First things first, Ron Artest wound up having five bone chips surgically removed from his right elbow today and will be out three to four weeks. That certainly can't help his trade value for the immediate future.
Now on another note...
As I noted on the recent New Jersey stop, Ron Artest is a wanted man in his hometown. Not only from the Knicks, but from the local media that always gets him to say something.
It didn't take long on this trip (which Scott Howard-Cooper is making while I take a breather). There's already a New York Post story on how Ron says he can fix the Knicks, and a New York Daily News piece that hits on Artest trade possibilities and has Knicks coach Isiah Thomas saying he doesn't expect his club to make any moves before the February trade deadline. I even became part of the Big Apple rumor mill recently, doing an interview with old friend Max Dickstein (a Sacramento native and sports editor at AM New York). Click here for a peek
The Artest-to-the-Knicks chatter is just like the city with which most of the talk originates - it never sleeps. From everything I heard about the old talks between the Kings and Knicks, they always involved guys who the Kings weren't eager to get (Jared Jeffries) and never involved the guys they wouldn't mind having (David Lee or Nate Robinson). Renaldo Balkman has been offered in various deals as an alternative to Lee, but it's made no difference. Now not that it matters since the GMs will always be the ones making the deals, but I absolutely believe Ron would love playing in his hometown. He is a fan of Isiah Thomas from their Indiana days and remains strong in his support, and doesn't seem wary in the slighest bit about possibly joining the mess that has been made in the Untended Garden. If it doesn't happen via trade, though, I just don't see it happening. If Ron opts out this summer, the Knicks can only offer him the midlevel (approximately $6 million) and that would be a pay cut of about 20 percent at a time when he'd be looking to get a raise of at least that much. Until the future is known, don't expect this storyline to go away. - Sam Amick