Wednesday, January 25, 2006

[Kings] Peja-Artest Swap Dead...or Not?

Well, things DID get interesting a funny way.

Read the latest announcement from Mark Stevens, the agent of Ron Artest, and promise you won't be mad enough to break the computer in front of you:

Artest and his agent. Mark Stevens, were expected to meet Wednesday morning in Indianapolis with team executives Larry Bird and Donnie Walsh with the hopes the trade can be revived.

"In the last month, Ron Artest has been vehemently portrayed in an unflattering manner in the media, specifically in the aftermath of requesting a trade, even after it was made clear that he only spoke out because he believed the Pacers were going to trade him to Sacramento, a place he did not want to go to," Stevens said in a statement to ESPN's Stephen A. Smith on Tuesday night. "Now it has become evident that this trade was not merely speculation but something that has been at least discussed for quite some time.

"Ron Artest did not want to be traded to Sacramento weeks ago, and he does not want to be traded to Sacramento now. Basketball is Ron Artest's passion. In order for Ron to fully demonstrate his natural skills and abilities, to the best of his abilities, he not only must be in an environment that is conducive to his growth an development as a player, he must also ensure that his family is happy and content as well. Ron does not believe that will be the case if he were in Sacramento. Period. However, as mentioned earlier, Ron is deeply committed to the sport of basketball and desperately misses playing the game he loves. If the trade is made he will play for his new team, regardless of how he may feel about it."

Stevens told ESPN's Greg Anthony that he thought Artest needed a stable situation with strong leadership, and that the uncertainty about both Kings coach Rick Adelman's future and the Kings' future in Sacramento indicated a lack of stability that would be uncomfortable for Artest.

Likewise, National Basketball Players Association executive director Billy Hunter told Anthony that Artest had not refused to report to Sacramento, although he had told Hunter of his reservations about the potential trade. Hunter expressed concern about reports that the Pacers might attempt to suspend Artest for playing a role in the Kings' rejection of the trade. Hunter told Anthony that Artest was not culpable for the possible dissolution of the deal because he had expressed that he would accept the trade.

Anyway, should the Kings' fans feel relieved since he did say he WILL play for Sacramento if the trade somehow gets down? (Take the Chris Webber's case as the comparison, who has said he will NOT even report to Sacramento after got traded by Washington, until long talks with his father.)

Latest Indystar report offers little we haven't known about, nonetheless is a comprehensive recap about the weird past 24 hours.

However this excerpt is curious:

Artest dismissed an ESPN report that he was to meet with Walsh this morning.
"Nobody has told me about that," he said.
Artest also denied an ESPN report he has bought a home in Los Angeles, although he said he has rented an apartment short term.
He added that he has not given thought recently to where he would like to play.
"Right now I'm a Pacer," he said. "I've only been watching the Pacers and Kobe Bryant."

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