Kings Blog and Q&A

News, observations and reader questions about the Sacramento Kings and the NBA.

January 31, 2008
Ron-Ron's end near?

First things first, there's this: Geoff Petrie still has to be satisfied.
Any deal involving Ron Artest - and all signs point to trade talks heating up - has to come with enough to make Petrie want to pull the trigger. He can still hold out, perhaps holding onto Artest until season's end and trying to do a sign-and-trade in the summer as a way of getting something back. And even if that didn't happen, you get $7.4 million off the cap and move forward. Not ideal, but neither are some of the offers he's heard for Artest in the past.
While I spent quite a bit of time wondering in print about Nene being part of an Artest-to-Denver deal, there are other pieces there too. There's the expiring contract of bruiser Eduardo Najera ($4.95 million), the revived and likely unattainable center Marcus Camby ($10 million this season and signed through 2010), and young talents like small forward Linas Kleiza ($1.01 million this season, team option for 2008-09 at $1.82 million).
Artest to Denver fits for another reason, too, that being the notion that he would be best suited in an environment with an established coach and surrounded by big-time stars. That was much of the reason Pat Riley has pondered the idea in Miami, where Shaq and D-Wade could create quite the trio with Artest. And it works in Denver, too, where coach George Karl has had a smooth run since getting the once-difficult Allen Iverson and worked past so many Carmelo Anthony moments.
The biggest difference here is that Miami (9-35, last place in the East) is a lost cause while Denver (27-18, 7th place in the West) could badly use another potent piece to ensure playoff position.
Artest's teammates didn't know what to think about his statements to the Bee's Marty Mac about not seeing a long-term future in Sacramento. Swingman Francisco Garcia was nothing short of shocked to hear what Artest had to say.
"That’s my man," he said. "He brings so much to the table for us. He’s a great player. I don’t know what’s going on behind closed doors, (but) if he leaves, it’s going to be tough because he’s also a great friend. But we understand that it’s a business. People go, people come."
Garcia and center Brad Miller were asked if Artest's moments of frustration that have been frequent of late were hurting the team, or if his teammates have grown to live with those occasional outbursts.
"I think everybody got used to it," he said. "He’s just so competitive, just wants to win. Sometimes people get mad at him, but he just wants to win."
Miller, who laughed at the notion that he's the resident Ron-Ron expert because of their prior experience together in Indiana, said he still never knows what to expect from Artest.
"You can’t read him," he said. "You never know what he’s going to say one day. There’s no reading Ron. That’s for sure."
Petrie wouldn't share the exact details of his two recent conversations with Artest, although it seemed clear that it involved the probability that he'll be discussed in trades in the coming days and weeks.
"I’m not going to go into the details of what we talked about necessarily, but I’ve always been very straight forward with Ron and that’s the way it is with anyone," he said. - Sam Amick



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