Saturday , Feb , 21 , 2009 C.Y. Ellis

Rockets Were Reportedly Keen to Trade Ron Artest

The Rockets were involved on many fronts and — surprise! — Ron Artest was in the middle. No one in Houston is calling his acquisition regrettable, but the tension in the locker room there is becoming obvious enough to draw knowing snickers from the Kings.

It’s not all Artest, of course. Tracy McGrady told the press he was having season-ending knee surgery before he told the Rockets, prompting a strong public rebuke from Rick Adelman. But Ron-Ron is shooting 39.1 percent as a part-time starter and has taken the second-most three-pointers on the team, and meanwhile Houston is 33-21 and barely hanging on to one of the final playoff spots.

Said one executive, when asked if the Rockets had been trying to trade Artest: "Oh, (heck) yeah. I think when they would call and say, ‘We’ve got expiring contracts,’ he was at the top of the list."