Ron Artest speaks out. Wants a trade, loves Phil Jackson and the Lakers, and does not see a future with the Kings. A key part of the article also states the Lakers are interested in Artest, but don’t want to give up a package with Odom in it to acquire him. Ron Artest could push for the Lakers though, this should get really interesting!
ESPN: Sacramento Kings forward Ron Artest joined teammates Kevin Martin, Beno Udrih and Shareef Abdur-Rahim as celebrity spectators for the Kings’ first game in the NBA Summer League on the campus of UNLV.
But Artest isn’t feeling like a King.
In a series of e-mails he sent to ESPN.com late Saturday and early Sunday, Artest continued to lament his decision to pass on an opportunity to become a free agent July 1 by announcing that he is now representing himself without an agent and expressing hope that he will soon be traded to “a team out there that can be more committed than Sacramento to me.”
That team is believed to be the Los Angeles Lakers. Almost from the minute they were routed by the Boston Celtics in Game 6 of the NBA Finals — which Artest attended in Boston to root for friends Kobe Bryant and Lamar Odom — it has been strongly expected throughout the league that the Lakers would revisit their longstanding trade interest in Artest and eventually acquire the enigmatic forward sometime this summer to address the defense and toughness issues that the Celtics exposed.
But NBA front-office sources told ESPN.com on Sunday that the Lakers — fond as they are of Artest and confident as they are that they can get the best out of him through Phil Jackson’s coaching and Artest’s respect for Bryant — are reluctant to part with Odom in an Artest swap. That stance, if the Lakers hold firm, would almost certainly prompt Sacramento to look elsewhere for a trade partner.
“In a way I wish this [coming 2008-09 season] would have been [Theus’] first year and [Adelman] would have left this summer, because it could have showed how much [of] a winner I am. Guys like Rick Adelman and Rick Carlisle [brought] that out of me. Isiah [Thomas] was going to bring that out of me if he didn’t get fired [by the Knicks]. A coach like Phil Jackson can bring that out me.”