The mystery is no more, not that it ever was much of one anyway. The NBA doesn't like Ron Artest.
No question he's long since stepped over the threshold of understanding, with the 2004 brawl in Detroit the most retold tale but a number of black-eye incidents coming on both sides of the melee. But the way in which the league handled his seven-game suspension was about as transparent as it gets.
The press release regarding the suspension lumped Artest and former teammate Stephen Jackson into one announcement, and they may as well have thrown a headline on the top that read "The Bad Boys are in trouble again." Jackson, of course, was throwing haymakers with Artest that December day in Detroit.
And it was only too convenient that his criminal recklessness charge stemming from an October incident came with an identical seven-game suspension to make sure these two are forever tied in infamy.
Timing, clearly, isn't what connected the two this time. Jackson was arrested last October while Artest was arrested on domestic violence charges in March. What's more, the news comes out while Artest is actually taking part in a positive event in Africa - the "Feeding One Million" campaign that's a project of the NBA player's association?
Artest has a better chance to lead the Kings to a title this season than he has of falling back in favor with commissioner David Stern anytime soon. It's the secret everybody knows.
Final thoughts from summer league ...
The injury to Quincy Douby was by far the disappointment of the session, as the second-year guard had worked hard during the offseason and the Kings staff was eager to re-assess the young player. Instead, he played in only two games because of a back injury and the same questions that were there about his game before summer league remain. What's unfortunate is that the short time Douby had looked different than before, with his confidence seemingly on the rise and his poise on the court improved. Is he capable of becoming the point guard they'd like him to be? No clue in the slightest.
Spencer Hawes left the right sort of impression in the finale, scoring 22 points against the Clippers in the very fashion that prompted the Kings to take the center with the No. 10 pick out of Washington in the draft. But beyond the sharp and diverse offensive game, Hawes showed off his hands more than once. He caught passes on the break that most players would fumble into the first row, catching and finishing with tough layups from underneath the hoop that he made look simple. Defense and rebounding remain the big uestions. But unlike with Douby, no one is pressing for the answers anytime soon.
As a side note, the Kings-Clippers matchup was an interesting chance to watch Hawes on the same floor with Florida State product Al Thornton. The Kings considered taking the super-athletic small forward with their pick before opting for the big man. Hawes won the faceoff, as Thornton had 17 points on 6 of 18 shooting.
Daniel Artest may have wished for more playing time, but he didn't leave Las Vegas without scoring his first NBA basket. Ron's younger brother and a Kings summer league forward hit a 20-footer against the Clippers after playing just three minutes in all coming in. This time, Artest logged five minutes and grabbed two rebounds as well. Daniel has played community college basketball and had a short stint in Germany. At 6-foot-5, he's better suited to be a linebacker than an NBA forward, with his father, Ron Sr., saying he's far stronger than his older brother. Ron Sr. said Daniel is capable of bench-pressing and squatting more than 400 pounds, and he's topped the 900-pound mark on the leg press.