Today’s basketball news was dominated by talk concerning the possible destinations for HoopsVibe favourite Ron Artest, who, for those of you living under a rock, recently issued a trade request.
So, who wants the camera-breaking, crazy-talking, number-changing riot-starter? If the preliminary reports are anything to go by, just about everyone, with Indiana GM Donnie Walsh claiming to have received calls from “fifteen or sixteen” organisations already. Rather than run through every potential scenario proposed by the media and team insiders, let’s take a look at just a few of the major players in the Ron Artest sweepstakes or, at the least, those who have expressed the most interest in acquiring the 260-pound defensive maestro from the housing projects of Queensbridge, New York.
Let’s get right into it.
For Peja Stojakovic (Sacramento Kings)
Various bigmouths within either organisation have been hinting at this deal for some time now, but there’s yet to be any evidence that it’s anything but an unfounded rumour. It’s only lent any credibility by the fact that it seems to keep popping up, particularly when either of the two are slumping or calling out their organisation for whatever reason. What’s more, I’m not sure why Indiana would want to pull the trigger on this deal. I know that it’s difficult to find players of calibre with a salary comparable to Ron-Ron’s, but that doesn’t mean that the Pacers will bite at the offer of any old former All-Star. Peja’s the type that lives and dies by the jumper, and the fact that he’s shooting his lowest field goal percentage since his rookie year is a horrible sign. He may prove to find his former productivity, but that doesn’t make him Ron’s equal by any means. It doesn’t help that he’s incapable of guarding anyone on the court, and that includes the ballboys, referees and cheerleaders.
For Al Harrington (Atlanta Hawks)
This one makes a little more sense. Al has hinted that he’d be happy to return to the Pacers, and it doesn’t hurt that it’s the team of best buddy Jermaine O’Neal. Their salaries are close enough to allow for a straight one-for-one trade, and there’s not such a disparity in talent that Indiana wouldn’t consider it. Other names have been thrown in the mix, but it seems unlikely to me that Atlanta would put any of their kids out there since they’ve stated repeatedly that they’re building towards the future (read: sucking for a while). At twenty-six and with a frame that can take more of a beating than most, Ron looks to have many more years left in him, and bringing him to town would give the Hawks instant defensive credibility.
With Austin Croshere for Antonio Davis (New York Knicks)
While this trade would be hugely lopsided, it’s one of the few feasible deals I’ve heard involving the Knicks. Ron has already said that he’d sign with New York following the expiration of his current contract, but he’d certainly rather go home without the waiting period. The only benefit for Indiana is that Davis’ contract expires at the end of the year, leaving them with some wiggle room to make a play for a big-name free agent this summer. Still, Zeke is keeping quiet for the moment, patiently waiting for trade talks to die down before he makes his move. Don’t be surprised if the Knicks come seemingly out of nowhere with an offer in a few days. They may have already turned down a deal involving Channing Frye (one of Larry Brown’s favourites), but they’re not out of the picture by any means.
With Austin Croshere for Kenyon Martin and Voshon Lenard (Denver Nuggets)
Word from Denver is that K-Mart’s days in the Mile High City are limited, and Vo’ has stated explicitly that he wants out. With ‘Melo having spent his fair share of time at the two of late, there’s certainly room for Ron in the starting line-up and, assuming Nenê makes it back from injury by next year, the Nugs could soon have one of the most formidable fives in the league.
However, while this leaves Denver with the complete package, Indiana would have a logjam at the power forward position, with both Martin and Jermaine O’Neal being natural fours. J.O. has experience at the five and Kenyon played as a small forward for extended periods during his time in New Jersey, but it still looks like an awkward match. What’s more, it doesn’t seem likely that Kiki Vandeweghe would agree to a trade which didn’t involve newcomer Earl Watson, eligible to be moved from today (the fifteenth).
Where do you see Ron ending up? Make your thoughts known by using the comment box at the bottom of the page or by emailing me at [email protected]. We’ll take a look at your responses tomorrow. Until then, take it easy.