With Tampa Bay and Philadelphia sitting down curmudgeons Keyshawn Johnson and TO, the Pacers have been inspired to sit down SF Ron Artest for the rest of the year. While Donnie Walsh and Larry Bird have said they’ll continue their attempts to trade Artest, I have my doubts, mainly because neither the Bucs or Eagles traded Johnson nor TO the year they were sat down. 20 of the 29 other NBA teams have contacted the Pacers looking to add Artest to their roster. If Artest is getting shipped out then these teams are the finalists.
After starting 9-2, the Cavaliers haven’t looked like the Eastern Conference Contenders they should be. LeBron James has accepted the possibility that Artest would be a good fit in Cleveland. There are two simple reasons why LeBron and Artest won’t ever unite. Cleveland is too good already. By sending Artest with James you run the risk of turning them into a powerhouse. It’s dubious that Don Walsh and Larry Bird will trade Artest to a team in the East and there’s no possibility that they’d trade him within their division. And while LeBron may be sold on getting him, Dan Gilbert and Cavs management aren’t ready to part with Larry Hughes just yet.
Chris Bosh is an all-star if he’s not in Toronto and is certainly an attractive offer for the Pacers. However Bosh says he actually likes being in Toronto and will stay unless they dismantle the team any more. Bosh should be the cornerstone of the Raptors franchise since players willing to stay with a bad team over a good one for the same money is rare. Jalen Rose’s salary is far too large to trade for Artest’s. So realistically they’d have to add Villanueva or Calderon to the Bosh deal while trying to take on Bender or Johnson’s salary. It’s too much for the Raptors to accomplish. But the real killer here is Artest himself: if you thought Rafer Alston was a bad fit in Toronto, then Ron Artest is the apocalypse for head coach Sam Mitchell.
The only two Eastern teams with a slight chance to get Artest are two of the worst: Atlanta and Toronto. Atlanta has been building up an influx of talent the last few years but will destroy it in a heartbeat to get Artest. Indiana wouldn’t mind getting back Al Harrington, who requested a trade to Atlanta two years ago. With Artest’s salary so low, the opposition has to offer a similar balance in terms of cash. That’s what makes Artest so hard to trade: it’s because there’s virtually nobody even remotely as good as him making the same money as he is. While Harrington’s salary is close enough to make a trade between the two, his contract ends at the end of this year and might request to be traded again in the future.
6. LA CLIPPERS
The Clippers have begun to pull out of the Artest sweepstakes. Indiana has expressed interest in SF Corey Maggette who makes about the same money as Artest. However the Clippers say they have no plans of getting rid of the former Duke player. That was before Maggette got injured though. He’s out for a month, and my long-awaited Clippers collapse has at last commenced. Don’t be surprised if LA gets back in it when they fall to .500. They have a truckload of draft picks and have never been afraid to make questionable transactions. Either way, it’s better for both the Pacers and Clippers for Maggette to get healthy fast.
Has it not been years that we’ve been hearing about a possible Peja Stojakovic/Ron Artest trade? Once again, the Sacramento Kings have entered into the sweepstakes of the exiled Pacer. Not even 2 months after signing him the Kings are willing to trade Bonzi Wells. Jermaine O’Neal wouldn’t mind playing with former teammate Wells, but he would add too much money for the Pacers to take on in the deal. Austin Chroshere’s name has come up a lot lately, and it certainly would clear cap room if he left. The Kings to this point haven’t admitted any trade possibilities and declare them as just rumors.
4. GOLDEN STATE
Why the Warriors are even in the race is beyond me. Sure they’ve fallen on a bad patch of the year, but for the most part they’ve been a playoff team and division contender. One deal floating around is Mike Dunleavy and Adonal Foyle for Artest and Jeff Foster, which works since the salaries between the 4 are nearly equal and they both cover each other’s position. However, to get Artest they might have to tear up an even greater chunk of their roster, including the likes of Derek Fisher and Mickael Pietrus. So far the Warriors have the most equal offering on the table for Artest. They might decide to pull out though if they begin to win again.
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