NBA Trade Rumors: 10 Reasons the Lakers Should Send Ron Artest Packing

Sean MerrimanCorrespondent IFebruary 4, 2011

NBA Trade Rumors: 10 Reasons the Lakers Should Send Ron Artest Packing

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 03:  Ron Artest #15 of the Los Angeles Lakers reacts on defense after a San Antonio Spurs basket during a 89-88 Spur win at Staples Center on February 3, 2011 in Los Angeles, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledge
    Harry How/Getty Images

    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

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 03:  Ron Artest #15 of the Los Angeles Lakers reacts to a lost possession against the San Antonio Spurs during the first half at Staples Center on February 3, 2011 in Los Angeles, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknow
    Harry How/Getty Images

    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

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 06:  Head coach Phil Jackson yells at Ron Artest #37 of the Los Angeles Lakers in the second half against the Boston Celtics in Game Two of the 2010 NBA Finals at Staples Center on June 6, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO US
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    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

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    DENVER - NOVEMBER 11:  Ron Artest #15 of the Los Angeles Lakers takes a shot over Al Harrington #7 of the Denver Nuggets at the Pepsi Center on November 11, 2010 in Denver, Colorado. The Nuggets defeated the Lakers 118-112.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly a
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    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

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 30:  Ron Artest #15 of the Los Angeles Lakers and Kendrick Perkins #43 of the Boston Celtics fight for a rebound in the first half at Staples Center on January 30, 2011 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Imag
    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    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

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 30:  Paul Pierce #34 of the Boston Celtics and Ron Artest #15 of the Los Angeles Lakers fight for position in the second half at Staples Center on January 30, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. The Celtics defeated the Lakers 109-9
    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    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

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    DENVER - JANUARY 05:  Arron Afflalo #6 of the Denver Nuggets looks on during a break in the action against the Golden State Warriors at the Pepsi Center on January 5, 2010 in Denver, Colorado. The Nuggets defeated the Warriors 123-122. NOTE TO USER: User
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    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

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    DENVER - NOVEMBER 11:  Carmelo Anthony #15 of the Denver Nuggets drives past Ron Artest #15 of the Los Angeles Lakers at Pepsi Center on November 11, 2010 in Denver, Colorado. The Nuggets defeated the Lakers 118-112.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowle
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    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

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    LOS ANGELES - NOVEMBER 27:   Ron Artest #15 of the Indiana Pacers looks on during the game with the Los Angeles Clippers on November 27, 2005 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. The Pacers won 97-92. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    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

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 25:  Ron Artest #15 of the Los Angeles Lakers steps to the basket as LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat tries to defend the play during the NBA game at Staples Center on December 25, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. The Heat defe
    Victor Decolongon/Getty Images

    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

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    DENVER - NOVEMBER 11:  Ron Artest #15 of the Los Angeles Lakers reacts after being called for a foul against the Denver Nuggets at the Pepsi Center on November 11, 2010 in Denver, Colorado. The Nuggets defeated the Lakers 118-112.  NOTE TO USER: User expr
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    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.

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