Breaking News: Ron Artest To Sign With The Lakers

Yama HazheerCorrespondent IIJuly 2, 2009

LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 17:  Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers hugs Ron Artest #96 of the Houston Rockets after the Lakers defeated the Rockets 89-70 in Game Seven of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2009 NBA Playoffs at Staples Center on May 17, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

Ron Artest may have gotten into an argument and nearly a fight with Kobe Bryant during the playoffs, but it looks like they will be teammates for the 2009-'10 season. The Los Angeles Lakers are in the process of signing the shutdown defender.

"I don't really care about the money," Artest told CBS Sports. "I'll play there for nothing...L.A. was very interested in me, and they got me."

There have been numerous controversies about Artest's Twitter page that said he will leave the Houston Rockets, but those pages were found to be fake.

Artest and Bryant are the only two players in the league that can shut down a player and hold them under 20 points in a game while scoring 20 for themselves.

The Lakers have been called a soft team by fans, experts, and even their own head coach Phil Jackson. Artest should bring some toughness to the squad.

This means that either Lamar Odom or Trevor Ariza will not re-sign with the team. Most likely, it will be Ariza that goes to another team.

The main reason for Artest's departure may be because of a chance at winning the championship, but it also has a lot to do with the condition of Yao Ming, who is rumored to miss all of next season and possibly even further by ending his career.

The Artest signing makes the top of the league even more dangerous now. The Cleveland Cavaliers traded for Shaquille O'Neal, the Orlando Magic traded for Vince Carter, the San Antonio Spurs traded for Richard Jefferson, and now the Lakers have added Artest.

The Boston Celtics remain the only championship contender acquiring a top name player, but it looks like they have been in deep talks with Rasheed Wallace.

For more NBA discussion, please join