Last night in my update of the first day of free agency "The NBA’s Free Agency Merry-Go-Round Begins: Day One," I wrote:
"If Ariza does choose to take one of the other offers, that means two things. First, the Lakers have definitely decided to keep Lamar Odom, and second, Ron Artest may change his mind about remaining in Houston and take the mid-level exemption that Mitch Kupchak offered Ariza."
This afternoon, CBS Sports just reported that Ron Artest is in Los Angeles and has agreed to sign a three-year deal with the Lakers worth approximately $18 million. Apparently Artest met with Lakers’ owner Jerry Buss and GM Mitch Kupchak today and worked out a verbal agreement
Earlier reports had the Cavaliers in the hunt for Artest. However, since they could only sign one free agent for the mid-level exemption, they seemed to be favoring the Lakers’ Trevor Ariza. But now that Artest is definitely leaving Houston, the Rockets are also courting Ariza.
Artest brings to the Lakers' defense the kind of upside that Pau Gasol brought to the Lakers' offense two years ago.
UPDATE: It's official. Ariza has agreed to a five-year deal fwith the Houston Rockets for the full mid-level exemption of $5.8 million per year.
So, that’s the big news on Day Two, even bigger than Shaquille O’Neal being introduced to Cleveland fans. By the way, doesn’t Shaq look pretty in pink?