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NBA Rumors: Lakers Trying To Ditch Ron Artest While Adding Carmelo Anthony

Colin KirschnerContributor IIFebruary 8, 2011

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 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 Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

Over the weekend, reports surfaced that the Los Angels Lakers had contacted the Charlotte Bobcats about a possible trade involving current Laker Ron Artest for Charlotte's Gerald Wallace or Stephen Jackson.

In the second year of a five-year contract with the Lakers, Artest seems disappointed with his limited role in the team's offense. 

Through 49 games, he is averaging career lows in points (8.1 per game) and field goal attempts (7.8 per game), showing his difficulties in adjusting to the triangle offense.

This season, his field goal percentage is lower than his career average at 40 percent.

On the flip-side, his three-point percentage is up from last season.

Artest is even struggling rebounding the rock, with an all-time career-low at three rebounds a game.

His defense, something he is known to be great at, has been an issue this year as well, averaging around 1.4 steals per game. Ironically, Artest averaged the same amount of steals last season.

Playing time has been issue for Artest this season as well. His minutes are down to a career-low 28.4 per game, almost five minutes less than last season.

The Lakers knew what they were getting when they signed Artest: An intimidating player who relies heavily on his defensive abilities to lock down anyone in the league.

Artest was sought after to lock down small forwards Kevin Durant and Paul Pierce. If they trade him, who is going to guard Durant? And if the Lakers and Celtics make the finals again, who is going to guard Pierce?

For another matter, if the Celtics don't make the finals and the Miami Heat do, who would guard LeBron James?

If your answer to this question is Anthony, you might want to think again.

All the talk the past few days of a deal of center Andrew Bynum to the Denver Nuggets for Carmelo makes little sense.

First, you lose a young and solid seven-footer who can start or come off the bench.

Yes, the Lakers are 18-7 without Bynum and 18-9 when he does play this year. But his averages in points, rebounds and blocks are all higher than his career average and his turnovers are down.

Second, you lose one of the NBA's best defenders in Artest, assuming he must be traded to acquire Carmelo.

Third, you get the league's eighth-highest scorer—24.6 points per game—in Carmelo, but one who is known to be incredibly lazy on defense.

But with Bryant getting older, does it really make sense trading a seven-footer and one of your best perimeter defenders?

Why not wait to acquire Anthony come season's end when he is a free agent if he doesn't get traded beforehand?

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