Ron Artest Goes Hollywood: A Lakers Necessity

Bleacher ReportSenior Analyst IJuly 3, 2009

LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 17:  Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers hugs Ron Artest #96 of the Houston Rockets after the Lakers defeated the Rockets 89-70 in Game Seven of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2009 NBA Playoffs at Staples Center on May 17, 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)

A few years ago, I would’ve ignored Ron Artest. Now, he is an archetype of how a jeopardous and troubling personality transforms, building a reinforced sphere amid title runs, not to mention the nightmarish upheaval he presented to other teams, including the Los Angeles Lakers.

Once, Artest was the most villainous player to roam into Hollywood, but now he’s lovable and a vibrant necessity in the town where stars reside.

Artest’s sudden arrival into a town of bred champs shouldn’t come as a surprise. And now, instead of classifying Artest as NBA’s thug, it is simple to forget his infamous reputation and refer to him as one of NBA’s best defenders, if not the best in the league currently.

Meaning he must be treated as a good citizen and as a virtuous competitor that is unveiling whenever his temper doesn’t flare into entropy and divide a harmonized team.

However, he’s abounded to help the Lakers secure a back-to-back. Over the course of his poisonous mood changes in an infamous past, he has mellowed into a respectful competitor, pestering and intimidating opponents.

The Lakers exactly know what type of player they are adding to their natural gifted family. Before, it was enigmatic to tell if Artest was a risk or a cure for establishing clarity among an NBA team.

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But now, he’s not abound to sabotage chemistry, and has developed into a top-market player for the Lakers, courtesy of a genius measure by owner Jerry Buss to agree in principal with Artest on a multiyear deal at roughly $18.7 million over three years or $33.5 million over five years, base on whichever contracts suits Artest.

If he reaches an agreement on the five-year deal, it will include a player option on the fifth season. But if the Lakers rebuff offering a five-year deal, then Artest will have to settle for a three-year deal and will become a free-agent in 2012.      

For many, it’s a surprise that the Lakers have reached verbal agreements with Artest, until July 8 when players can officially sign new contracts. Next season, Artest will wear a Lakers’ uniform, joining his postseason antagonist Kobe Bryant and will now stand in someone else’s face.

Not long ago, Artest was a pest, getting in a face-to-face dispute with Kobe at midcourt.

Non-stop trash-talking described the series, and familiarized the league’s toughest players. They are competitive and good friends who assemble a blend for an ideal Hollywood story, though their emotions broiled into facial trash-talking and back-and-forth exchange of words.

Being ambitious dictates emotions, especially in the midst of seeking a title as they were attempting to win it for their teams.

Fortunately, it turned out the Lakers were more dynamic and consisted of sturdy depth more than the Rockets. By parlaying Artest, it cultivates powerful depth that gives the Lakers legitimate changes of duplicating triumph for a second straight season. For a few seasons, Artest has being poised about accompanying with the Lakers.

Lobbying and agreeing happened in perfect timing, on a day Trevor Ariza agreed on a multiyear deal with Houston. Similar to Artest, Ariza was arguably the Lakers top defender, and the one play talked about greatly was the steal of Chauncey Billups’ inbound pass against Denver in the Western Conference Finals.

The Lakers are reluctant to negotiate further with Ariza, but are willing to add the well-experienced defensive forward whose bad posture has being forgotten as last season was his breakout season, producing 17.1 points, 5.2 rebounds and 3.3 assists.

As a result, he was named 2004 Defensive Player of the Year for the tough in-your-face, trash-talking action. It is an important addition for the Lakers, who have being criticized for softness, before just managing to win its 15th title in franchise history. Early in the postseason, the Lakers had us guessing on if they were potent enough to win a title.

Most of last season, they relied on offense from Kobe’s unstoppable scowling and amazing shots or Derek Fisher’s electrifying deep bombs from downtown, rather than fixing defensive woes and solidifying weaknesses. By welcoming Artest, it will fortify fiascoes of the Lakers teetering defense, establishing developments defensively.

Not at all should fans worry about Artest’s selfishness or angry eruptions dividing a locker room of ambitious champs. Fact is, giving challenging assignments of defending preeminent players in the league, he handled each efficiently with ability to frustrate and forestall opponents. Not at all should fans worry about Artest’s relationship with Kobe.

Know that they’re a sterling tandem, as Kobe is known for his far-fetched scoring and Artest is known for his tight defense.

On the other hand, the Lakers are bound to lose Ariza, who contribute to their championship thrive. The Rockets are returning the favor to the Lakers of reaching an agreement with their former star by reaching one with Ariza, trading spaces and finding homes in opposite towns.

Without sturdy defense, the Lakers would have found it difficult winning a title, of which Phil Jackson would still have to wait for title No. 10, and Kobe would still have a burden on his shoulders that he can’t win without Shaq.

In the postseason, Ariza was the player who changed complexions of the game, like an energizer bunny who persist and urged defensive intensity with his quickness to strip away lose balls and had great awareness.

Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak is elated to sign a defensive force as well as Artest. With the Lakers, there are greater chances of Artest capping his first championship. Rather than trying it over in Houston, he knows signing with the defending champs brings better luck.

Right now, the Rockets are being treated as patients and staying away from the courts due to injuries. Just a few days ago, reports confirmed they could be Yao-less next season, but are awaiting the prognosis on Yao Ming, who sustained a fracture in his left foot during the postseason.

Clearly, the Lakers are not refusing to give Artest a chance of playing alongside Kobe, but will brace the presence of the newcomer who has erased the poisonous modus out of his system, and translated his angry on the court by using his one-on-one method.

With the Rockets, Artest was on his best behavior, an explanation to why the Lakers ownership doesn’t have to hesitate in offering a deal.

Although, the infamous Malice at the Palace in 2004, when Artest crazily charged into the stands and attacked a spectator for hurling a glass of beer into his face that resulted in a 73 game suspension for the harshest punishment in the NBA history.

Later, Artest demanded a trade from Indiana after upsetting his teammates. From Hoosier town, he was dealt to the backyard of Arnold Schwarzenegger and served as a Sacramento Kings forward at the state capital of California.

From a bitter closure with the ownership in Sacramento, he than flew into Houston and messed with Texas a full season.

But now, Artest goes Hollywood to create an ideal story.