Artest? Let's Be Honest Here

Isaac FrisbieContributor IJuly 3, 2009

LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 06:  Ron Artest #96 of the Houston Rockets talks with referee Bill Spooner as Artest is held back by teammate Aaron Brooks #0 before Artest was ejected in the fourth quarter against the Los Angeles Lakers in Game Two of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2009 NBA Playoffs at Staples Center on May 6, 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 Harry How/Getty Images)

All we've really read and heard so far is the speculation on whether or not this was a case of the Lakers being cheap or Ariza's agent being greedy.  My question is:  Does any of that even matter?  We will never know the dirty details. 

ESPN and other may think they have the inside track on who's fault this is but the reality is that in any negotiations, it takes two to tango.  Personally, I'll expose my bias and lean more toward Ariza's agent in light of how he dealt with the Lakers with Bynum, whom he also represents.

I'd like to present an alternate take on this whole situation.  I realize that in the NBA, agents are able to get maximum dollar for their clients because: 1)  They get a portion of the proceeds, and

2)  The players do not want to be taken advantage of so they are the middle grounds. Where else could Ariza have gone where he would have had a better chance of winning another ring?  Perhaps Cleveland, but that's about it.  And where does he go?  To Houston, who are now rebuilding, and aren't gonna touch a ring anytime soon.  Can he be on his own?  Only time will tell. 

He should have just taken the offer, 5-6 million a year is pretty good.  Ariza was important, but he is not worth 7-10 a year.  I love the guy and wish him well, but he should have just sucked it up and played for the Lakers again.  Maybe after another year he could show that he's worth more (look at the stats, his numbers are not that great).

Meanwhile, Ron Artest is taking a pay cut.  A pay cut.  Why?  Because he knows that the cut will be worth it, because of the ever elusive ring so many are hunting after.  Will he be better than Ariza?  Let's hope so.  Let's hope he provides that toughness that everyone says he has.  Let's hope he keeps his crazy antics in the past and that he mellows to the LA lifestyle.  But , as with everything in sports, only time will tell.