ESPN.com has reported Los Angeles Lakers forward Ron Artest wants to be traded.
His agent says this not true, but a move could be beneficial to both the Lakers and Artest.
Artest is not having his best season.
His defensive and overall rebounding numbers are down significantly from his norm.
He can usually be counted on for around four to five defensive rebounds and five to seven total rebounds per game. This season, he is averaging 1.8 and 2.9, respectively.
Also, every season of his career, Artest has put up double-figure points per game totals. This year, though, he is averaging 8.1 PPG.
What's more, Artest is shouldering the bulk of the blame for the team's woes, particularly on defense.
Deserved or not, such criticism makes for an unhappy player, which can result in decreased production.
Less playing time will also stunt a player's numbers.
Artest is playing 27.8 minutes per game despite typically playing around 40. In the Lakers' overtime win against the Houston Rockets, he played four seconds in the fourth quarter and not at all in the extra session.
This is a sign the Lakers are not pleased with Artest and perhaps would like to move on.
Artest is a veteran with a reputation for tenacity on defense. Many teams could use his presence on the court. The Lakers would likely have at least a few takers willing to spare some helpful pieces to augment L.A.'s championship hopes.
Plus, his play could be reinvigorated by a change, much as Sasha Vujacic's was after being dealt to the New Jersey Nets.
One idea? Artest to the Phoenix Suns for Jason Richardson. The latter can be streaky, but he is close to a 40 percent three-point shooter this season.