

He's not Allen Iverson, remember. With Iverson, interested teams fretted about AI's willingness to share the ball and his well-chronicled aversion to practice, but no one doubts his readiness to play or ability to sell tickets. The list of concerns is a lot longer with Artest. A chronic lack of dependability got him exiled from Chicago and Indiana and the Kings are starting to know the feeling. We covered a bunch of it in
the Weekend Dime. In Monday's Sacramento Bee, my colleague Sam Amick reported that Artest "has been acting very emotional and unpredictable for some time, including . . . one stretch in which he 'didn't talk to (his teammates) for four days.'"

"Just false reports," Artest counters. "I'm happy here and want to be a part of the new Sacramento Kings. We are so competitive that, when we lose, it's not something we [can] get used to. Most teams lose and you won't hear a thing the whole season. On this team, Mike will blame himself and I will blame myself. But we are playing better and Brad Miller is back, so people should expect wins."

As for Bibby, who can opt of his contract at season's end to enter free agency, Artest added: "We talked [at Sunday's practice] and we talk every day. We have to get used to playing with each other. But we both plan to stay in Sac."

A cynic might say that Artest is saying all the right things to convince the Clips to ignore any reservations they might have and go through with the deal.

Me? I have to think Artest, deep down, knows staying or going won't be his call at all."


OZ said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
OZ said...

This sucks. This is not what Sac needs to get back on track.

Want to know how a baby can change your basketball viewing? I fell asleep during the 3rd quarter last night.......before 9. No wonder the East coast doesn't care about West coast teams, there isn't anybody up to watch them.