This is who many were calling for. According to this ESPN article, Artest wants to play his final season as a King – at the bottom of the Western Conference in no man’s land evidently…

ESPN: Sacramento Kings forward Ron Artest, attending Tuesday night’s Game 6 of the NBA Finals, told ESPN.com that he’s “99 percent sure I won’t opt out of my contract” this month to become a free agent July 1.

Although he left that one-percent sliver of wiggle room, Artest has been insisting for weeks that he wants to play out the final season of his contract with the Kings — at nearly $8 million — before thinking about free agency. He has also expressed hope that Sacramento will consider a contract extension, but the Kings have yet to show a willingness to go that route.

There likewise remains a chance that Sacramento could again seek to trade Artest — most likely after July 1 once his contract status is made official — even if he bypasses free agency. The Kings seriously explored the market for Artest in conjunction with the league’s annual February trade deadline, most notably in talks with the Denver Nuggets.

The Los Angeles Lakers are already widely expected to revisit past trade interest in Artest after repeatedly losing the toughness battle in this series to Boston, although making trades with teams from the same division — especially teams that have the history L.A. and Sacramento share — are complicated to say the least.

Artest has a June 30 deadline to notify the Kings whether he plans to play out the final season of his contract or opt for free agency. But putting free agency on hold for one more year could conceivably increase trade interest in the 28-year-old, since Artest would be playing next season on an expiring contract.

“My agent [Mark Stevens] wants me to have a chance to prove that I can win games [in Sacramento],” Artest said. “So we are not considering opting out.

Continue reading: ‘ESPN: Artest wants to play out final season of contract with Kings’

  • Banzai

    hmmm so he’d rather have a chance at winning games than winning championships?

  • http://ld2k.com LD2k

    I say PR.

    Not saying he’ll end up with the Lakers – though I believe this… but I think if he “quits” on the Kings it would look bad in the market? I don’t know… I’m more down today than yesterday.

  • lalaland

    if he opts out and he accepts mid level then take him but if he wants more than that its not worth it. why not try to trade lamar or luke to get under the cap. ariza would be the defensive stopper at sf and next year bynum will be back so defensively we will be a lot better. there is enough scoring between kobe, bynum, gasol. ron would be great if we could get him but not big money because he has a lot of injury issues and suspension problems. but lets hope for no injuries next year and we will be in good shape.

  • DCLAKER

    Either 2 things need to happen,

    1.Artest fires his agent and calls Kobe and says “I’M ON MY WAY,PODNA”

    2.GET COREY MAGGETTE AND MICKAEL PIETRUS,YES!BOTH OF’EM

  • e

    haha so much for that..its okay im sure mitch and the rest of the lakers team will find a way to either get someone here or improve

  • xtro

    Sacto will never give him an increase. Artest will opt out or get traded hopefully to L.A.

  • lakerschamps08

    naww see we need him, well maybe not… we need bynum, odom and gasol to be able to play good as a team… getting artest would be great but if he wants to stay then thats fine.. watch him opt out and go to the celtics…. but yea idk….

  • David

    Take what comes out of Artest’s mouth with a grain of salt. You notice how he said 99% he won’t oput out? He’s as unpredictable as a loose cannon.

  • lalaland

    why do people want corey so much the guy does not play any defense which is what we need. there is enough scoring right now on the team. if we can just sucker a team into taking luke or radmonovich for a bench player then we will be good. ron in my opinion is too unoerdictable. the lakers had a chance to sign him back in the days and did not what makes you think he is gonna opt out and the lakers will take him. this is the last big contract the guy is gonna et in his career he is looking for a big payday and the lakers cannot give him that.

  • vintij

    We dont need this chump, phil already has a hard time getting his current roster to listen to him. Lamar needs to go, no offense but he was out clubbing the night before game 6! Who does that. Serious, he needs to get traded for a defensive minded player, or at least someone who can protect the paint while scoring 10 points. Maybe tyson chandler? Or perhaps gerald wallace?

  • Sako

    Wow, this is a stab in the heart. Getting Artest has been the only thing on my mind since the loss yesterday.

  • Sako

    I’d love to get him. He’ll take off our “soft” tag. What’s more tough than a guy suspended 86 games for beating up the opponents fans. NOBODY will mess with us.

  • sK

    Ron, I know mediaater of message boards etc, if you somehow read this, you are what we need on this team. The money lacking in a mid-level exception to what you are garunteed is able to be made up under the bright lights of LA. There is no better way to get national coverage on television to show off your skills for endorsements than playing with Kobe and the Lakers.

    You are needed and we invite you to our team. Please come. KOBE, ARTEST, PAU, LO, BYNUM, wow.

  • DCLAKER

    We need more post about ‘other’ players besides the ones on Arenas(NOT HAPPENIN’)and Artest(too unsure).What about Gerald Wallace,Jamario Moon,Mickael Pietrus(y’all know that’s my favorite) or Kelenna Azubuike(Love his game on defense),etc.I don’t wanna see no more on Artest until he is in LA,you in or your out.

    Plus we need more than Artest,Mitch and Phil have said it ready.

  • Jmakster

    Forget Ron Artest, we dont need anything but Defense. Of course Ron Artest is labled as Defense, but NOT having a defensive player is not our problem, we have one, hes just injured. All these guards are beating our guards to the paint and is either laying it up or dishing it out to their shooters for threes. When Bynum is at full abillity all those easy buckets would be terminated due to bynums shoot blocking ability. come on now, but if we do get artest along side with bynum and kobe on D, then it wouldnt b fair for the NBA, because we would b like the spurs on Defense. Artest would b our Bowen, but with scoring ability. Kobe of course is better than ginobli, but u get my point. ANd paul gasols scoring and bynums defense, that would match tim duncan. All we would need is a tony parker. but hey farmer fisher, and sasha, their almost their.