Sunday , Jan , 20 , 2008 Oly Sandor

What Must Happen For Ron Artest To Return To Indiana Pacers?

Could Artest sign with Indiana as an unrestricted free agent this summer? You remember his Pacer legacy, right? There were suspensions, requests for time off to promote music, the Malice N’ The Palace, and, worst of all, an infamous walkout which forced the team to trade him to Sacramento …

What Must Happen For Ron Artest To Return To Indiana Pacers?

Mark Montieth of the Indianapolis Star reports on Ron Artest eyeing a return to the Pacers:

He (Artest) listed Sacramento, New York and the Pacers as preferred destinations if he becomes a free agent, and added Detroit and Miami to the list after more thought.

My AM Take: Could Artest sign with Indiana as an unrestricted free agent this summer? You remember his Pacer legacy, right?

There were suspensions, requests for time off to promote music, the Malice N’ The Palace, and, worst of all, an infamous walkout which forced the team to trade him to Sacramento.

Would Indiana forgive-and-forget? Would GM Larry Bird -who supported Artest unconditionally, only to have him quit mid-season- give the emotional forward another chance?

I’m not sure. I do believe Artest has grown. Last summer, he traveled to Africa through an NBA sponsored program and was moved by the poverty and desperation. The defensive stopper also has family concerns. His young daughter has health issues.

What would have to happen for Artest to sign with the Pacers?

1) Jermaine O’Neal would have to be traded. The power forward felt betrayed by Artest’s walkout in December, 2005. I have no idea about O’Neal and Artest’s personal relationship, but there’s too much history for them to co-exist as teammates.

Fortunately, for Artest, O’Neal is on the trading block. What the Pacers receive back could rule out signing Ron-Ron.

2) He would have to convince Bird he’s changed. Through everything, Larry-legend professed a personal fondness for Artest. But the former Celtic was hurt by how things ended.

3) The price would have to be right. Indiana is over the luxury tax threshold. Discounts always help.

It’s unlikely, but perhaps enough time has passed for Artest to return to Indiana.

Could Ron Artest return to Indiana? Get at us in the comment box below with your thoughts or discuss this article in our .

The AM Take is Oly’s morning thoughts on the NBA, appearing Sunday through Friday on HoopsVibe.com. Errors can be attributed to the time and his need for another coffee. Click here to get his AM Take and subscribe to his blog.