Thursday , Jul , 10 , 2008 Christopher Sells

Odom for Artest?

Odom for Artest?There’s a rumor floating around out on the West Coast that the Lakers have contacted the Kings about a possible trade. The trade could involve Lamar Odom relocating to Sacramento while Ron Artest and Kenny Thomas head south to Los Angeles.

Please let this happen.

I want this to go through for my own selfish reasons, but it actually makes sense for both teams. Sacramento would get a player who is multi-skilled, but probably needs the ball in his hands more than he does in Los Angeles. The Lakers would get one of the league’s premier defensive talents in Artest and add some toughness that the team appears to lack.

There are drawbacks for each side, of course. Odom seems to disappear when it matters, while Artest is certifiably crazy and Thomas is probably as overpaid as they come.

But imagine the possibilities. Odom could allow Sacramento to institute a more free flowing offense with his passing skills and ball-handling ability. With an inexperienced Beno Udrih running the show for the Kings, how valuable could a forward who can rebound, push the ball up and hit the open man be? And how great would it be to not have Artest’s ballstopping and general unhappiness out of the locker room and Thomas’ contract off the books?

Artest could check the opposing team’s best perimeter player and not allow them to go nuts in the Finals. He’s even strong enough to log some minutes at the four, if the Lakers want to go small. The triangle offense (and the amount of time that Kobe Bryant spends with the ball in his hands) would minimize his tendency to hold on to the ball for too long. He’s definitely not going to let any oncourt adversity push him towards disappearance. And Phil Jackson has plenty of experience coaching the mentally insane. And, if it doesn’t work out, Artest only has one year left on his contract, meaning you can get rid of him pretty quickly.

I don’t see any reason this shouldn’t go down. Make it happen. Yeah, you’re in the same division and you’d have to face the player(s) you just traded four times a year and maybe more if you meet in the playoffs. But what other choices do you have? Odom will probably not fit too well with Pau Gasol and a presumably healthy Andrew Bynum in the frontcourt. Artest just finished talking about how upset he was about not exercising his opt-out clause a week ago. Clearly, a change of scenery would benefit both players and both teams.