Trade winds aren't exactly blowing, but the talk is brewing.
ESPN's Chris Sheridan talks Ron Artest in a story today, and he's spot on. I'm unsure if the Knicks have actually presented the Kings with the Eddy Curry/Jerome James for Artest/Kenny Thomas deal, but - according to a source close to the Knicks I spoke with last week - it's certainly what the Knicks folks have in mind as the latest way to acquire Artest. It would be a rough day on the Kings' PR front if they did that deal as it pertains to James, considering it was his one-hit wonder playoff performance against the Kings in 2005 while with Seattle that landed him all that cash.
As for Denver, it's far from certain that the Kings want Nene, for reasons varying from his health concerns (testicular cancer) to his contract ($8.84 million this season and a deal that goes through 2011 with a player option for the 2011-12 campaign). At the same time, getting Eduardo Najera's expiring deal doesn't mean all that much considering Artest has said he'll opt out this summer and his money would come off the books anyway. Getting third-year small forward Linas Kleiza and draft picks - which the Kings are seeking in all talks - are the key here.
As for other possibilities, a dark, dark, darkhorse is Houston. I say that only on intrigue alone - Artest with former Kings coach Rick Adelman again, not to mention Tracy McGrady, Yao Ming and a pairing with Bonzi Wells that worked so well during the 2006 playoff run?!
The Rockets are on the playoff bubble, although they've won 11 of their last 12 games. To my knowledge, the two teams have not spoken. As for what the Kings would want, I can tell you that they are very high on Rockets rookie point guard Aaron Brooks out of Oregon. How high? There was some internal talk in June about shocking the NBA world and drafting Brooks at the No. 10 spot. He was taken 26th overall by the Rockets.
One trade that I'd have to think would make Geoff Petrie do back flips: Artest for Brooks, the expiring contract of Steve Francis ($2.4 million) and rookie forward Luis Scola ($2.9 million and signed through 2010).
SHAMELESS PLUG ALERT
Videos on our web site are a work in progress, and there was significant progress today. Check out the story on Kings equipment manager Rob Pimental , and be sure to watch the mini-documentary on his job you can find halfway down the page. Fabulous work by the Bee's John Parker. - Sam Amick