Ron Artest, Team Killer
It happened to the Bulls, it happened to the Pacers, it happened to the Kings, and it's going to happen to the Rockets.
When teams add Ron Artest to their roster, things start to go downhill—and if it doesn't happen right away, it starts pretty quickly after.
His antics in Chicago—i.e. breaking cameras and what not—sure didn't help a team that was already in the cellar. The most games the team won while Artest was on the team was 21. Finally, the Bulls had enough and dealt him to the Pacers.
The Defensive Player of the Year in 2004, Artest's first season in Indiana was a huge success. The Pacers won 61 games, but lost in the Conference Finals to the Pistons. Artest was a key part of the success of the team. However, things soon changed.
In the 2004-05 season, Artest was the main "brawler" in the biggest fight in NBA history. I personally don't think Artest's career would've gone down the drain the way it has if he hadn't entered the stands and punched a Pistons fan in the face.
A year-long suspension and an image that kept getting worse and worse eventually resulted in a midseason trade to the Sacramento Kings. Artest's immediate success rejuvenated a Kings team that was struggling, and it appeared that he had turned his career around.
The Kings snuck in with the eighth seed in Artest's first year there, and of course he made the promise that the Kings would beat the top-seeded Spurs. He was suspended for Game Two of the series after a flagrant foul on Manu Ginobili. The Spurs won the series in six games.
Over the next few years in Sacramento, Artest got gradually worse, and so did the Kings' record. He got into some trouble with the law for domestic abuse and inadequately feeding his dog. Coach Rick Adelman headed out the door, and Eric Musselman became the new head coach, which didn't pan out too well.
So Artest's time with the Kings ended the same way it had with the Bulls and Pacers—the team traded him out of frustration. Artest now heads to the Houston Rockets, a team that a lot of people think have the potential to win the West this year, and they might.
Artest will be reunited with former Kings coach Rick Adelman, which could possibly be a positive aspect of the Rockets addition of Artest. When playing under Adelman, the Kings weren't bad, and Artest wasn't out of control. Hell, Artest even offered to give up his own salary to bring Adelman back.
But look out down the road—because if history repeats itself, Artest will ruin any prior success the Rockets have had.
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