I have no update as yet on the one-sided Lakers-Kings talks reported on Thursday, but keep an eye on Ronny Turiaf's situation while the waiting game continues.
The Lakers forward has accepted a four-year, $17 million offer sheet from Golden State and the Lakers have seven days to match it. It seems inconceivable that they will and it's to the Kings' advantage if they don't.
If they are to convince the Lakers to take back forward Kenny Thomas in a deal in which Artest would be LA-bound and Lamar Odom would come to Sacramento, they need Turiaf to head for the Bay Area. The Lakers are already near the luxury tax and not looking to go any further, and they may buy into the logic that Thomas - who turns 31 on July 25 - could provide quality defensive-minded minutes off the bench just like Turiaf did.
With the chance to get out of Sacramento and his invisible existence, Thomas may even do a few dances courtside like the jovial Turiaf has been known for. Thomas is owed approximately $18 over the next two seasons, so the lump sum is about equal with Turiaf's offer sheet (albeit in two less seasons). It's the price of doing business if they want to acquire the underpaid Artest ($7.4 million).
Meanwhile, the many who can't envision a Lakers-Kings blockbuster trade of any kind have a valid point. It would go against the NBA grain, but it should be said that any and all theories that the Maloofs simply wouldn't let it happen couldn't be further from the truth. They will pull the trigger if they get what they want.
If not, they'll hope to make something happen with someone else. Among the teams I've been told to keep a serious eye on in the Artest sweepstakes: Dallas, Miami, Phoenix, San Antonio and maybe even Charlotte. I often wonder about Toronto as well, but have yet to hear anything substantial on that front.
* As a quick sidenote, Artest continues to routinely go on the air with KHTK's Carmichael Dave.
The latest from the Ron-Ron show: he's decided to change his name. OK, so technically he wants to go by his middle name of William. The thinking? Since Ron Artest is back to getting so much negative media coverage, maybe going by Bill - as he requested to be called - could give him a fresh start. Never a dull moment... - Sam Amick