Thursday , Jul , 02 , 2009 Oly Sandor

Artest, not Ariza, positions L.A. Lakers for second NBA Title

Ron Artest is in. Trevor Ariza, it appears, is out. And the strong gets even stronger. The Los Angeles Lakers have made a significant splash in the free agent waters, inking Artest to a short-term deal for slightly above the mid-level exception. The move likely means Ariza, an unrestricted free agent, signs elsewhere …


Artest, not Ariza, positions L.A. Lakers for second NBA TitleBreaking news mixed with analysis … 

Their News: “ESPN The Magazine’s Chris Broussard reports that Artest and the Lakers have reached a verbal agreement on what is believed to be a three-year contract worth an estimated $18 million. Wednesday is the first day free agents are permitted to sign new deals.” ESPN.com 

Our Very Quick Analysis: Ron Artest is in. Trevor Ariza, it appears, is out. And the strong gets even stronger.

The world champion Los Angeles Lakers have made a significant splash in the free agent waters, inking Artest to a short-term deal for slightly above the mid-level exception. The move likely means Ariza, an unrestricted free agent, signs elsewhere.

So, are the Lakers better with Artest instead of Ariza? Simply put, yes. The purple-and-gold is getting an All-Star calibre player at a cap friendly number and term.

When focused, Artest has the versatility to dominate both ends of the court. On defense, his strength frustrates opposing swings. Offensively, he can average 15-20 points on three-pointers, drives, put-backs, and post-ups. And collectively, Kobe Bryant, Derek Fisher, and Phil Jackson will keep ‘Ron-Ron’ on track.

Artest’s inexpensive and short contract gives GM Mitch Kupchak the cap room to work his magic. For instance, the Lakers now have a chance at re-signing super-sub Lamar Odom and back-up table-setter Shannon Brown, while retaining flexibility for future years. Ariza’s reported demands of a bigger-ticket and longer-term would make such moves impossible.

Getting Artest on the cheap positions the Lakers to keep other parts and provides the best chance at defending their NBA Title.

Were the Lakers right to sign Artest and let Ariza walk? Why? Why not? Get at us in the comment box below and return to HoopsVibe the Blog for more NBA tidbits. Photo courtesy of sith120.