NBA Rumors: Ron Artest a Laker?

Monty SinghSenior Analyst IJuly 19, 2008

He said he wanted to stay in Sacramento, then he said he wanted to leave.

A few months later, he said wanted to sign a long-term deal with the Kings—and then regretted his decision to not opt out. Now, Ron Artest is flip-flopping his way out of Sacramento via trade this summer.

Artest is one of the best overall players in the league, regardless of whether or not you would like to believe it. It is rare to see a shut-down defender and a solid offensive scorer in one player 

A number of teams have been linked to a trade for Artest. The Lakers, Mavericks, Heat, Suns, and Knicks are all at the top of the list of teams trying to acquire Artest.

After the Lakers fell to the Celtics in the Finals, the first thing brought up was acquiring a rigid defender. Lamar Odom has a good season and playoff run, but disappeared in the playoffs.

Phil Jackson had to deal with Dennis Rodman. Artest should not be a problem. A scenario that works is sending Kenny Thomas with Artest for Lamar Odom. 

The Lakers get the defender and scorer next to Kobe, making them the favorite to win the championship, and the Kings get a solid veteran, and cap space after Odom's contract expires.

I can definitely see this scenario happen. The discussion earlier had the Lakers not wanting Thomas, but I think this issue could get resolved.

The Mavericks have been interested in Artest since Rick Carlisle was brought in. The former Indiana coach has made it clear he would not mind coaching Artest again.

Sending Artest with Shelden Williams for Josh Howard would be a fair trade for both teams.

The Mavericks get a lineup with Jason Kidd, Jason Terry, Ron Artest, Dirk Nowitski, and Desagna Diop. This would give them a shot at getting back to the Finals. Williams also gives them much-needed depth.

The Kings get the outspoken Howard. Before the playoffs, he really played well. He is a little younger than Artest, and can fit well next to rising star Kevin Martin.

But the Mavericks seem happy with Howard, despite his off-court issues, which is why I think they will hang onto him for now.

The Heat have been interested in swapping Marion and Artest, but as an inside source told me, this was not even on the table to be discussed. Do not expect a scenario like this happening.

The Suns are the interesting team in all of these rumors. Grant Hill is the starting small forward, but his health issues have GM Steve Kerr worried.

Artest would bring the defensive attitude Kerr wants—but the Suns would have to give up Boris Diaw or Barbosa for Artest, which is not worth doing.

An interesting place for Artest to land is with the Knicks. He said last year he would not mind returning to NYC, where he grew up and played at St. Johns.

He is a player who can be a legit scorer and defender for the Knicks organization. But I cannot see this happening since Wilson Chandler and Danillo Gallinari play similar positions as Artest.

The best-case situation for Artest is in L.A. The Lakers need a Pippen-Rodman type of player in Artestm, and Artest wants to win. With the Lakers acquiring Artest, expect them to sweep the West, getting Jackson a 10th ring and Kobe one without Shaq.