Ron Artest Trade Rumors: 10 Artest Deals That'll Net LA Lakers a Title

Joseph ChasanCorrespondent IFebruary 2, 2011

Ron Artest Trade Rumors: 10 Artest Deals That'll Net LA Lakers A Title

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    DENVER - NOVEMBER 11:  Ron Artest #15 of the Los Angeles Lakers reacts after being called for a foul against the Denver Nuggets at the Pepsi Center on November 11, 2010 in Denver, Colorado. The Nuggets defeated the Lakers 118-112.  NOTE TO USER: User expr
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Ron Artest is apparently just "frustrated with the losing, as everyone [on the Lakers] is", according to his agent, David Bauman, via the Los Angeles Times.

    Because, you know, that makes total sense.  There's just too much losing going on with the Lakers.  Wait, they're the two time defending NBA Champions, you say?  And they're currently sitting in first place in the Pacific Division by 10.5 games?  Oh.  Well then, nix that.

    Sure, they recently lost four out of seven, including a home drubbing by the Boston Celtics, and they have a showdown against the San Antonio Spurs coming up on Thursday, but still.  Nobody can really say losing is the problem for the Lakers right now.

    But whatever the true cause of the unrest, trade rumors abound.  Obviously, any moves are difficult because of Artest's contract and his being Ron Artest, but let's delve into fantasy here.  Here are 10 players who might actually be able to be worked into a deal.

10) Carmelo Anthony

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    DENVER, CO - JANUARY 21:  Carmelo Anthony #15 of the Denver Nuggets looks on during a break in the action against the Los Angeles Lakers at the Pepsi Center on January 21, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. The Lakers defeated the Nuggets 107-97. NOTE TO USER: Use
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Ha, hah, almost had you thinking I was serious on that one, didn't I?

    Obviously the Lakers would love to get in on the 'Melo sweepstakes, but it doesn't seem like they have much chance.  The only way they become a player is if every other team completely backs off, and the Nuggets become so desperate to get something, anything in return for their unhappy superstar that they become willing to take an unhappy less-than-superstar in exchange.

    But Artest's deal has three years and $21.8 million left, which complicates things.  Still, they did rip off the Grizzlies a few years back for Pau Gasol ...

9) Tyrus Thomas

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    CHARLOTTE, NC - DECEMBER 07:  Tyrus Thomas #12 of the Charlotte Bobcats reacts to scoring against the Denver Nuggets during their game at Time Warner Cable Arena on December 7, 2010 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Thomas was the fourth overall pick in 2006, and has shown tremendous athleticism and upside at times, but has failed to show much consistency.

    While he's still just 24 years old, the Bobcats might be ready to give up on his potential, as he's had enough time to show improvement.  He's started just one game this year for Charlotte, and has significant salary obligations remaining which might make him a good fit in a deal for Artest.

    Thomas might be useful to a Ron-less Laker team, by bringing some energy off the bench.

8) Luis Scola

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 01:  Luis Scola #4 of the Houston Rockets is defended by Pau Gasol #16 of the Los Angeles Lakers in the second half at Staples Center on February 1, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. The Lakers defeated the Rockets 114-106. NOTE
    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    Scola has been one of the Rockets' most consistent players this season, averaging 19.4 points and 8.5 rebounds while starting every game.

    At the same time, he'll be 30 by the end of the year, and his contract is even longer and more unwieldy than Artest's.  The injury riddled Rockets are languishing in last place, and with Yao Ming's future in serious doubt, it might be time to enter full-on rebuilding mode.  Moving Scola would save Houston a lot of money down the line, even if it meant taking on Ron-Ron.

    Plus, Artest might be welcomed back by the Houston faithful, many of whom are still upset over him leaving in the first place.

7) Hedo Turkoglu

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    ORLANDO, FL - JANUARY 24:  Hedo Turkoglu #15 of the Orlando Magic drives against Ben Wallace #6 of the Detroit Pistons during the game at Amway Arena on January 24, 2011 in Orlando, Florida.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by d
    Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

    The Orlando Magic are the only team in the league whose payroll approaches the Lakers.  The Lakers still beat 'em, but not by much ($91 million to $89 million).  That makes them good potential trading partners.

    Turkoglu's career is in a similar place as Artest's.  They're both in their early 30's, starting what looks to be a gradual, but inevitable, decline.  Plus, Turkoglu is scheduled to make $35 million over the next three years.

    The Lakers have had good success with European imports of late (Pau Gasol, anyone?), and Artest would get to still be on a contending team.

6) Corey Maggette

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    MILWAUKEE - NOVEMBER 16: Corey Maggette #5 of the Milwaukee Bucks fouls Matt Barnes #9 of the Los Angeles Lakers at the Bradley Center on November 16, 2010 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Maggette has played his entire career so far with a similar rap to the one Artest had early on.

    He's talented, but considered somewhat selfish, and has yet to truly help a team win, spending his career with the Clippers and the Warriors, two of the second-tier Western Conference clubs.  Traded to the Bucks this year, his playing time and effectiveness have trailed off, and he might be helped by another change in scenery.

    Plus, the money might work, as he is due more than $10 million each of the next two seasons, a key factor in any potential Artest swap.  He could still provide L.A. with a strong scoring punch off the bench.

5) Marvin Williams

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    ATLANTA - NOVEMBER 12:  Marvin Williams #24 of the Atlanta Hawks against the Utah Jazz at Philips Arena on November 12, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Marvin Williams has been a disappointment since being drafted second overall in 2005.

    He's never really reached his true potential, and his numbers have been declining since 2008.  He's also seen his role in Atlanta's offense gradually decrease, and they'd probably be happy at this point to find a taker for the approximately $8 million he's owed each of the next three seasons.

    Perhaps he's another player though who just needs a change of scenery to thrive.  In the proven Lakers' system, Williams could be an everyman similar to Lamar Odom.  Meanwhile, Artest would provide the toughness that Atlanta has been lacking in recent years that could help them break the glass ceiling that's been holding them back.

4) Andris Biedrins

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    CHICAGO - NOVEMBER 11: Andris Biedrins #15 of the Golden State Warriors hands the ball off to a teammate after a scramble on the floor against the Chicago Bulls at the United Center on November 11, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. NOTE TO USER: User expressly a
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Biedrins quietly looked like he might be one of the best young big men in the game a few years back, averaging a double-double for the Warriors.

    Recently, however, injuries have hampered his play, and he seems to have faded out of the nucleus of Golden State's plans just a bit.  He's also due $9 million in each of the next three years.

    The always rebuilding Warriors would appreciate Artest's star power and defensive intensity, something the run-and-gun team has sorely needed.  The Lakers, meanwhile, would appreciate Biedrins' big body taking some pressure off of Gasol and providing insurance for the ever-injured Andrew Bynum.

3) Hasheem Thabeet

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    PHOENIX - NOVEMBER 25:  Hasheem Thabeet #34 of the Memphis Grizzlies shoots a free throw shot during the NBA game against the Phoenix Suns at US Airways Center on November 25, 2009 in Phoenix, Arizona.  The Suns defeated the Grizzlies 126-111.  NOTE TO US
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    I mentioned Thabeet in a piece I wrote last week on possible trade options for the Miami Heat.  File this, then, under 'what's good for the goose is good for the gander'.

    Thabeet has all but disappeared in Memphis, playing just eight minutes per game and not gelling with the Grizzlies' coaching staff.  He's still young, but he's also still very raw, and he doesn't really seem to be in the Grizz' plans moving forward.

    If anyone can extract his potential, though, it's the Lakers, and he could provide interior toughness and defense kind of like a poor-man's Adris Biedrins.

2) Richard Hamilton

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    AUBURN HILLS, MI - APRIL 24:  Richard Hamilton #32 of the Detroit Pistons looks across the court in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the Cleveland Cavaliers during the 2009 NBA Playoffs at the Palace of Auburn Hills on April 24,
    Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

    Hamilton has already been prominently mentioned in recent weeks among those likely to be on the move before the February 24th trade deadline.

    He was one of the key pieces rumored to be going to the Nets in the blockbuster Carmelo Anthony trade before it fell apart.  Now that that deal is no more, Detroit might look to shop him elsewhere.  He's due $25 million over the next two years, and the rebuilding Pistons are looking to move on.

    Hamilton's scoring punch might be rejuvenated in a reduced role in L.A.  Artest in Detroit though?  Bad memories might stand in the way of that move more than salaries or anything else.

1) Kirk Hinrich

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    WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 18:  Kirk Hinrich #12 of the Washington Wizards handles the ball against the Miami Heat at the Verizon Center on December 18, 2010 in Washington, DC. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and o
    Greg Fiume/Getty Images

    The Lakers are known to covet Hinrich's steady ability to run an offense.  Washington is 13-35 and nowhere near contention, and doesn't have much reason to hold on to a 30 year-old point guard with John Wall clearly their playmaker of the future.

    This is one potential move where the salaries don't match up as much, as Hinrich has just one more year remaining on his contract at $8 million, but the Lakers front office will look to make this work if they at all feel like they can.

    He's no spring chicken, but he's six years younger than Derek Fisher, and can spell him for significant stretches so they're both fresher come playoff time.  And Artest can demand another trade and go somewhere else over the summer.