So Ron Artest's agent says the small forward may not opt out this summer after all, and it sure didn't take long for fans to start wondering where this whole thing was heading.
Well, Geoff Petrie and Joe Maloof said today that you just can't predict the future, and I'm no different. But considering this is the start of another lengthy process to see if Artest will indeed be part of the long-term future, then consider the following stances of the involved parties. I pretty much summed up Petrie's thoughts in the actual story, so here are some leftovers from Joe Maloof and Artest's agent, Mark Stevens.
MARK STEVENS (Artest's agent)
On the general approach even if Artest does opt out...
Whether itís one summer or two summers (until Artest is a free agent), Ron still has to play for a contract because thatís the name of the business. Now of course if we can enter into a negotiating process with Sacramento this summer and we can both agree on a contract, it would be favorable because itís security. Why would we wait an extra year to be put in the same situation that weíre in that same summer? If we can get something done, and itís favorable and itís honest, then of course weíd look to do it.
On the level of Artest's desire to remain with the Kings long term...
Ron is a Sacramento King. They took the risk on him in making the trade (from Indiana). That has gone a long way with Ron and myself. Ron is a loyalist. He appreciates the chance they took on him to help build his career back, and that will never be forgotten.
On his present-day view of Artest...
With the exception of one or two problems, heís been tremendous in our community. Heís given back. He spends a lot of time with kids. People like him. They genuinely like him. He has a nice following.
I think heís had some pretty good years with us now. He knows the (Maloof) family, knows the city. I think he feels more and more comfortable. We want what's best for him, for his family, if it's good for the organization. I think basically, his future depends on him, what he does. - Sam Amick
A FEW LAST NUGGETS (Because no Nuggets of any other kind came around these parts today:)
* Petrie on the fact that he didn't do any deals: "There wasnít anything to consider doing. (The fans) donít want to see anybody do something that doesnít make any sense. Right?"
* Justin Williams update: The former Kings big man who was cut on Saturday because of the Mike Bibby trade has apparently left many fans behind, as so many of you continue to wonder why they let him go. And while I referenced that in this post, there is an update of sorts on where he might land.
Keep on eye on Atlanta (which had him in the original Bibby trade proposal) and Cleveland (which may have to use coach Mike Brown as a small forward after their blockbuster deal at the deadline).
* Coverage note: Bizarre as it may be, we'll have Scott Howard-Cooper covering the game in Charlotte and I'll pick up the road trip from Orlando on. And once we finally move past this trade talk, we'll actually start chatting about the new guys from Atlanta and how they're looking. - Sam Amick