LA Lakers Trade Rumors: 10 Reasons the Charlotte Bobcats Should Avoid Ron Artest
LA Lakers Trade Rumors Could Send Ron Artest Out of LA
Less than a year after winning an NBA title with the Los Angeles Lakers, Ron Artest could be getting the boot from Hollywood.
Last week ESPN's Marc Stein reported that Artest would welcome a trade out of LA, and ESPN's Ric Bucher confirmed that the Lakers contacted the Charlotte Bobcats about a potential trade that would involve either Gerald Wallace or Stephen Jackson.
Nothing came out of it, but a possible Artest-to-Charlotte trade appears to still be alive in some form or fashion.
The Bobcats may want to think twice about acquiring Artest, though.
Why? Well, I'm glad you asked.
Here are 10 reasons why the Bobcats should stay clear of Ron Artest.
10. Stephen Jackson Is the Team's No. 1 Scorer
This season the Bobcats have been about as far from an offensive juggernaut as you can be, but the team's bright spot and No. 1 scoring threat has been Stephen Jackson.
He's averaging 18.8 points per game, 3.4 more than any of his teammates, and he's scored 30-plus points four times this season.
Charlotte isn't going to be a team that's going to drop 110 points a night—it just isn't their style—but losing Jackson is something the team simply can't afford to do.
He's the team's primary offensive threat and one of only two legit scoring threats on the Bobcats, along with Gerald Wallace.
9. It's Ron Artest
Artest has calmed down considerably since joining the Lakers, rarely getting into scuffles or drawing the type of attention to himself that he did during previous stops with teams like the Sacramento Kings and Indiana Pacers.
But let's be real here: Ron Artest is still Ron Artest.
He's never going to be the NBA's ultimate sportsman or the greatest teammate in history, so any team that signs or trade for him is still taking a risk.
Part of the reason why he's been less of a troublemaker in Los Angeles is because of the influence of guys like Bryant.
Yet, he still would OK a trade off the two-time defending World Champions.
If he's not completely happy in Los Angeles, why would he be content in Charlotte?
8. They're Not Going Anywhere This Season
Even if the Bobcats make the playoffs this season—which they are currently positioned to do—they're not going to make much noise by season's end.
So why trade one of your top two players for an aging, struggling player who doesn't want to be there and won't pay any short-term (or long-term) dividends?
Yeah, Artest might help the defense give up one or two points less per game (if he's traded for Jackson), but that's about it.
He isn't going to rock the foundation of the Bobcats franchise.
But then again, no one who's available for trade really would either.
7. It Would Upset Team Chemistry
At the beginning of the season, the Bobcats played their opponents close. But like my dad always says, that only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.
Charlotte still limped to a 1-6 start and found themselves sitting at just 11-20 at the end of 2010.
But since the start of 2011, the Bobcats have gone 11-9 to move to 22-29 on the season.
They're currently slated as the No. 8 team in the Eastern Conference playoffs, with a projected first round matchup against the Boston Celtics.
Sure, Charlotte is only on the playoff fringe, but the team has played much better over the last month-plus.
There's no need to ruin the team's current chemistry.
6. Artest's Contract
If the potential Jackson/Wallace-for-Artest trade was simply a swap of expiring contracts and the Bobcats were looking to rebuild, maybe it would be worth trying the trade for less than half a season.
But Artest is in the second year of a three-year, $18 million deal that allows him to choose to extend the deal for two more years and bring its total value to roughly $34 million.
Artest is already 31 years old, and he'd be making $8 million at 34 years old by the end of the contract.
That's a hefty price tag for a guy whose production has steadily fallen off since the 2007-08 season.
5. Gerald Wallace Is the Team's Best Player
While everyone associates Artest with defense, hardly anyone does the same with Gerald Wallace.
But Wallace was named to the NBA First Team All-Defense in 2010 and is Charlotte's best defender.
Oh yeah, he can play some offense, too.
Wallace ranks second on the Bobcats in scoring (15.4), fourth in assists (2.3), second in PER (14.1), first in minutes played (39.1) and first in both defensive rebounds (6.5) and total rebounds (8.0).
He is the team's most valuable player and is just too important to Charlotte to trade for a one-trick pony like Artest.
4. Artest Doesn't Want To Go To Charlotte
According to RIc Bucher, an NBA source told him that Artest isn't too excited about a potential trade to Charlotte.
Here's what Bucher's report said about Artest possibly heading to the Bobcats.
"The Bobcats were initially intrigued because owner Michael Jordan has long appreciated Artest's toughness, but talks ended during the weekend after the Bobcats learned Artest was not excited about playing in Charlotte."
The last thing Charlotte needs is to make a trade for a player who doesn't want to be there.
If the Bobcats do pull the trigger on an Artest, they'll be getting an unenthusiastic, unwilling and unmotivated player rather than a defensive stalwart.
3. He Doesn't Fill a Need
The Bobcats have had one of the league's worst offenses during the 2010-11 campaign.
Of the 30 NBA teams, Charlotte ranks 28th in scoring at just 93.5 points per game.
The team's defense, however, is above average, ranking 11th in points allowed at 96.6 per game.
So how does trading for a defensive-minded player help the Bobcats with their main problem (scoring)?
Exactly. It doesn't.
2. It Just Doesn't Make Sense
Though a starter, Artest has been outplayed by at least five of his Laker teammates this season.
Outperformed by Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, Lamar Odom and Andrew Bynum? Definitely.
Derek Fisher and Shannon Brown? Probably so.
Matt Barnes? You could certainly make that argument.
So in essence, if the Bobcats traded Stephen Jackson or Gerald Wallace to the Lakers for Artest, that would be like the Boston Celtics trading Glen Davis for LeBron James or Dwyane Wade.
OK, not quite. But it's still a lopsided deal.
1. Artest's Terrible Season
Artest is having one of the worst seasons of his NBA career.
Check that—he's having the worst season of his career.
So far this season Artest is averaging career lows in points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks. He is also averaging his fourth-worst field goal percentage and his second-lowest free three percentage.
By all measures, Artest has been flat-out awful for the Lakers this season and has even taken a considerable step back on defense, which is his main value to any team at this point of his career.