Monday , Jul , 21 , 2008 Oly Sandor

Lakers, Heat, & Mavericks leading Ron Artest sweepstakes

Complicating things is Sacramento’s demand that Kenny Thomas’ nine million dollar per season contract be part of any Artest trade. Sorting through the rumors, it seems the Lakers, Heat, and Mavericks have the most interest in the lockdown defender and have emerged as front-runners for his services …

Lakers, Heat, & Mavericks leading Ron Artest sweepstakesRight now, most NBA GMs are scouring free agent lists in search of a bargain. They’re consumed with signing that cheap veteran or finding a diamond-in-the-rough rookie. Recently, the suits took a break from discount shopping to call Sacramento GM Geoff Petrie and inquire about the controversial Ron Artest.

Artest, of course, has more baggage than LAX and JFK combined. And recently he decided against opting-out the final year of his 8 million dollar contract and becoming an unrestricted free agent, even though he’d earn more money and be free to pick his future team.

The forward soon realized he misjudged the free agent market and, out of frustration, complained to reporters about his decision. This created the Artest sweepstakes, where several teams blitzed the Kings with trade proposals.

Complicating things is Sacramento’s demand that Kenny Thomas’ nine million dollar per season contract be part of any Artest trade. Sorting through the rumors, it seems the Lakers, Heat, and Mavericks have the most interest in the lockdown defender and are front-runners for his services.

A few weeks back, Los Angeles offered Lamar Odom for Artest straight (the details were covered brilliantly by my HoopsVibe colleague Chris Sells). But according to Sam Amico of probasketballnews.com, the Lakers are no longer keen on assuming Thomas’ contract, while the Kings want more than Odom in return.

Out east, Miami, specifically oil-slick Riley, has been linked to the forward. Word is the Heat offered Shawn Marion’s expiring deal, but the Sacramento Bee reported that the club balked at assuming Thomas’ big-ticket contract.

Then there is Team Cuban. Would Dallas part with a younger Josh Howard for Artest? Howard, after his Cheech-and-Chong confessions, is available and new Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle got results from Artest in Indiana until the infamous Malice in The Palace incident.

The summer sweepstakes will continue. Like everything else with Artest, unravelling his most
recent situation won’t be easy.

Where will Artest end up? The Lakers? The Heat? Or the Mavericks? Get at us in the comment box below with your thoughts and click here to read HoopsVibe The Blog. Photo courtesy of  El J Guapo.