Thursday , Nov , 05 , 2009 C.Y. Ellis

Ron Artest: I Lost $20 Million by Giving up Bird Rights

“I’ve been blessed to get paid to play basketball,” Artest said. “But 1 percent tells me I wish I could have been somewhere else so I could have exercised my Bird rights. It hurt me a lot, but I still managed to get a good contract — maybe $20 million off — but God is good, and he’s still taking care of my family, so everything is OK.”

Artest he signed a reported five-year deal with Los Angeles for $33 million, which is far lower than the Rockets could have offered him. But the organization chose not to make him an offer, opting to sign Trevor Ariza, a member of the Lakers, instead.

“No, I’m not upset,” he said. “I get to be in Hollywood, play with Kobe (Bryant), Lamar (Odom), Coach (Phil) Jackson — what do I have to be upset about?”

But he continued.

“Business-wise, there were things I wish I would have known (that would have) prevented some situations. Personally, I’m not upset. I’m still in the NBA.”