With the trade deadline approaching, the Lakers and Mitch Kupchak are keeping their options open. This leaves a feeling of uneasiness for the current Lakers, specifically Ron Artest who has a lot of speculation surrounding his current status.
Artest has been with the Lakers since LA acquired him in a trade two seasons ago which sent Trevor Ariza to the Rockets. Since then, Ron has won a championship with the Lakers and been nothing but a key addition to the Laker family.
Artest is at a career low in points and rebounds, and the Lakers are concerned. With a lot that's changed in the NBA since a season ago as far as teams getting younger and combining with superstars, Artest's 11-year old career and current contract scare the Lakers a bit.
If they were to disperse the 32-year-old to another team, who would it be? Let's take a look at some options for teams that would love to land Ron Ron.
Charlotte is a team with a lot of scattered athletes. They're 12 games under .500, and have little to no sense of identity with the loss of their starting point guard from last season Raymond Felton.
Adding a Ron Artest to this team would put pressure on a young D.J. Augustin to figure it out and quickly. I know Stephen Jackson and Gerald Wallace would appreciate the support.
The Warriors seem to me like a team that needs some stability in the middle of their lineup. They are undersized and are constantly being taken advantage of on the defensive side of the ball.
If a player like Ron Artest came to the team, the Warriors could add some dynamic to their defensive scheme and possibly even become a better three-point shooting team than they are now.
This is a great basketball city, and at 26-29, the Warriors are in need of a spark and quickly.
Atlanta is a team that has a lot to offer. They provide shooters, playmakers, distributors and interior presence. So why might you ask are they fifth best in the East?
Like all great teams, they have a first string and a second string. The Hawks have simply lacked depth off the bench, and adding Ron Artest would add to that bulk at the forward position and really put this team back into an elite in the Eastern Conference.
With Ron, Bibby, Crawford and even Joe Johnson now becoming veterans in this league, the wiser can combine with the younger in Horford, Smith and Williams and really combine for a solid evenly distributed seven.
I know the Pistons have a lot of age on their roster, but what's one more to add to the mix? Sure, the Pistons are old, but do they really have any shutdown defenders? Wallace used to be a force, but now, his leaping ability has diminished, and the lateral quickness to guard all of the paint is simply not there.
Artest could really come in and teach Hamilton and Prince a thing or two about "team" defense. There's a lot that Artest could bring to Detroit, and the Lakers could use an Austin Daye or even a Rodney Stuckey in their rotation.
Just a thought...
The Wizards have essentially start over letting go of Gilbert Arenas this season and are certainly on the market to make some more moves.
Since adding Rashard Lewis to the lineup, they've been able to spread the ball a little better and even develop a little more of an interior presence. What a nice compliment Ron would be to a Wizards team that could use a forward who's not afraid to get in the thick of things and rough some competition up.
I think Artest could light a fire under this Wizards team which is far from reaching its highest potential.
Milwaukee's a team that's a question mark. Last year, rookie sensation Brandon Jennings led the team to the playoffs and really shocked the league. This season, the Bucks had a little higher expectations, and at 21-34, have certainly disappointed to this point.
The Corey Maggette experiment doesn't really seem to be working. Adding a Ron Artest would certainly benefit the Bucks both offensively and defensively.
I know the Magic have just settled in with their new roster, but another trade could benefit this team even more. Hedo and Richardson are veterans, and adding a third one to depth at the forward position could be wise down the stretch for the Magic.
Orlando is a team that has expectations of reaching the NBA Finals again. What better way to get there than by acquiring a guy who can now say "been there done that."
New Jersey is a team that since under new ownership, is constantly mixing and matching. Several offseason acquisitions for the Nets later, and they're still not satisfied.
They took two Lakers in Sasha and Jordan; why not try and see if a third time is the charm with Ron Artest? Ron would bring an edge that I don't think New Jersey has right now.
They're certainly dedicated to getting better, and I know Ron would be stoked if he hopped on the mic with Jay-Z.
I call it "The Blueprint-Champion."
The Nuggets have a lot going on right now, and it's all centered around their roster. Are they going to make a move before the trade deadline, or are they not?
If they were to give up their small forward in Carmelo Anthony, they should receive a small forward in return. In this hypothetical situation, Ron Artest would be the small forward Denver could benefit inheriting.
The Nuggets love to shoot the basketball, and under a George Karl offense, that features a lot of perimeter shooting, Artest wouldn't have to change his style of play at all. Could be a good fit for both teams should this deal go down.
I know Artest loves to play with former childhood teammate Lamar Odom, but they're still 3,000 miles from home. Imagine Artest coming back to the Garden this time as a professional (St. John's plays at Madison Square if you didn't know that's where Ron went to college).
Oh, what a homecoming this would be for the very proud Queens-bred New Yorker. The Knicks would welcome him with open arms and let's face it...there's no place like home.