How Ron Artest Makes the Lakers More Likely To Repeat in 2009-10

Old AccountSenior Writer IJuly 3, 2009

LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 12:  Ron Artest #96 of the Houston Rockets looks on against the Los Angeles Lakers in Game Five of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2009 NBA Playoffs at Staples Center on May 12, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

As the second day of NBA Free Agency nears a conclusion, some faces have come upon new places.

Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva have fled for Detroit, who looks to be a top team in the East once again.

Jason Kidd could be finding a new deal within the next two days, with the Mavericks and Knicks on his tail.

You have the Cavaliers, who have introduced the "Big Diesel" to Cleveland after the acquisition prior to the NBA Draft.

Yet even with LeBron, Shaq, and company, it wasn't enough on their standards.

It was reported that as early as today the talks heated up with Ron Artest, formerly of the Houston Rockets, and Trevor Ariza of the Lakers.

Artest decided to hit the free agent market, while Ariza left after the Lakers weren't willing to make an intriguing offer that could have kept the young forward in Los Angeles.

The discussion began with the Cavaliers becoming the new favorite in the NBA if they sign Artest or Ariza.

However, that point in time will not see the light of day, as Artest is heading to the bright lights in L.A.

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The Lakers, who let Ariza enter free agency to keep Lamar Odom, were able to convince Artest to join the defending champs as well.

The deal is believed to be a three-year, $18 million contract, a financial success made by the Lakers front office.

This Artest deal has to be considered one of the bigger "steals" in NBA free agency that has occurred over the past decade.

The move only improved the team, as an upgrade was made from Ariza, who has showed slight potential, to a possible All-Star and one of the top defenders in the league.

Artest is also a bigger threat on the offensive side on the ball, and with the stars surrounding him, he can find great opportunities.

The big question is, will he come together with this experienced group? Will his troubled ego become a factor if he may not get as many touches as wanted? Could there be a blow-up between Artest and Kobe, or Artest versus Jackson?

This was probably why his market was low, as not many teams felt he would be on best behavior as he was with Houston.

Speaking of Houston, they have already found a replacement for Artest, signing Ariza just a short time ago.

Nontheless, the Lakers will be the favorites heading into the season.

Even with the additions by Orlando and Cleveland, the champs, who did not have many holes to begin with, added one of the better forwards in the league, who will bring a great lift to the defensive side of the ball, as well as the offensive side.

Matt Miselis is a writer for BleacherReport.com.


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