In true Ron-Ron (or is that Bill-Bill?) fashion, he didn't take long to change his stance in the latest mini-drama.
After our conversation this afternoon in which he was clearly not thrilled with the comments made by Yao Ming, he went on with KHTK's Carmichael Dave this evening and reported that the issue has been resolved.
Among the relevant revelations...
* Artest said Yao called to clear up the matter and proclaimed himself "a Yao Ming soldier babyyyyyy!."
* He admitted that Yao's comments regarding the brawl "hit me in the soft spot when I read that."
* He said he's even considering a trip to China support Yao with Team China, then quickly made it clear that he is rooting for Team USA for the gold.
* Asked if there was anything he would change about his time in Sacramento, Artest said he would have found a way to convince the Kings to re-sign Rick Adelman.
"I wish I would have know that Rick was leaving, because I would've intercepted that phone call with a missile from Korea," he said with a laugh. "I'd be like, 'Hold on, let's work it out.'"
POINTS TO PONDER
* Assuming Artest's comments on Wednesday don't undo the deal, let's move ahead to Rockets locker room speculation.
No one expects Tracy McGrady or Yao Ming to be the ones willing to stand up to Artest, but don't be surprised if Rafer Alston occasionally plays that role. Not only do Ron and Rafer go all the way back to their shared New York upbringing, but Alston was possibly the most outspoken critic among his colleagues after the 2004 brawl.
For an interesting look back, read this piece here.
* While talking to Artest today, he retold the story about how he found out he was traded while making an appearance on the "Scott Ferrall Show" on Sirius XM radio.
Here's the transcript from the show on Tuesday night, as provided by the XM folks...
Ferrall: "Yo, Ronnie, it's Ferrall."
Artest: "What's going on, man? How's everything?"
Ferrall: "What's up, Money? Now listen, can you believe that you got traded tonight while you were filling it up for 42 points at that thing in the city tonight? When did you find out that you got dealt, afterwards when you picked up your cell phone?"
Artest: "What are you talking about, what are you talking about right now? I got traded?"
Ferrall: "You got traded tonight to the Houston Rockets, brother, for Bobby Jackson. You're going to be playing with Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady."
Artest: "I didn't know that."
Ferrall: "I swear to god."
Artest: "I just came from the game and went to get something to eat. I turned my phone off and I told my boy I was going to call [into the show] because it was your birthday. I didn't know that. I got to call [my agent] and find out. I've got to find out."
Ferrall then read a portion of the Houston Chronicle report on the trade to Artest.
Ferrall: "What do you think, man? How do you feel about that? I hope I didn't bum you out."
Artest: "Nah, man, everything is good. I am going to call my agent in a little bit. But man, it's your birthday, man."
* I honestly wonder if Houston leaked the story about this trade on purpose. My conspiracy theory goes as such: get the news of the trade out there, then have ample time to gauge the response of the fanbase/media etc. and leave yourself an out if you decide it could be a disaster.
If it wasn't Ron Artest, I'd call myself crazy. But the fear factor around the league most certainly remains high when it comes to Ron-Ron, and I could honestly see such drastic measures being taken to guard against a potential PR crisis or maybe even some sort of mutiny from within.
* I'm not typically in the business of uni-news, but the folks at Sactownroyalty are all over it. A pic of the new road uniform was leaked to the blogosphere. Check it out here.
* On second thought, I forgot that McGrady has shown an ability to stand up for himself. Take, for example, this scuffle with the one and only Bobby Jackson from a few years ago.
* Speaking of Jackson, a story on the former Kings point guard who could certainly still be headed this way was put on hold because of the Artest situation.
I had a fascinating chat with Bobby this morning and will likely run that story on Friday. - Sam Amick