Kings Blog and Q&A

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

February 5, 2008
Ron Artest moving on....at least mentally

When the rooster crows on Feb. 22, Ron Artest could still be in a Kings uniform.
But the Kings small forward isn't so sure, talking like a guy who has either been told he'll be traded (which I don't think is the case) or a guy who wants to be traded.
My take is that it's a little trickier than that. I think Ron started moving on in his head when his sense was that the Kings didn't want him long-term. And considering his recent conversations with Kings basketball president Geoff Petrie included some version of, "Well, Ron, the trade deadline's coming and something could happen.." then it seems fairly obvious that that was enough for Artest to start looking to a future without him at Arco Arena.
And once he did that, it seems Ron has been carrying some amount of guilt for how his presence hinders John Salmons and Francisco Garcia. He is sincere when he says how much he likes his teammates and wants them to succeed. As he sees it, it's time for them to become the future in Sacramento.
Yesterday at practice, Ron went out of his way to speak his piece. I approached Ron to ask him about Reggie Theus, told him I wanted to write about the first-year coach and the job he'd done this season. Next thing I know, he's going straight to "They'd be better without me; He (meaning Theus) would be better without me."
It reminded me of Artest's trade demand from Indiana only in this sense: when Ron wants to speak up, he'll speak up. When that story was broken by the Indianapolis Star's Pacers beat writer Mike Wells, he took all sorts of grief from inside the organization and out for allegedly stirring the pot, as if he tried to get Artest to say he wanted out. The truth, as told to me by Wells? Artest came his way, letting him know they needed to talk on the record and knowing full well what he was doing. This might be a different version of that scenario, with Ron's strong stance that it's in the Kings' best interests to trade him - for their sake, not his. And still, that doesn't guarantee he'll be gone on Feb. 22. - Sam Amick



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