NBA Trade Rumors: 10 Reasons the Lakers Should Send Ron Artest Packing
After the Lakers dropped another close game last night against a top NBA opponent, it has become more than apparent that L.A. has to make a move before the Feb. 24 trade deadline arrives.
With a 34-16 record, the Lakers have dropped to third place in the Western Conference and are reeling as of late. Phil Jackson's club is 5-5 in their last ten games and just 1-5 against the top five teams in the NBA this season.
The point here is that the Lakers need a change, and all signs point to Ron Artest as the guy that the Lakers need to part ways with. It was publicly reported earlier this week that the former NBA defensive player of the year is unhappy with the Lakers and his role on the team. Combine that with the fact that his production is down this year and the Lakers have a serious decision to make about the future of their starting small forward.
Let's break this down and look at 10 reasons why the Lakers should send Artest packing.
10. He's Getting Up There in Age
Ron Artest has reached that point in his career where his best basketball appears to be behind him. He is now 31 years old and playing for his fifth team in his NBA career.
Now, this isn't to say that Artest isn't still a good NBA basketball player. He is still one of the better defensive players in the league, but the young legs and fire that made him into one of the most feared defenders in the NBA just aren't there anymore.
The Lakers are a veteran basketball team that are struggling at the moment. Getting younger while remaining a championship contender might be the best imaginable move for this team at this point in time.
9. Having Issues with Phil
Reports spread like wildfire earlier this year about Artest getting into a verbal argument with Lakers coach Phil Jackson. In fact, it was rumored that the argument was so loud and vocal that it was disturbing to witness.
It is obvious here that Jackson and Artest have some problems. But when you break it down and look at who is more important to the Lakers' success, the answer has to be Phil Jackson.
If the Lakers are going to make a run at their third consecutive NBA Championship, the team has to have their players getting along with their coach. If this doesn't change, the move here has to be to deal Artest. It will help the team morale and benefit the Lakers in the long run.
8. He Feels Disrespected
Let's face it, Ron Artest was brought to the Los Angeles Lakers to be a nagging defensive presence that is looked upon to defend the opposing team's best perimeter scorers.
But throughout his career, Artest has played a big role in team's offensive systems as well. He has averaged 17 points or more during six years of his career, but this year it is not the same.
Artest is averaging just 8.2 points per game this season and he strongly feels that his role in the offense has been seriously marginalized. This will continue to grow as more of an issue, just like it did in the past with any other team that Artest played for.
7. Time Is Running Out
The trade deadline is less than three weeks away and with all the negative attention that Artest is gaining, the less his value becomes every day.
If the Lakers are going to win their third straight NBA Championship this year, they are going to need all the right pieces in place. If they decide that they are going to trade Artest, the best move here is to pull the trigger as soon as possible and get as much time as they possibly can to get acclimated to the new player they bring in through the trade.
Time is not on the Lakers' side right now and if they are going to do this, it needs to happen sooner than later.
6. He Has Been Nonexistent in Big Games
Let's take a look at what Ron Artest has done when the Lakers have gone up against some of the best teams in the NBA this season.
Jan. 19, Lakers vs. Dallas: Artest scores six points, while Shawn Marion, who Artest was guarding, scores 22 points.
Jan. 30, Lakers vs. Boston: Artest scored three points on 1-of-10 shooting, while Paul Pierce, who Artest was guarding, scored 32 points on 11-of-18 shooting from the field.
Feb. 3, Lakers vs. San Antonio: Artest scored 13 points, while Richard Jefferson scores 18 points on 7-of-12 shooting.
These statistics right here should tell the whole story. When the Lakers go up against a good opponent, Artest becomes nonexistent on the offensive end and lets the players he is guarding go off for big scoring nights. This is not what the Lakers had in mind when they brought Artest in last year.
5. The Lakers Can Get Value in Return
Ron Artest is in the midst of his worst season as a pro, but none the less, he has had an established NBA career and people around the league know that he is still a good basketball player.
Artest's value might not be what it was when he came to the Lakers at the start of last season, but he does still have value. He is still known as a lock down defender who can score when he is asked to.
With that said, the Lakers can still get some value for Artest in a trade. They need a player who can defend, score sparingly when needed and not be a huge distraction to the team like Artest has been. If they can land a guy with that type of resume in a trade for Artest, it might be in the Lakers' best interest to pull the trigger. Adding a guy like Aaron Afflalo would be a nice move for the Lakers if they can get it done.
4. He Is Not the Same Defender He Once Was
Lets face it, Ron Artest is getting up there in age and simply isn't the same defender that he once was. This isn't to say that Artest isn't a good defender, but he just isn't at the level that he once was and that the Lakers had hoped he would remain at.
We pointed out earlier how Paul Pierce, Richard Jefferson and Shawn Marion did when they went up against Artest. How about looking at Carmelo Anthony, who dropped 23 points on him. Or maybe Kevin Durant with 24 or Rudy Gay, who put up 27.
This has been a reoccurring theme throughout the year and the Lakers must do something to address this problem. Trading Artest and getting a reliable defender without the baggage is just what this team needs.
3. He Is a Media Distraction
The Lakers knew what they were getting themselves into when they made the move to sign Ron Artest in 2009. But regardless of what type of baggage and constant media attention came along with that signing, they figured they could put an end to it and minimize the reality show portion of his career.
Well guess what, Los Angeles, the good version of Artest is gone and it seems more and more every day like he has worn out his welcome in L.A.
From promoting his rap album, to fighting with the head coach, to the unforgettable brawl at the Palace, Artest has always been a media attraction and most of the time, not in a good way.
2. Just Look At the Numbers
Ron Artest is easily having the worst season of his NBA career. Not only is he averaging a dismal 8.2 points per game, but he is also averaging career lows in rebounds, assists, steals and minutes. He has not played to his full potential this year either because of injuries, decrease in talent or he just simply hasn't felt like playing.
Artest is just not the player he once was and he certainly isn't the player that the Lakers were so excited about bringing in last season.
If the Lakers make the decision to deal him now, they should be able to get a player in return that can put up better numbers than Artest is right now and most importantly, a player that comes to the team without all the baggage.
1. The Lakers Need a Change
The bottom line here is that the Los Angeles Lakers are not playing their best basketball right now and when it comes down to it, they need to make a change.
The Lakers have their franchise players that aren't going anywhere in guys like Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom. They have their bench players that they like in guys like Shannon Brown, Steve Blake and Matt Barnes (injured). So that leaves a guy like Ron Artest as the leading candidate for a player that they can move at the trade deadline.
The rumors have been circling around that the Lakers are going to make a deal and now, after losing another big game last night against a top NBA team, it is time to make the move. Pack your bags, Ron Artest, it's time to get a move on.