"I think Ron enjoys being in L.A," Phil Jackson said. "I think he likes the Lakers. I think he likes the action. I think he likes the attention we get as a basketball club. I think that feeds into who he is as a person." Artest was admant that he doesn't want to be traded. "I feel good every day," Artest said. "We've got a chance to win multiple championships here...trying to work towards another banner."
HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: He’s out. No. He’s in.
In less than 24 hours there have been conflicting reports on Ron Artest’s future with the two-time defending champion Los Angeles Lakers.
Yesterday, Marc Stein reported that Artest had requested a trade. The ESPN reporter quoted an unnamed source who mentioned that the three-man was tired of being blamed for the team’s struggles and wanted a greater role in the offense.
Today, the Lakers were in damage control mode, with player and team both denying the report.
Forget the rumors. All is not well with the purple-and-gold.
Part of this is boredom. The Lakers have had two especially long seasons, playing from October to the end of June. They’ve also been in some epic game sevens, which probably makes it tough to play the Memphis Grizzlies in January.
Part of this is fear. Everybody else is better –much better. The Miami Heat have the Three Kings in Chris Bosh, LeBron James, and Dwyane Wade; the Boston Celtics are deeper, especially down-low; the San Antonio Spurs’ Big Four dominate both ends of the floor.
The Atlanta Hawks, Chicago Bulls, Dallas Mavericks, Orlando Magic, and Oklahoma City Thunder also have designs on winning a championship.
So ‘three-peating’ won’t be easy. Artest and the Lakers have to focus on the challenge.
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