Ron Artest Will Be A Laker

Kurt —  July 2, 2009

LAKERS VS ROCKETS
Things are about to get even more interesting for the Lakers.

Ron Artest will be a Laker come July 8 (nothing can be finalized until then, just as a caution). And he comes at a very good price — three years of the mid-level exception. Or three for essentially $18 million. Although some suggest it will be the full five years ($32 mil). That is basically what Trevor Ariza would have cost. (Ariza apparently has an offer from Houston.)

This is the definition of a high risk, high reward move. I’ve got a lot of thoughts.

• I have led the “No on Artest” camp in these parts, but now to me the question is can a combination of Kobe and Phil Jackson keep him playing within his role. As has been said, the question is not “could” he fit in the triangle offense but “would” he. I have serious concerns here, but if he just plays balls out defense, intimidates a little, hits threes (in the rhythm of the offense) and posts guys up when mismatched, we will be fine. The question is will he just do that?

• If Phil Jackson can keep him in line, great. What about the next coach?

• He gives us another guy that can post up — Bynum, Gasol, Kobe, Artest, Odom are all big guys who can post up smaller guys, a tough matchup.

• Artest will be great as a perimeter defender on twos and threes. But the Lakers at times used Ariza on PGs, Artest is not that quick. This puts more pressure on Fisher, Farmar and (if they sign him) Brown to be stoppers.

• He can shoot the three — 40% this season, 38% last season. And he will get a lot more open looks now (if he plays within the system).

• I dare you to call the Lakers soft now.

• That is one thing that Artest brings — intimidation. Not just physically, but because you just don’t know what he is going to do at any given moment, and that is scary. And can win you games.

• Will Kobe and Artest have a “who can get the most technicals” competition next season?

• Every game we will get to ask: What has Ron-Ron carved into his hair tonight?

• Does anyone else have the feeling part of the Lakers looking at Artest was not wanting to deal with the public negotiations of Ariza agent David Lee? They put up with him in the Bynum case because there were no other options — young guys with Bynum’s potential are rare. But quality swingmen who want to be on a contender are more common. Lee tried to get the most for his client, but he negotiates in a very public way and the Lakers are a very private team (in terms of front office dealings).

• I feel bad for Ariza — although I’m not sure if he feels bad. I get that this was his first big kick at the can and he wanted to get paid. But once Portland signs Hedo, the only team that can offer him more than the MLE is Toronto, and they’d have to waive the rights to Marion to do it. The market is set for Ariza, and he may even have trouble getting the full MLE now as teams don’t think they have competition. And he has to leave LA, his hometown. I’m not sure how he feels, but a part of him has to be sad. And I feel for him, we really grew to love him as a player.

Kurt

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339 responses to Ron Artest Will Be A Laker

  1. this will be interesting…

  2. This is a high risk, high reward move. The Lakers could be super-scary good with Artest. On the other hand, when you’re the defending champs and a favorite for the upcoming season, is high risk-high reward the optimal strategy?

    Whatever the case, things got very interesting very quickly.

  3. this is either gonna be very good, or really bad…

  4. My preference would have been to keep Ariza, but there is no denying that if Artest stays within the system, this improves the Lakers, at least for the next couple of years.

    There was also the question of whether Ariza would continue to improve, and/or if he was the beneficiary of an inflated perception of his value because he got hot during the playoffs.

  5. They should sign Ariza and start him in the backcourt with Kobe. Ariza can guard points the way Ron Harper did for the Bulls. We would have the top defense in the league no question

  6. Artest at 6 if Ariza really was going to hold out for 8 is a fantastic price, that’s absolutely true. I guess I just assumed Ariza would cave and play for near-equal money, like 6 to start just to pay his agent’s fee. :(

    Kurt, I assume this means Artest starts and Odom still plays the 6th man role… we can afford to re-up a 6th man for 9mil+ a year, right? We still need Odom to not take a step back, at least in terms of league perception.

    Hey Ron: you’re a frog on a lily pad.

  7. For all of Artest’s shortcomings, he’s a pretty versatile player who can play many positions, which gives the Lakers tons of options. Also, while TA did a wonderful job in the playoffs, perhaps the Lakers envisioned having to beat the Celtics (SF = Pierce), Nuggets (SF = Anthony) or the Cavs (SF = LBJ), so maybe this was a move to get a physical SF who could handle this future road to the championship.

    I for one loved TA, and will be sad to see him leave. Maybe he’ll end up in Portland or in some other barren land, but at least he got his one championship.

  8. I think everyone should calm down a bit.

    I’m reading these comments like everything is a done deal. I think there still a lot of negotiating going one.

    Let’s all hold our horses and see what happens before we start wishing Trevor well and saying good-bye.

  9. Please Ron-Ron, for the love of God, let Kobe close out the games. I’ve witnessed you jack up miss after miss down the stretch.

    You are a great passer, defender and shooter, but let Kobe close out the games.

  10. It’s a versatile move in that Artest could maybe play some 4, in foul trouble situations or when matchups demand it. It’s also insurance in case Odom can’t be signed.

  11. “I dare you to call the Lakers soft now”. this is the only thing I’ve heard ’til now that made me feel a little bit better. here’s hoping that the positive side of ron-ron’s aggression rubs off on the others in practice.

  12. david lee is an ass…enough said. poor t.a., he was influenced poorly by lee and now he’ll bear the brunt of the circumstances……artest will provide a couple of important things: he’ll be able to get his own shot when kobe is resting, a plus. he’ll also be a bit bigger body to bang against the bigger bodied threes in the league, i.e. melo, lebron.

  13. I think it’s a done deal. I suspect they had this Artest deal in their back pocket and when Ariza’s agent basically spit on the Lakers MLE deal by going public and saying Ariza would play for the MLE on another team, the Lakers went straight to plan B.

    Ariza’s agent DEFINITELY overplayed his hand on this one now Ariza’s market value has basically collasped.

  14. sorry kurt but I dont really feel sorry for Ariza, obviously we dont know the entire situation and I might be wrong but it appears that Ariza got ideas above his station (pushed by his agent no doubt), got greedy and somewhat disrespected the role the lakers have in resurecting his career, I cant believe that managment had artest over ariza from the start

  15. My sentiments exactly, Kurt.

    Can Kobe cover quick PGs as adequately as TA did? If so, we haven’t lost much in terms of defense, either.

    And, we may have finally found the enforcer that we longed for, even when we believed that we weren’t soft. Hard to picture him as an enforcer, but maybe we can sell the role to Artest.

    As for coach after Phil, I don’t think there’s gonna be much of a problem there since Kobe will be around. Artest was okay with him being 3rd after T-mac and Yao, so I don’t think he’ll have a problem with placing Kobe and Pau in front of him, though I am not sure if he will try to be the 3rd or won’t mind being the 4th or 5th after Bynum and Odom.

    Just for fun, having Walton start and having Odom and Artest come off the bench may give us an interesting 2nd unit. If only to apply 48 minutes of pressure to the SG or SF of the other team.

  16. Interesting note from the amazing Tom Ziller of Sactownroyalty — Artest’s biggest clashes came with players he didn’t think worked hard enough (Bibby). At least that will not be a big problem in LA.

  17. “The Los Angeles Lakers never offered Trevor a contract,” Lee said. “Their response was, ‘Go out and find what someone else will pay you and then come back to us.’ I don’t think he felt appreciated.”

    Sry if already posted.

  18. ariza’s fault…he handled these negotiations horribly…good riddance…he’ll regret this forever…that punk should have been offering to shine mitch’s shoes…

  19. Echoing #8, wondahap, I wonder how much of this is a negotiating ploy on the Lakers part to put pressure on Ariza and Lee.

    Lee has to know the market is set now. What if Lakers have left their offer on the table and told Ariza its still there if he wants it.

    Ariza might do what Bynum did last year and tell Lee to cut the bs and get the deal done. Lakers then take Ron’s deal off the table. Heck Lakers might even tell Ariza that they’ll bump it from the opening 5.6 to 6/yr for a few years with player options. That might sweeten the pot enough.

    I cannot express how much I dislike this move if it happens. This is definitely a high risk, high reward move and I too am not sure it’s the right thing for a defending champ.

    This is one case where I’d love to be proven wrong and see a few more rings come because of this move.

  20. Ariza like most of you have said has nowhere else to go… the Lakers should bring back Ariza and play him in the backcourt with Kobe. This should be a no brainer for the Lakers and for Ariza.

  21. Kevin Pelton gets at my concerns about Ron-Ron disrupting the offensive flow:

    Last year, Ariza used 16.7 percent of the Lakers’ possessions while on the floor. Artest used 24.7 percent of Houston’s possessions, and has been over 23 percent every year since 2002-03.

  22. Well that was faster than I expected. I was really ready for about a week of David Lee b***s*** before Trevor signed for about what we would appear to be getting Artest for.

    I’m ambivalent.

    I really liked having Ariza – the journeyman cast-off making good with his hometown team. RonRon…I just hope that the talk from experts that if he’s the 3rd banana he won’t hurt you is true. It would be great to see him rebuild his legacy in Purple & Gold, but I preferred the idea of Ariza.

    That being said, Ariza and Lee chose their path, and what’s done is done. I wish Trevor well in his future endeavors so long as he isn’t playing against the Lakers.

    I do hold out hope that this means that we’re working steadily towards retaining LO, who I have pegged as more critical to retain than Ariza due to his rarer combination of skills/talents and his willingness to sacrifice his game to the needs of the team (even if that is sometimes to a fault).

  23. Warren Wee Lim July 2, 2009 at 6:00 pm

    • I dare you to call the Lakers soft now.

    L M F A O. :lol:

  24. And I know people on this site fall in love with Lakers players because they are “ours.” But trust me guys… Artest is a better player than Ariza and a better one on one defender against SF’s but not against guards. Ariza though is a better team defender at this point in Ron’s career. Ariza was left wide open the entire playoffs… Artest won’t be.. this will open things up for our other offensive options.

  25. The Lakers are not bringing Ariza back too, nor are they making another signing outside Odom. This was in part a money decision, they are not going to compound it.

    Houston made a contract offer to Ariza today. He and Artest are basically going to be traded for each other.

  26. Hey, VoR,
    Happy now?!

  27. I will be curious (and scared) to see where Trevor will end up now that the MLE seems to be his max salary. If it’s a Yao-less Houston, I think I can deal. If it’s the Spurs, Nuggets, or Cavs, I hope he doesn’t come back and bite us in the butt in the playoffs.

  28. Bynum
    Gasol
    Artest
    Bryant
    Fisher

    Regardless of how Crazy Pills fits into the offense, that lineup is downright frightening on D. Wow.

  29. We just won a championship, doesn’t seem smart to be taking “high risk, high reward” kind of moves

  30. This is yet another great move by Kupchak. He is getting a better player in Artest at a great price. Three years at 18 millions is fantastic. While I loved watching Ariza play this year, he simply does not have the skill level of a Ron Artest. i know he still carries the baggage from his years with Indiana, but that has been behind him for quite some time now. Although they show it in very different ways, he and Kobe have the same kind of desire and drive to win/destroy the competition.
    I see no problems with him fitting in on this team. Now just re-sign Odom and say hello to another great year.

    Also, is there any thought to LA trying to get a guy like Ramon Sessions?

  31. I’m also hoping that Ariza was Rockets’ plan B because they couldn’t sign Artest for Ariza’s price.

    I’d be worried more about this trade if Houston let Artest go due to some secret stat stuff that only they are privvy to has convinced them that Artest was a liability while Ariza was not.

  32. Cookie Monster July 2, 2009 at 6:06 pm

    One other thing- and I am optimistic and truly thinking Artest WILL work out, is that at the midlevel, if he DOESN’T work out for maybe personal reasons, or just plain slump reasons, his contract allows the Lakers to work with heavy loads such as Sasha’s 5 mil and Luke’s 5 mil, to move in a package to get someone good.

  33. 81 Witness- Glad to see you around. you defintley saw a lot of Ron when he was in Sac-town. Provided he brings good Ron (strong on-ball defense and 40% 3pt spot-up shooting) do you like the move, or do you have no faith he can fit within the system?

  34. This is amazing! Now if we could trade farmar and morrison for J Kidd hahaa

  35. Chris Broussard of espn on this move… “The Lakers had to let Ariza go because lets face it… Artest is a better player. The lakers will now have the best permiter defensive tandom in the league with Artest and Kobe and they will be backed by 2 athletic 7 footers… to be honest…. it doens’t even seem fair. They were already going to be favored to repeat as champs and now it just seems a lock.”

  36. We had to make a bold move. Even though we won the ring – all other contenders got better with FA’s. I’m glad that Mitch did the proactive thing and not just sit by and watch others improve. In this league – can’t just rest on your laurels – every team is gunning for you.

    David Lee is a friggin tool!!! He could have easily convinced TA to take the money and stay with the Lakers. He gave bad advice and now TA is heading out of town.

    Even if this doesn’t work out – at least we will finally put the RonRon argument to rest. We will get the chance to see if he is worth the risk. I am 100% behind this move!!!!

  37. We can give opposing 3s different looks now. Kobe can deny, Artest can bang.

    While our 7 footers, especially after Bynum gets his mobility back, can show up and disrupt.

    Still a hole in the PG position, but if Brown becomes more reliable…

  38. Trevor has been a delight to watch bloom. One f my favorite players these two seasons. However his public negotiating face (even if it’s a creation of his agent) is a real turn-off…

    I have not been on the No on Ron wagon, though I certainly agree there could be a horrible downside. But I think if he can’t succeed in LA with a top banana and a coach he respects, then he will never succeed anywhere.

    Also the crazy pills show may take a bit of pressure off what otherwise would be the “Why Isnt Bynum Developing Fast Enough” storyline?

    Let’s talk scouting. Ron is clearly strong and reasonably fast on D. He can hit from 3, but I can’t tell how reliable he is as a spot up shooter since most of the threes I saw him take were contested and off the dribble. I remember him as an adequate passer and screener. He can post up, but again some bad shots billing through help. If he is given a clear role in the system and will follow it, there is huge upside. I have no sense for his IQ and how he’ll pick up the tri. I’ll look forward to others filling in the gaps.

    But as I said before, seeing how he blooms or destructs under Phil would just be great basketball drama. I’m pretty excited to see it happen.

  39. Kurt, aside from signing Odom they have to make Shannon Brown and offer.

  40. The best part of this deal is that a second unit of Bynum/Odom/Ron/Sasha/Jordan will really allow Kobe and Pau to rest during the season. Artest can be a featured scorer on the second unit, allowing Odom to initiate and Bynum to work the inside. I think our bench will be better because of this deal.

  41. Stuck In Alabama July 2, 2009 at 6:17 pm

    I was never a huge ron artest fan, and i did grow quite fond of ariza this past season, but i have to say this is a great move. Im sure you all remember the clutch playoff performer of last year (Sasha), being awarded with a 5 mil a year deal, and then promptly disappearing all season long. i do suspect some of what we got from trevor was the same. There’s no way to tell for sure. With Artest, you know what you are getting, and i think thats what it comes down to; taking the known for cheaper instead of the unknown. In this sense it could even be considered a LESS risky move.

  42. I want David Lee to slither into Mitch’s office and beg for a sign-and-trade so his client doesn’t have to settle for the mid-level.

    Well played, Mitch. Well played.

  43. I too, kinda feel ‘bad’ for Trevor (as much as I can for any multimillionaire!) He and his agent overplayed their hand, and his worth. I was looking forward to watching Trevor grow, and will miss that (although as someone else said, there is the possibility that Trevor will regress back to the mean in his 3pt shooting as opposing teams take him more and more into account in their defensive schemes).

    From a skills standpoint Artest is an upgrade over Trevor and is certainly a better defensive matchup against the likes of Pierce and LBJ.

    The only questions are his mental state and how does he fit in intangibly with this team. I think alot of people overstate his potential problems, much like people did with Marbury and the Celts (his problem there was that he physically stunk).

    Isn’t there a saying about winning being a cure for all troubles? I think the liklihood of Artest fitting in with the Lakers are relatively good. Not only are the Lakers going to win alot, but they’re a tradition-laden team with players who, more importantly, just won titles. I think players like Artest here (or Marbury in Boston) are just not as likely to cause problems in these situations as they would be on other teams.

  44. I’ve been sided with Kurt in the “No on Artest” camp ever since his name as a potential Laker started getting mention.

    But if this deal goes through, I’ll be optimistic about it. I think Artest will cherish this opportunity and respect the pecking order of this great team. In Houston, he took over (and muffed everything up) at the end of games not just because he’s Artest and he wants to take over, but also because Houston didn’t have anyone to step in front of him. As great an option as Yao is, he was often tired at the end of games and not demanding enough to get Ron-Ron’s attention. I don’t think it will be a problem in LA, where the hierarchy will be known from the get-go. And if it becomes a problem, well, Kobe has shown he’s not afraid to get in Ron’s ear.

  45. You know what scares the ever loving sh** out of me? Trevor Ariza being provided the same defensive statistical information that is fed to Shane Battier.

  46. While it would have been preferable to have Ariza, in order to guarantee his services, seems like it would have cost up to 6.5 to 7mm to keep him, and it would have the lakers committed for 5 full years.

    So to compare:
    Ariza = 7mm for 5yrs = 35mm.
    vs.
    Artest = 5.6mm for 3yrs = 18mm

    If you make the worst case assumption that Lakers pay luxury tax every year, then Lakers at least save 3mm a year for the first 3 years (9mm). And have cap flexibility 3 years from now.

    Seems like Lakers got an upgrade in talent, downgrade of character, at least with a net savings of 9mm over 3 years. I would take it.

    (note: this comment was in the last posting)

  47. Exhelo – I simply said I was intrigued – not that I was dying for this move. :-)

    And yes, I am intrigued (been smiling all afternoon)- provided LO comes back! If this is a move instead of LO – then I think it is dumb. Just to be clear.

    How can this not make for an interesting year, though? Could be PJ’s best coaching job ever – it could just push him over the edge.

    Most reports I have heard say that RA is considered a good teammate – justs a bit loopy. Do others have insight on this?

  48. 24. If thats true this is a sign and trade and we didn’t use our MLE. Hell thats even better news, than the pick up of Artest.

  49. Umm… is this really Ron’s twitter? http://twitter.com/Real_Ron_Artest?

    Yo, I’m out to celebrate. Going to Jack Nicholson’s house. Gonna bust his door down with an axe and say ‘HERE’S RONNIEEEEE!!”

    …I’m nervous.

  50. The Dude Abides July 2, 2009 at 6:25 pm

    Oww…that sound you just heard was VoR slapping me upside the head. This aggression will not stand!

  51. *If* this works (by works, it obviously means another championship), what kind of props should Mitch get?

    I have some faith in him and his evaluation of talent, and if he decided on this, I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt.

    We all have to remember, Ariza was like a blitz from our side, something that may or may not work again this season when every team knows and can add a wrinkle for Ariza. This is not to say he will regress to the mean, it’s just important to remember that his success (at least on offense) could’ve been due to many reasons.

    So Mitch probably figured, after seeing Ariza and while pleased with his growth, that he won’t be as effective as he was this year. In a way, what we might have done is send the league another blow to their psyche: you can’t outtrade or outtalent the Lakers.

    If we can get Odom and Brown back, everyone in the league will constantly doubt whether the trades / acquisitions they made will be enough.

  52. Hopefully, Shannon Brown and Lamar Odom return to the Lakers. That’s pretty much it for the Lakers off-season. They may opt not to bring back Sun Yue. Or they could bring in a player deemed a project to see if they can develop him. Maybe a player like Tony Gaffney fits the bill?

  53. 33. I posted that same sentiment 2or 3 days ago about being proactive and not reactive. I think we just became the hunter and not the hunted, with this move. AMEN!

  54. Stuck In Alabama July 2, 2009 at 6:28 pm

    Ahahaha classic Shining reference. I’m stoked for next season, hurry up and start!

  55. So what book does PJ give Artest to read?

  56. better to have TA sign w/ a nonconteder like houston than a team where he can have a man-on-fire type vendetta like the cavs.

    best thing would be for kupchak to convince LO to take less money ($10m/yr is too much), and also sign TA.

    lakers still don’t have anyone who can guard the quick points.

  57. The Dude Abides July 2, 2009 at 6:29 pm

    One thing I’ll miss is seeing how the potential lockdown lineup of Kobe, Trevor, Lamar, Pau, and Drew would have fared the last five or six minutes of the 4th quarter (and the last three minutes of the 2nd, number of fouls permitting).

  58. I agree with Kurt that this deal was the Lakers sticking it to Lee, and probably calling his bluff while they were at it. I’m sad to see Ariza go (partially because it ruins the UCLA power on the team) but I have faith in Phil’s ability to keep Crazy Pills from living up to his name.

    In terms having a quick defender, I think this solidifies Shannon coming back. I really believe that Shannon is going to blossom in this system. Also, resigning Odom now is an absolute must.

    I’m still not fully sold on Artest, but I have faith in Mitch. He has developed into one of the best executives in the league, imo, and I trust his judgment more than my own.

  59. I love this deal. Ron is simply the better player and with Kobe around, there will be no problems. Remember how tough it was for the Lakers to get out of the West and that was dodging Dallas, Portland, and SA. With the teams in the west looking to improve, you cant stand pat.

    If team returned in tact ie Ariza and Odom etc coming back, the talk would be about how the other western teams improved while the Lakers did well to keep what they had. Now with Artest, the talk will be even more so what the other teams need to do to catch the Lakers.

    Great job Mitch!!

  60. 51. That is not his real twitter account. That is a fake one. This is:

    http://twitter.com/96TruwarierQB

    Again, I hope I am wrong all of you saying Artest is a better player than Ariza, but I think Ariza was a better fit. The Laker offense is predicated on ball movement and player movement, and Artest has long had sticky hands and loves iso. Like I said, I hope I am wrong.

  61. Put me in the bummed camp. All of the logic is what it is and hard to argue against, but TA was such a nice part of the Lakers chemistry during the run to the championship, and it’s debatable if the team needs another alpha dog, as it’s conquered the toughness demons.

    Maybe too many (bad) memories of how much of a lock the Shaq-Kobe Lakers were when Malone and Payton signed on (albeit Artist has a LOT more gas in the tank), but chemistry is hard to create and harder to maintain.

    TA, we loved ya man!

    Mark

  62. Wow. A year ago I really thought the Lakers would’ve beaten Boston with Artest and tempered my desire to see him in a Lakers uni by the cautionary and educated posts of Kurt and the gang. Now that he’s here I am completely bummed about losing Ariza. Really don’t know what to say.

    I hope Ron-Ron’s got a lot left in the tank. Maybe the fact that Lamar Odom’s his lifelong friend will help keep his chucking in check.

  63. Thanks, Kurt. I was about ready to call my parents and tell them to flee the city. Major relief.

  64. We still have our MLE available to sign a point, if this deal is a sign and trade. Plus we still got Ammo expiring contract to address needs in the future if need be. This deal just made us one the nasties teams in the league, not only could we average 105 points a game with this new lineup, we could hold you to 95. SHAQ HOW ARTEST A## TASTE.

  65. I think there’s another strategic aspect to the Artest signing: we could not let any of the other Big 5 teams (CLE, BOS, ORL, SA) wind up with Artest, since that might have elevated them above us, talent-wise.

    Conversely, I’m not so worried about Ariza on those teams, because I don’t think Trevor has as much value as Ron outside the Laker system. And the beauty of poaching Artest from Houston is that the Rockets are now the team most likely to sign Ariza, so the balance of power remains unchanged with us still at the top.

  66. With Artest you get a great perimeter defender, a tough as nails guy, so that you don’t have to rely on your point guard to be an intimidator. Ron Artest will get open 3′s and will knock them down. Artest wants to win a Ring and enjoy the fruits of being on a Championship Team.

  67. The thing that I hope for is that Artest won’t have to feel the need to score with Pau, Kobe, and even Bynum on the floor. That way he won’t be a “black hole on offense”. Whenever he’s on the other side, I actually wished they give the ball to him just so he can screw up or at least disrupt his team’s own offensive scheme. As an optimist, I hope that he’ll play within the system, make solid basketball moves, and hound everyone on defense.

    What made Ariza work was that he was a perfect compliment. He didn’t need the ball, he took shots when open/available, and knwe that his primary role is just to play defense. I hope Artest will keep that same mentality.

  68. laker fan in raptorland July 2, 2009 at 6:37 pm

    I could just imagine if/when this deal goes through when the Lakers face the Rockets — who will Ariza guard, Kobe or Artest?

    I’d bet Trevor will be thinking “I should have stayed home in LA!!!”

  69. from an email I wrote to Kurt and co.

    Frankly, if this report is true and we do get Artest, I won’t be bitterly disappointed. Yes, it would have been nice to retain Trevor, but Artest gives us a lot of, to quote Jay Bilas, “upside potential.” If Artest buys into the offense, (and that’s a huge if), plays his game, takes three-pointers with his feet set after zero dribbles, plays solid defense, and bulls his way to the hoop when he’s on with the 2nd unit, this will work out magically. As I said before, on paper, Artest has every skill we would ever want in a small forward; he can shoot the three (at least when he isn’t on the move or dribbling away our lifespans), he can play tough defense, and he can body up to Lebron James, Carmelo Anthony, and the like. However, there is a strong possibility that this could be a Texas-sized disaster. These are the times when I’m thankful we have strong leaders and strong personalities like Kobe and Fisher, because without them, there would be no chance of reigning Artest in. Yet, Artest has a way of destroying chemistry, both off the court and on it, so Artest represents a huge risk to our championship form. If Artest can play within our game, we will be unstoppable. But then again, this feels a lot like juggling fireworks: It may explode in the air, make a great big boom, with flashy colors and patterns, making everyone ooo and ahh, but it could also explode in your face.

  70. wow… i hope TA drops his agent after this gaffe. seriously, this David Lee character is a joke.

    how did he get his tentacles on two of our key players from last year in the first place?

  71. So maybe the idea of Trevor being insulted by the Lakers offer wasn’t so far fetched after all.

    I still think it’s crazy that he was so insulted by their offer, that he took the exact same offer elsewhere.

    Regarding the assertion that the Lakers front office didn’t make an offer to Trevor, I remember that they clearly offered a contract worth the Midlevel Exception. So obviously they did offer something, which Trevor – it seems – will end up accepting, just with a different club.

  72. The concerns I have with Artest is will he be content with being a spot up jump shooter, and cutter to the rim? Because with Pau, and Kobe, thats all that is really needed from him on the offensive end. He will have a bigger role with the second unit. But it could work out. I garee its a high risk high reward move. But thats an odd move to make after you win a championship.

    Kurt you forgot Luke being able to post smaller players. He is actually a good post player, but at SF and sometimes PF he is playing against people his own size or bigger. But as we saw in the finals when Lee was on him. he will punish smaller players in the post.

  73. 15. I like the idea of Artest being a go-to scorer with the 2nd unit!

    If I’m not mistaken, Cook + Mo Evans basically turned out to be 2009 Championship and Artest. And if Kurt is right and this a sign and trade, thereby preserving our MLE, not a bad trade at all.

    I don’t know how much credence there to the notion that the FO signed Artest just to spite a nasty agent (David Lee) over a player. I believe if the FO was truly enamored by TA and believed they had to sign him at all costs, that this would have been evidenced by waiting a little bit more.

  74. Ariza :(

  75. Has it been confirm that its a sign and trade?

  76. 77. Not a sign-and-trade. The Lakers get Artest as a free agent, Houston is the likely suitor for Ariza as a free agent. For the same money. Weird, but what it is.

  77. 62.

    That was my thought completely…I remember we thought once we signed Malone and GP we were going to destroy everyone and we know how that turned out (I know there were other factors, yet still…an embarrassment of riches doesn’t lead to the promised land).

    I agree that Ariza’s agents play was one factor. I think Sasha’s deal and subsequent drop off was another.

    I think Ron has the passion and desire to want to prove himself but I worry about him disrupting the chemistry. Again as with others if he can find his place in the system, then we will be okay.

    But I liked Trevor’s earnestness and acceptance of his role in the system, and I hope that Ron can have a seamless transition.

    I don’t know if this means that LO is definitely coming back (we said that about Trevor). Are we going to get a real back up SG or resign Brown? Because if Sasha is our only SG other than Kobe…

    I think Kobe is going to have to go back to guarding the opposing teams “quick smalls” with Ariza gone.

    Finally I doubt it will happen but regardless of LO and Brown, I wouldn’t have a problem moving Sasha, Farmar, Walton or Ammo, though I don’t know what we could get for any of them. But I think we have some backcourt depth issues we need to address.

  78. Over the course of his career, Artest has been used to taking about 14-16 shots a night. Last season Ariza’s FGA per game was 7.3, and that was with Bynum missing half the season. Between Bynum playing a more prominent role in the offense and Artest coming in board, Phil is going to have his work cut out divvying up shots and touches. Even if you want to fit in, it’s not easy going from a ball-dominating #1 or #2 option to a role player. I have serious questions about how well TruWarier can make that transition, but we’ll see.

  79. do you think the nba will make a “I remember” commercial for this signing?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T6TnilbMphA

    I think I just busted a gut laughing thinking about that. I remember finding out about you [, Ron]…

  80. Just read that Ariza made verbal agreement with Rockets. That’s great cause at least he’s not going to one of the major competitors where he could come back to hurt the Lakers. Maybe the Lakers can resign him 5yrs down the road when he hit his prime.

  81. 78. I thought so. Several commentors were implying that the Lakers had a sign-and-trade with the Rockets for Artest, with the Lakers keeping their MLE.

  82. Oh man, I really am going to miss Trev a lot

  83. After the championship, I thought for sure there was no way Trevor would be leaving…

  84. Is there any chance this becomes a sign-and-trade rather than signing each others’ FAs outright?

    Random thoughts:

    Artest is more of a presence in the post, while Ariza is a slasher, which makes me think Ariza is a better fit offensively. They both shoot the 3 well, and I guess they’ll have Artest spotting up for 3s when Kobe’s in. However, putting Artest in Kobe’s spots offensively while Kobe rests might be effective. Kobe getting rest will be key next year.

    I will miss Ariza’s dunks.

    It’s very hard to repeat in today’s NBA. Injuries, strategies, matchups, off-season acquisitions. I think champions need to make some smart but gutsy moves to repeat. Here’s hoping this works…

  85. LO might take an extra discount now to stay in LA and play with his boy RonRon – I’d be surprised if that’s not part of Kupchak’s thinking. I like the move and hope Artest will relish the 3rd banana role like Rodman did with the Bulls…

  86. We are getting the player in Artest that many wanted to trade for 3 years ago. And the best part is we also get to keep Bynum and Odom, and Kwame Brown got us Pau Gasol. Who would have thought.

  87. Two years ago I deemed Ronny Turiaf my favorite player (not named Kobe) and last year it was Ariza… Should I make Sasha my fav this next year?

    Although I will be sad to see Ariza go, this may work out well for us in the end. Ariza has had a history of foot problems and all year that was in the back of my mind every time he made an akward drive through the lane. This could have been his one great/non-injury year. With Artest (and Kobe) we have the best answer for Lebron in the league. I think this move is directed towards winning in the Finals, and I’m all good with that.

  88. TruWarriorLosAngeles July 2, 2009 at 7:11 pm

    For all the people that feel bad for Trevor Ariza, I do too…but if he really wanted to stay a Laker he would’ve switched agents. Now he’s going to Houston for exactly what the Lakers offered, even though that asshole Lee called the same offer from Kupchak “insulting”.

    Artest on the Lakers is a coup…this is like the Pau Gasol trade part 2. Ariza was great at playing the passing lanes, but he couldn’t shut down guys like LeDouche, Melo, Paul Pierce, etc. Artest can do that, and he’ll make those guys miserable when he guards them. He loves LA and will know his role playing under Phil Jackson, with Kobe, Gasol, Odom, Fish, et al, and with the championship so close he can taste it. Laker fans be excited…the best team in the league just got A LOT better

  89. Im curious if you sign someone with your MLE can you package it together with another contract on the team, for a player on another team. Im still obsessed with K Hinrich. If we sign and traded with Chitown, I would think Christmas came early this year.

  90. I’m really sad to see Ariza go. Like Kurt and others I thought he was/is a better fit. We lose some speed and athleticism to be sure. I’ve been watching video from the finals run over the past few days and it’s now going to be a little bittersweet to see TA doing his thing.

    But no doubt Artest will help defensively against Denver, Cleveland and Boston. And I expect that when Ron gets those sticky fingers while overdribbing and forcing shots PJ will be quick to insert Luke who will be sure to keep the ball moving.

    I sure hope we get news on Odom resigning pronto. LO will be another important person to keep RA from combusting.

  91. I don’t know whether Trevor or his agent decided to roll the dice on going for the most money, but I can understand it and I hope Trevor gets it.

    Another difference between Trevor and Ron Ron is that Ron has already gotten his paydays, his big contracts, and Trevor hasn’t. Same for LO. It’s easier for those guys to take a paycut. If Trevor can get some one to overpay, he should go for it. He may not get another chance.

    Last year, Ronny left for a $17mil/4 year contract to the Warriors. As much I liked Ronny’s passion, he wasn’t worth that much and as much he seemed to love playing for the Lakers, he would have been a idiot to turn down that contract. We ended getting Josh Powell and DJ less than half of Ronny’s contract with arguably better performance.

    I’m have concerns about Artest fitting in and I think Ariza has some upside, but I’m not sure he will become the player that Artest is.

    I think Trevor’s agent could have accomplished the same result without being such an a$$, but you play with fire and sometimes you get burned.

  92. Cuh-ray-zee. It’s almost as if Mitch and the organization sold high on Trevor. He’s the James Posey of this year’s free agent class – the right swing man in the right system and about to be (slightly) overvalued.

    So while everyone is chasing after Trevor and Hedo, Mitch snuck in through the backdoor and got someone more talented than both swingmen.

    I love Ariza. Love UCLA. Love how he got better as the season and the playoffs went along. I hope that the playoffs were his coming out party and not his ceiling. But Artest….

    come on. I’m as big an Artest fan as anybody, and even I’ll admit that he takes a good amount of ill advised shots. But for those who are worried (Kelly Dwy included), he’s about to be a LEGITIMATE THIRD option. With Phil and Kobe to help rein him in. With an offensive system and organization, in general, that will hold him accountable for his play. Granted, there will be a number of occassions where he will chuck up a shot that need not be chucked, but I’m more than optimistic that he brings nothing but positive-ness to this team. Defensive-wise, offensive-wise, toughness-wise (as Kurt mentioned), comedy-wise, GOOD THINGS.

    As has been glossed over a bit in the preceding comments, all the other contenders are getting stronger. Staying the same (bringing back Ariza and Odom) would be equivalent to taking a step back. And as Kurt mentioned (again), we shored up the biggest potential weakness of our team – weaker than the PG slot IMO – guarding physical, small forwards. Because when it comes down to it, if we make the Finals next year and in the future, we’re more than likely facing Lebron or Pierce. We lucked out in this year’s finals, but for the future we needed someone more physical than Ariza at the 3.

    Ecstatic.

  93. What Kurt said.

    Plus, I hate seeing the Lakers swap a 23 year old for a 30 year old.

  94. Artest will be 30 in November. He can still play if he works hard in the offseason. The more I think about it, the more I like this deal. It will be an upgrade in the short term. Even if Ariza is going to have better potential in the long term, our championship window is now. The chances that Artest hurts this team with spotty play are near the same chances that Ariza’s play diminishes. At least we know what we’re going to get with Artest.

  95. Wow I’m torn. I’m hesitantly optimistic, but I agree with Kurt – Artest could destroy our offensive flow. Our success as a team will hinge on if Phil and Kobe can rein in his tendency to iso. That stat by Kevin Pelton is a great one, if Artest can stay around 17% (Ariza numbers), then I like this move. As a pure spot up shooter, I think Artest can convert at a higher rate than Ariza, honestly. It’ll be up to the coaching staff to get him to take the right threes.

    Remember the concern/complaint that we didn’t have a defender to handle the bigger, stronger wings in the league? Well, that’s out the window. But Kurt nailed it – we’ve lost the fleet-footed wing we can put on quick PGs (excluding Kobe). As fans there’s always something to pine for, but I guess we traded one type of defensive wing (great help defender, rangy, plays the passing lanes) for another (physical, intimidating).

    I do remember in the Houston series not being intimidated by Artest in the slightest. I remember a lot of us noted that he’s lost a lot of quickness, and Kobe took him off the drive at will.

    So I guess I’m not ecstatic, but this could work. Most of us would prefer Ariza, because we’re familiar with him. And he’s younger (although less proven – what if his shooting goes cold?)

    I have to admit, I’m having a hard time imagining Ron Artest playing in the triangle offense. And actually running it.

  96. -Mitch has hopefully learned the lesson of his previous bad signings: don’t overestimate your own players, especially in a system as distinctive as the triangle. The Lakers made it clear they wouldn’t sign Ariza for more simply because he was their free agent. I, like so many others, loved watching Ariza. But his playoff performance inflated his value.

    -Artest is a significant upgrade. I always felt Ariza’s defense was a bit overrated (for instance, Anthony abused him). Ron will help us against the bigger perimeter players like Anthony and James, reducing the minutes Kobe plays against them, and thus saving him from the wear and tear.

    -As I speculated in a previous post, my guess is that Phil pushed for this (or at least signed off with a strong endorsement). Phil made his admiration for Artest clear during the series with the Rockets and I’m sure he’s intrigued by the versatility and volatility of Artest. He can play multiple positions and can handle the ball really well. The Lakers now have two point-forwards. Phil may have been attracted to this new challenge. He’s had success with this personality type before. And with the lure of passing Red behind him, Phil may have wished for a new motivation.

    -The one threat Artest poses is his penchant for ill-timed outbursts. I’m not really concerned about his effect on ‘chemistry’. Many have said he’s a good teammate. Ron’s biggest drawbacks as a player were his tendencies to force shots and overdribble. I think these will be mitigated for the most part because he won’t handle the ball as much on the Lakers and there’s a clear last-shot (or late in the shot clock) player already in place. The outbursts may still come but I’ll happily take the chance that Phil and Kobe can keep him in line. If they do, this team is really scary (if we bring back Odom).

    -We must bring back Odom. Make it three years and averaging eight or nine. Barring a lockout or major injury, the Lakers have to be considered the favorites for the next three years and Kobe’s opportunity to pass Michael becomes a legitimate possibility.

    -Any way the Lakers and the Rockets decide to do a sign and trade so both can keep their MLE’s? Wouldn’t the Lakers love to do this, especially considering that even though it would help the Rockets, there’s no way they’re title contenders next year?

    -Good luck to Trevor. Houston seems like a good place to develop and I wish him the best. I also hope he changes agents. What a disappointing end to his time here…

  97. Maybe everybody will calm down about this when they read the link on 93. Both Kobe and Artest respect one another, as well as mutual respect from PJ. Thats what it is about, and RonRons image. When he was in Sactown he respected no one on the team, that can be said about the Houston roster in the playoffs. With respect comes humbleness, you can bet your last dollar that RonRon will give 110% on this squad.

  98. I, for one, am super stoked to get Artest.

    Intimidating, imposing and just plain competitive.

    I love Ariza, but he hasn’t stayed healthy for more than two seasons. Artest is a proven commodity.

    Starting lineup of Bynum, Pau, Ariza, Kobe, Fish? Sounds like a championship team to me.

  99. Ariza made a verbal agreement with Houston reportedly 5 years for 33 million

  100. This also makes keeping Farmar more imperative. As bad as he’s played, he does well against speedy PGs like Brooks and Parker.

    Ron Artest had a problem with teammates not working hard enough? The guy who wanted to take time off to promote his rap album? On a side note, anyone worried by how many music opportunities there are in LA?

  101. L.A. is going to love Artest. Nut job and a hard worker, just like the one we have in Dodger stadium.

    If Artest really came to win, he would know better than to play outside the system.

  102. Anyone read Hollinger’s article (I don’t have Insider)? Just wondering what he thinks of the move, his numbers sometimes give him good insights into this kind of stuff.

  103. We are focusing on Artest too much: think of what could have happened if Ariza was in LA unhappy with the money he got and the way he was ‘unappreciated’ by the front office.

    Remember Ariza was fuming when Kobe opted to shoot it himself instead of passing it to him, and as much as we like and love Ariza, there was a very good chance that he could have developed an ego to go with his increasing skill set.

    I’m not saying I didn’t want Ariza back, but if you consider the fact that we could have had an “unhappy” Ariza here, then the Artest deal makes much more sense.

  104. I guess Mitch thought that with Spurs getting RJ and Cavs getting Shaq, and Celts/Spurs getting Sheed that we had to upgrade our talent a little bit.

    I’m nervous, though I think Artest will stay in line because he’s playing to win a title. Mostly I’m sad because I loved TA and I hate to see when agents screw things up for their clients (david lee and dan fagen just need to go away).

    That being said, kobe shouldn’t have had to nearly kill himself guarding Melo and leading the offense because Ariza wasn’t strong enough. Also, if if 2 of 3 of our big guys are in foul trouble, we can slide Artest to the 4 rather than play Walton there.

    My main (basketball) worry is what Kurt mentioned about Ariza gaurding quick pgs (namely, parker). Still, if this works out, we’re going to be unstoppable.

  105. while sad to see ariza go, i’m in the camp that’s happy to see artest in our lineup. i kept looking at other teams like cleveland, san antonio and orlando adding players like shaq, jefferson and carter and wondering what the lakers will do to counter that. well i’d have to say that we did better than all of them by adding artest.

    i wish all the best for ariza, the laker nation needs to applause this guy like crazy when he comes back to the staples center in a rocket uniform. he didn’t want to leave but it was a business issue and laker fans hopefully will realize that and give him the love he deserves. unfortunately i think ariza’s game will suffer in houston. ariza’s points mostly came from passes and he has not shown the ability to create his own shot. with no yao ming, no kobe bryant type player and a new reputation as a good player, ariza will be guarded much more closely than he was with the lakers. nevertheless, i wish him all the best.

    people are worried about artest and his mental state, but i think if anyone can handle that its this team and this city. with this trade, i would say we’re the favorite to win the title.

  106. Snoopy,

    read Hollinger’s article. Basically he says that Artest is a better three point shooter and his numbers will go up with more open looks whereas Ariza was shooting well above the mean in the playoffs, so he was probably just having a good month. He also mentioned that while Ariza is more efficient on offense, Artest’s numbers should go up there too with better players around. Generally, he thinks its a good deal objectively, but understands Laker fans are nervous/sad to see Ariza go.

  107. rodman was NOT the 3rd banana on the bulls. he was more like a pineapple.. his focus was on defense.. on offense he threw up the wild jumper every now and then when he HAD to.. more importantly he KNEW he wasn’t there to score.. he KNEW his role was defending and rebounding (he lead the league in fact) because the bulls already had a big 3 of jordan pippen n kukoc.

    if artest can play a similar role thats fine.. not GREAT because his passing and bball iq (or lack of thereof) aren’t a great fit in the triangle.. with other veterans the upside is smart play, leadership and experience.. crazy pills doesn’t really fit that description.

    futher more he doesn’t know what he doesn’t know.. he THINKS he has the offensive skills to be the 1st or 2nd banana in the fruit basket.. hopefully his respect for kobe odom and pau will keep his pride at bay.

    can’t say this enough.. but pau and odom’s willingness to sacrifice their individual minutes/stats/game for the greater good is key to this team’s chemistry.. odom could be a triple double machine and pau was the go to guy for a longtime.. my only hope is that it’ll rub off on the other role players.. particularly bynum and artest.

    i really wonder though.. what were the laker’s motivations for this move? it can’t be just to spite ariza or his agent. im thinking its more the arms race btw the magic/spurs/cavs.. possibly mitch’s bad experiences w/overpaying youth and potential (sasha, maybe walton)

  108. Think of Rondo and Boston; that could’ve been Ariza for us. A feel good story that suddenly goes sour because the protagonist thinks he’s all that.

    Now, the happy ending of course would be that he learns his lessons and return humbled like the prodigal son, but that’s going a bit too far ;)

    Anyway, I think this is sort of like a psychic alarm for any of our role players who might have lost the sense of ‘urgency’ for next season. No matter how big a role you played, if there is a chance for improvement, the team will take it and not play favorites.

  109. 102

    wow u know ure in trouble when hollinger says good things about your team.

  110. Am I the only one who thinks Ron-Ron is not the defender he used to be? He’s never had great success against Kobe, but in the playoffs this year it was more striking – every time he was on him Kobe just drove right around him. I still think he’s a very good defender, but no longer do I think he is the guy he was from ’02 to ’08. Shouldn’t make much difference, though.

  111. so maybe ariza might be given an offer below the mid level exception from lakers?

  112. thanks for the ireland link and the hollinger thesis. the ireland story was especially interesting.

  113. I am happy that we got artest. We will need him next year. He is a better player than ariza and phil will find a way to make it work.

  114. Every move has a risk. Re-signing Trevor to a long-term contract is a risk because other contenders have gotten stronger and we give up salary cap flexibility down the road. If we re-signed Trevor it’s still possible that we wouldn’t be as good as some of those other teams.

    Some people have been screaming for Mitch to keep up and with trade he has from a talent standpoint and from a salary cap standpont. We got Ron Ron for MLE money for only 3 years. That seems like a pretty good deal to keep us contending for titles and giving us more flexibility down the road. Ammo, Jordan and Sasha’s contracts expire in 2011 so we’ll have about $15mil or so to go looking for some younger talent, re-signing Kobe and Pau.

  115. This also is a signal to future Laker free agents: Don’t play games in the media. Don’t let your agent make a sour environement for negotiation.

  116. There are a handful of games this season I remember where Trevor’s energy, quickness, length and defensive tenacity against the ballhandler single handled turned the game and momentum in the Lakers favor.

    The fact that he couldn’t make a three 18 months ago and now just finished shooting 48% for the ENTIRE playoffs sinking several clutch three’s along the way after using Kobe’s shooting regiment as a “Bible” seemed to prove he’s a hard worker who will realize his very evident talent.

    The fact that there seems to be a toughness to him, such as when he confronted Turkglu and the rest of the Magic bench in game 5 then sank the very next shot and the next, both threes, (while Turk bricked h and hit the straight away three on a broken play to set up Fisher’s three in game 4, seems to show he’s not the type to get intimidated on the biggest stages.

  117. This move reminds me a lot of Eddie Jones trade for Glen Rice. While Rice might have been a better player in the deal, he never quite worked out while Jones blossomed after he left. Of course, it didn’t help that Eddie was playing the same position as Kobe, but he would have made a good PG in triangle offense.

    That said, I actually like this deal a lot more than the Eddie Jones for Rice deal. I feel as some have said that we may need Artest’s defensive presence if we play against the Cavs (Lebron) or the Celtics (Pierce). Artest is just about the best defensive 3 there is in the league. He can also play 4 if we decide to go small. I also think at this price, it’s a good gamble to take. Trevor could improve, but who knows how much. His shooting % could definitely drop next year. Ron’s a pretty good spot up 3pt shooter who can be more versatile offensive option than Ariza. We all feel that sentimental feeling for TA because he blossomed right before our eyes this past year. We will truly miss him, but if Ron balls this year….we just might say, “Trevor Who?”

  118. Harold,

    Great points on TA.

    One thing that baffles me is how on Earth could Ariza’s agent or Trevor himself think he could command more that $6 mill with:

    1.) This current economic climate
    2.) Everyone saving for 2010

    I think his agent screwed him if he was actually *expecting* more. I love what TA did this year, but his bar should’ve been set around what Posey got last year. He’s going to regret this if this is in fact a done deal.

  119. why is nobody talking about gordon and villanueva meshing like silk and satin while at uconn?…dumars ain’t no fool…

  120. Artest was just interviewed on Sportscenter.

  121. Oi,

    I guess I could see somewhat of a rationalization of adding Artest to the team, but I think it’s a better chance of scenario:

    A) Mitch getting back at Lee
    B) Relying on Artest “reputation”

    rather then

    C) Artest is more productive then Ariza

    I see a chance this move might work if

    A) Artest take less offensive possessions per/48

    B) Be more efficient both on defense and offense (which hasn’t happened since 2003)

    C) He knows his defined role and execute it proficiently.

    If I really convince myself, I would probably think that swapping Ariza and Artest is a wash.

    Ehhh…

  122. 113

    He’s no longer quick enough to check the more fleet-footed guards, but he can still handle just about any forward you throw at him – including LeBron (to the extent that LeBron can be ‘handled’ by anyone).

  123. Awesome, ABSOLUTELY AWESOME!!!

    If Kurt and the rest of the long time forumblueandgold posters have been leading the anti-ron ron demonstrations, then I have definitely been in the pro-ron ron camp!

    Listen, haven’t we learned that you cannot trust the media’s portrait of guys? Haven’t we learned from how they (in the past) treated Kobe? Selfish, bad team mate, hyped, etc. The media even turned one of the best performances of any player in any sport, in the history of sports, into a NEGATIVE when they turned Kobe’s 81 point game into a sign of his selfishness. Of course now most of the media is giving Kobe his due, but remember back 2-3 years ago.

    This is the same ridiculous portrait they have painted of Artest. Let’s look at what he has done in the past that is so aweful. Everyone talks about the fight he had in the stands at Detroit with fans. But if one looks at that situation closer, the fans were the AGGRESSORS and Artest was PROTECTING himself and his teammates. That’s one thing Artest is known for –he is always there when you need him to back you up. He will put himself in harms way to protect team mates and/or friends.

    Furthermore, this is one of the hardest working players in the game. Basketball is extremely IMPORTANT to Artest and winning is as well. Is he childish in this regard? Yes, i think he is. Usually this type of dedication to a sport is only there with kids. Usually this type of dedication to protecting team mates and backing up your friends is only their with kids.

    I think that Artest is a hard working basketball player. He does the DIRTY work. He goes down low and throws elbows, rebounds and plays defense. This is dedication to the sport of basketball. Anyone would love to have this individual on his/her team!

    Of course he also comes with faults. He is childish/immature so he has his stubborn streaks. But that’s why Phil is there as the zen master. That’s why Kobe and Fisher are there. They are the father and bigger brothers who will keep this guy on the right path.

    Ask yourself a few questions:

    1) Is Artest dedicated to winning? The answer is yes! He gave up a much bigger pay day to become a Laker. Why? Why did he take LESS than his worth while Ariza wanted MORE than his worth? Because more important to Artest is winning and competing.

    2) Is Artest a hard worker? The answer is definetely YES. He will work his ass off. No doubt.

    3) Is he a good teammate? If you were walking in a dark alley, who would you rather have by your side? This guy looks at his teammates and friends as brothers. He will sacrafice himself for his brothers.

    4) Will he do the dirty work? Rebound, play defense and bruise down low? Of course the answers are yes to all of the above. Remember that this is a DEFENSIVE player of the year. When was the last time the lakers had a defensive player of the year on their team?

    And then ask yourself that if you didn’t know the name of the guy described above, would you do everything to get him on your team?

    His faults are obvious: immature and a not as smart as the average bear. But his positives more than make up for these faults.

  124. Will Ron Ron wear #73?

  125. how does everyone think that ariza will do on a team that will have no yao, no mcgrady (kobe like player to draw double teams) and the new found respect that other teams will give him now defensively?

    on the lakers side, if they sign odom… i’m salivating at the possibility that the lakers can put a line up like this on the floor: fisher, kobe, artest, lamar, and gasol…

  126. 126/wondahbap, on that sportscenter interview, he was asked what # he’d wear, and he said he didn’t know but that he’d take suggestions on his twitter account.

  127. Some of the fans here seem to have lost focus in this championship celebration. If you step back and review the playoff run, you have to feel lucky that we didn’t have to play the healthy Celtics in the Finals. Let’s be honest with ourselves. The Lakers were NOT in the best forms in the last playoff. They had problems on defense. The reason they lost to Yao-ming less Houston was because their suspicious defense. When Kobe had a bad shooting night, they were extremely vulnerable. The Lakers has to address this issue this off-season. Last year’s Laker will have difficulty beating Cavs, and healthy Celtics with addition of Wallace. I think Ron Artest gives the Lakers a much improved defensive presence. He can take a lot of pressure off of Kobe defensively. Artest has far superior offensive skills than TA. Sure, TA is young and talented. But we don’t know if he will ever offensive skills to the level of Artest. Mitch has got the basketball brain. Acquiring Artest has made our run for the next few championship runs much more secure. Go Lakers!!! http://www.iHomeMD.com

  128. Sorry for the double post… wasn’t quite finished…

    I really do think a guy with Ariza’s length, athleticism, work-ethic, experience, hustle, toughness and unselfishness (he told P. Jackson he was perfectly fine coming off the bench–in a contract year no less–when L. Walton volunteered to be benched) and youth is worth $6.6 a year. (I would’ve been ectastic if they could’ve wrapped him up for that amount for 5 years). He should’ve been the Lakers starting small forward for the next 8-10 years.

    The Lakers might just as good next year and, the rest of the Artest years, or even better than this years but I just don’t see it.

    Sorry for the negativity but I think this is a huge misstep by the Lakers. Maybe it doesn’t cost them much, if anything, but it’s never a good idea to cut off you nose to spite your face and this is what it seems like.

    I guess the plan to keep all 13 players from last year just went out the window.

  129. Some tidbits from the LA Times:

    “Ariza agreed to a five-year deal with the Rockets for about $33 million, roughly the same that the Lakers had offered in their effort to retain him.”

    “Ariza’s agent, David Lee, said the 24-year-old forward passed up a more lucrative contract offer from another team with salary-cap space. “We decided to go with Houston anyway,” Lee said. “It was never about the money. It was about going someplace where you felt appreciated.”

    Since Ariza wanted $7 – $8M, I guess appreciate costs $2M.

  130. Rockets projected opening day starting lineup:

    PG: Brooks
    SG: Battier
    SF: Ariza
    PF: Scola
    C: Hayes

    No disrespect, but that’s a pretty HUGE drop off from this year’s Lakers team…for the same salary that the Lakers were offering.

  131. For some reason I ‘m remembering Isaiah Rider now.

  132. 1. I am still pumped up about this news. It is a combination of excitement, curiosity and terror.

    2. Here’s one way to break it down. Ignore mental issues for a sec. Compared to Ariza, Artest is stronger, a better shooter, can create off the dribble, has midrange game, and has post game. Ariza is faster and has a knack for the electric play. So this is a big upgrade, IF Artest buys into the system and can handle the system. Now I believe Artest could have gotten more than the MLE. Say what you want for his oddness, but the man has left considerable money on the table (and perhaps years too) in order to play with the people and the coach he wanted. I expect his best effort to buy in. If he can’t succeed in LA, he’ll never succeed.

    3. It is very good to have someone who can handle bulky 3s like, well, Lebron, Carmelo and Pierce. Kobe had to do that work and in the playoffs it drained him.

    4. Ariza was decent on fast PGs, but in reality most of our guys are fast and long enough that we can switch onto PGs. If a PG is truly lighting it up, Kobe can be the stopper there as well as Ariza.

    5. I loved Ariza, but it leaves a kind of bitter taste in my mouth that he left the Lakers to play for the MLE. One gets the sense that if he told his agent to get it done for the MLE, it would have gotten done. Having said that, I’m also glad the guy is getting paid and I wish him the best (except against the Lakers).

  133. 126. My issues with Artest have nothing to do with how the media portrayed him and everything to do with what I have seen with my own eyes of his play and how that fits in with what the Lakers do. You are new here, be careful presuming what and how the regulars here think.

    I’m not going into another long rant of my concerns, but it boils down to this — everywhere Ron has been his offense has been isolation outside the flow of the offensive system. And that is a bad fit here. I am rooting for him to change, but you need accept that I have serious concerns about this. It has nothing to do with, as some other person suggested, wanting to be the first at the bar to say “I told you so.” That’s another case of a newby here having no real idea how I or others think.

    I’m a Lakers fan, one who will root for the team to win. I am in Ron-Ron’s corner now, and I hope he proves me wrong.

  134. David Lee will be hangin’ with Spreewell’s agent as soon as the ink dries on TA’s contract.

    A tragic, career-altering day for TA.

  135. Wow, I was always a proponent of Odom for Artest. It never occurred to me the Lakers could do Ariza for Artest.

    I’ve always said the Lakers lacked an enforcer type to intimidate. They have that now and still in the running for Odom to boot!!

    Can’t wait for the season to start.

  136. This is from the John Ireland blog that was linked. Where exactly… did this convo take place?

    “Kobe said that after the Lakers lost game six of the ’08 NBA Finals in Boston by 39 points, he was alone in the shower, just fuming. He heard somebody walk in and assumed it was one of his teammates, or maybe a staff member. Instead, he looked up, and it was Ron Artest (to this day, Kobe has no idea how Artest got into the locker room).

    “I want to come help you,” Artest said. “If I can, I’m going to find a way to come to LA and give you the help you need to win a title.””

    This feels like a scene from Top Gun… a very awkward scene.

  137. David Lee takes a quick jab at Lakers front office (quote from LA Times):

    “Ariza’s agent, David Lee, said the 24-year-old forward passed up a more lucrative contract offer from another team with salary-cap space. “We decided to go with Houston anyway,” Lee said. “It was never about the money. It was about going someplace where you felt appreciated.”

    David Lee is like a really poor man’s version of Scott Boras. He needs to realize that he has other clients with the Laker organization…and it would be best if he kept his trap shut as to not burn any more bridges with people he will need to work with in the future.

  138. 130. I have no idea what Lakers team you were watching last year. The one I was watching beat Boston twice (home and road) and the same with Cleveland. And I love that the Lakers had no second option after Kobe. How quickly we forget Pau.

    The Lakers scoring pecking order is now Kobe, Pau, Artest, Odom, then we can debate it. If Artest takes shots away from Gasol, that is not a good thing. Gasol is a very efficient scorer, moreso than Artest.

  139. David Lee is Grima Wormtongue from the Lord of the Rings.

  140. Even if the two had equal talent, you always take the one that’s glad to be here, not the one that thinks he’s entitled to.

    I’m letting David Lee color my perception of Ariza (I couldn’t have loved him more; I recall that face and the body language when he said “I felt love, man” “A lot of love” after his exit interviews) but if it really was Ariza that was offended by the MLE, than I have no sympathy for him.

    He, as well as anyone, knows the predicament the Lakers were in, having to resign him AND Odom. I’m not saying he should’ve accepted less than what he was worth, but you don’t get insulted when the team that helped you blossom offers the best they can and also lets you know that they will try to match reasonable offers (which is the impression I got when Ariza was supposedly told to test the market).

    So at the end, it was a choice between a player who was so eager to join us that he took a pay cut, and a player who would’ve been disgruntled being offered the same amount for a longer period of time. No-brainer, even if Ariza was the superior talent, because teamwork and sacrifice trumps marginal talent upgrades.

    All in all, this was just a very shrewd business move that, if it works, will go down as yet another heist. We got Pau for scrubs, then we got Ariza for Vlad, now we get Artest for Ariza, only adding salary when we got Pau (sorta worth it), and otherwise either shedding salary or gaining more flexibility.

    Other teams who try to improve in this economy did so by eating up and venturing into luxury territory; we, although we were already deep in it, improved while not (yet) adding any more than we have already.

  141. Who is Ron Artest?

  142. Artest for Ariza is a great trade. I pray it goes through. Ariza was a great hustle player that could play defense and hit big threes. But Artest is a powerhouse. Hes super strong and physical, and he is a great 3 point shooter. Lakers will be scary if they get Artest, but the point guard position is the real thing that needs to be addressed.

  143. L.A. has to bag Odom to make this work. That, and hope to God Phil can reign in Artest like he did Rodman back in the day.

    I’ll admit it – I hate the Bulls and laughed aloud when they landed Rodman because of his bad history with Jordan and Pippen stemming back to the Bad Boys era. I was convinced he’d tank that team’s chances.

    Three championships later, Rodman had proven me wrong. Let’s hope Artest can make me feel just as wrong when I look back on today’s news as I feel when I think back to the Rodman news in 1995.

  144. 126

    I don’t need the media to tell me that Artest likes to pound the ball and forces shots. I don’t need the media to tell me that he has an overinflated sense of his offensive capabilities. I don’t need the media to tell me that a guy who has been a high-usage (and often inefficient) player throughout his career will face some difficulty in making the transition to being the third or fourth option at best in a system that emphasises ball movement and spacing.

    None of what you posted addresses those concerns.

  145. Another positive —a huge one at that.

    Remember that Artest was going to either Cleveland or LA. He chose LA. And now Ariza is going to Houston. This is the BEST of both worlds.

    Firstly, can you imagine if Artest was in Cleveland next year? They would be favored to win it all! Shaq and Artest and Lebron. Our guys would be man handled, as that’s got to be 500 pounds of pure muscle.

    If we would have re-signed Ariza, then Artest would have gone to Cleveland. Now Cleveland gets no one, and we improve with Artest over Ariza.

    I think this was put into the calculation of the front office.

  146. By the way, the guy who broke the Artest story (Ken Barger at CBSsports.com) is saying this is a five year deal, not a three. Some other sources report that as well. I don’t think it matters three or five — in for a penny in for a pound.

  147. If it’s five, this loses some of its luster ad Artest at 35 is not something I’m going to enjoy watching… although I hope I will.

    Now, I seriously hope our front office handled things a bit better with Lamar so he doesn’t feel “unappreciated.”

  148. Amazing how Houston were early contenders with Yao, T-Mac, and Artest in 07… and only two years later it’s likely that they won’t have any of them.

  149. Kurt, Aldridge is reporting it’s up to Artest: he can opt for 3 or 5 on July 8.

  150. Below thoughts are assuming Odom comes back – lets view this from offense and defensive perspective:

    Offense:
    With Artest: there will be no doubt in my mind that offensive efficiency will drop. Last year, Lakers were at the top mainly due to lack of turnovers, high field goal percentage, and high rate of offensive rebounds. Turnovers will increase (Artest does not exactly have J Kidd like vision), field goals will decrease (due to less touches for Gasol) but offensive rebounds will probably go up. Verdict: Offensive efficiency will go down, but should still rank in the top 5 range.

    Defense: Ariza was a great off the ball defender – and while he made some memorable plays vs. Nuggets (see out of bounds play), and against Hedo (see: second quarter, game 5) – Lakers still allowed Melo and Hedo have some pretty memorable series.

    Lets look at all contender’s leading SF

    Cavs – Lebron
    Nuggets – Melo
    Orlando – Rashard or Vince
    San Antonio – Richard Jefferson/Ginobli
    Boston – Paul Pierce
    Portland – Brandon Roy (i know…SG/PG…but we know Artest will guard them)

    Who would you want guarding the above? Artest or Ariza?

    Also, there has been mention of Ariza able to switch to guarding PG’s. True. But how often did we do that? Against Aaron Brooks? Didnt see it often. Yes, hes able to switch..but lets not kid ourselves and think that Ariza was a PG stopper either. We didnt get better stopping the quicker points…but in terms of championship contender matchups, Artest solves a lot of problems.

    I also believe the SSZ was utilized more often to emphasize Lakers’ length and quickness…I think we will see the SSZ being used less often, and more straight up man defense next year.

    Verdict: Will remain top 5 in defensive efficiency – but will have better playoff defense against likes of Carmelo and Lebron.

  151. Does anybody remember that the “Ron-Ron” lead Rockets team took the eventual NBA Champions to seven games? All this talk about chemistry is fruitless, the guy obviously wants to win. How many problems did he create for Houston last year? Anybody?
    Yes, he has sticky hands sometimes and overreacts to elbows, but that young Rockets team had some amazing energy and grit. I’m not saying Ron Artest had everything to do with that, but he certainly didn’t disrupt it.
    We have the enforcer we’ve been craving for, and there’s no one in the league Ron respects more than Kobe, which is a good place to start.
    This is a steal.

  152. Man, this is either the best idea ever or the worst idea ever. I think in financial terms the deal was a steal – perfect contract length and all.

    In basketball terms, for every pro of his I can think of a con. On the one hand, I worry that there won’t be enough shots to go around now that Artest and presumably a healthy Bynum are plugged into the mix (let’s not forget Bynum’s chucking in Game 5 of the Finals last year). On the other hand, I think he could play himself into a great role as a scoring leader with the second unit. On the one hand, there may be too many stars on this team and not enough role players. On the other hand, he’s saying all the right things about wanting to play for the Lakers, and you’d think that the fact that he took a pay cut proves his dedication to the team concept. Finally, we’ll miss all the turnovers that Ariza caused on defense, but we’ll also welcome Artest’s burliness and strength.

    One thing’s for sure – I can’t wait for the 2009-2010 season to begin.

  153. the other Stephen July 2, 2009 at 9:18 pm

    how much do you think we’re going to offer odom?

  154. Many Laker fans were talking about swapping Lamar for Artest last year after Pierce murdered us in the Finals. But swapping him for Ariza? If we resign Lamar, this could be a team for the ages… I want Artest to be our next Cooper.

    I wish Trevor all the best, and I hope he is very successful. Glad he got paid what he deserves, and I hope he feels appreciated.

  155. Wow, I did not see this coming.

    Earlier today I was quite convinced that any talk of losing Ariza and gaining Artest was pure smoke-and-mirrors, and that Trevor would re-sign with us for the same money he’ll now be getting from Houston.

    I was all set to post in the previous thread that I am steadfastly on Kurt’s anti-Artest bandwagon … right up until the moment that he becomes a Laker, whereupon I will immediately allow myself to be talked into welcoming the Ron-Ron era in LA with open arms (which is pretty much exactly how things went down, especially if the deal is indeed for three years instead of five: if true, that’s a remarkable bargain).

    However, I can’t forget Trevor’s contributions to our glorious championship run quite as easily:
    Those game-winning steals! The momentum-changing three-pointers! Such grace, such ferocity. So many neck tattoos.

    I believe Lord Byron said it best:

    “Fare thee well! and if for ever, / Still for ever, fare thee well.”

  156. I too would like to wish Trevor well, except I can’t figure out rationally how he thinks that going to a worse team for the same amount of money is a better outcome than re-signing with us. Maybe it’s his legendary temper getting the best of him?

    I am also very curious to see how his 3pt % is next year too.

  157. By the time everyone gets done missing him, Ariza will be the greatest small forward to have ever lived.

    We shall see how much his performance was intrinsic and how much was a product of a special supportive Laker environment.

    But his game has holes. His game is unfinished.

    He has no mid-range jump shot, zero; you know – dribble, stop and pop. There were tons of mid-range opportunities he had where he couldn’t even attempt a shot.

    His defense was based on speed and quickness and gambling. It wasn’t good against Carmelo or Hedo or bigger, stronger 3′s.

    He is not a passer. His assist numbers were low.

    So before we drool on our shirts, remember the truth – his game was limited and his success was based on everyone else doing the other things that let him excel at what he could do.

  158. Oh wow, this is big news. As much as I like and will have everlasting appreciation for Trevor Ariza, this is brilliant. It also defines PT for Lamar a bit more I think because Artest is not as quick as Ariza and so Lamar will get more of the minutes when we need a bigger 3/4. Anyway, I love this…and I think given Ron’s desire for a ring will override his tendency to ballhog. Ron only holds on to the ball, I think, coz there is, at some level, a distrust of his teammates. But he trusts Kobe Bean Bryant. This is like Rodman falling into line in Chicago when he goes to work with Michael, Scottie, and Phil. Everything will be great. Oh I LOVE this move.

  159. The biggest advantage we get out of this is someone to guard the superstar threes we’re going to see on nearly every possible contender — San Antonio (Jefferson), Denver (Melo), Boston (Pierce), Cleveland (LeBron), Orlando (Carter). As good as Ariza was last year, he simply isn’t in these guys’ weight class, often forcing us to either put in Walton (foul magnet) or Kobe (out of his weight class, burned a lot of energy).

    Like I said in a previous thread, if there is a team in the league I’d trust to get Ron-Ron to keep his marbles together, it’s this one. We have Kobe’s and Fisher’s locker room gravitas, Phil’s savvy, and Odom as Artest’s best friend. Let’s hope it turns out for the best.

  160. I know I probably should feel different because this is a good piece in his prime to add to our top 3 all in their primes but I really haven’t been less excited for a Laker free agent signing in I don’t know how long…

  161. check out this interview. Ron Artest Interviews Kobe from Last Year

  162. The Lakers are positioning themselves to be title contender over the next three years with the signing of Artest (and hopefully Lamar Odom). When Arterst contract ends in 2012 it could coincide with an opt out clause of Kobe Bryant’s contract.

    Perhaps the Lakers did not want to be tied up in a potentially bad contract with Ariza but are starting to make plans for the future after this three year title run is over

    Thanks to Trevor Ariza for his contributions this championship season

  163. I feel sad for Ariza and happy for Artest. I also believe that Ariza’s agent blew it big time.

  164. Here’s ron artest’s interview with sportscenter after meeting with the FO:

    http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=4303977&categoryid=2459788

    (sorry if someone already put this up)

  165. Here is where Artest can add some value. Last time he guarded Lebron, he ended a 493 game streak of no assists, and held him below 35% shooting (granted…Artest had a lot of help from Battier too)

    http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/recap?gameId=290226010

  166. What is more disappointing is the fact that Trevor is accepting a Houston offer that the Lakers offerred and the player rejected.

    If Lamar is demanding $10 million per year, I don’t believe the Lakers will give it to him.

    I hope the Lakers keep Shannon Brown. It would be devastating if all 3 free agents left because of money.

  167. Signing Lamar should be at the zenith of the Lakers’ priority right now.

  168. I’ll leave it for those who know more about basketball than I do to contemplate whether this is good for the Lakers in basketball terms. From my perspective, I loved rooting for Ariza last year, and I will really miss him. Artest doesn’t catch my interest in the same way. The team may in fact be better off, but I’m still sad.

  169. Now my alarms will go off like crazy if Odom doesn’t sign with us, as that will be a big testament on Artest’s character, but from what I hear, it will only make it more attractive for him to sign now that his childhood friend is here.

    In lines of wishing Ariza his best… do you think he can get some other bible from Kobe, work like Sasha and Kobe combined during the offseason, and take full advantage of there being no go-to guy in Houston?

    Anyway, this signing has me searching for a ‘FBG@Houston’ so I can see how Ariza is accepted/compared over at Houston.

  170. Put me in the don’t like this camp. Artest ruins the flow of every offense I have seen him in. I don’t enjoy watching him, and while I want the Lakers to win every time out, I can;t, and won’t bring myself to cheer for him individually.

  171. Kurt #136

    You then wrote:
    “My issues with Artest have nothing to do with how the media portrayed him and everything to do with what I have seen with my own eyes of his play and how that fits in with what the Lakers do.”

    Looking at your Ron Artest “rant” this does not seem to be the case.

    In your Ron Artest rant you wrote:
    “The bottom line for me is that the slim advantages you gain from Artest in a couple areas are far outweighed in other areas. He has the chance of being a big problem, if you don’t think so look at his track record. Do you really want to take that risk?”

    That is what i’m talking about regarding how the media has written this guy up. He is a trouble maker and is insane and he is “trouble.” This is far overblown. This idea that Artest is going to be a “big problem” comes from where exactly?

  172. Okay… espn just reported ariza will sign with rockets @ full MLE for five years…

    http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=4303862

    so I’d guess ariza’s agent ran out of options huh? one of the many reason ariza got so many open looks because other team decided that kobe or pau will not beat us tonight… others will have to step up…

    farewell Trevor… you have been great to this lakers team ever since u were acquired from orlando two years back… it will be tough to part with you since all of us have seen you matured as a player…

    onto Ron Artest…

    granted, he’s considered a better defender and can post up smaller players, but i still have doubts about him… i’m one of those who would prefer ariza over 5 years @ MLE then artest @ 5 years of 6 milllion… he’s unpredictable and many times during the houston series, artest literally shot them out of the games… i just hope we can have a focused, determined ron artest that’s commited to playing defense and hopefully adapt himself to this great offense…

  173. 1) I’m sad that Trevor is leaving, and even more sad about the way this whole ordeal is unfolding. He was a great fit and is young, and I wish him best of luck.

    2) I’m rather giddy about the prospect of Ron-Ron playing on our team. Like a lot of the posters mentioned, it’s a high-risk/high-reward gamble. But combined with the fact that we have Kobe (top dog), LO (good friend) and Phil (the master of getting players to play to their potential) this signing seems to have more positives than negatives. And as others have mentioned, we couldn’t just bring back the same team when everyone else made moves to adjust to us. We basically made our own team more unpredictable to everyone else since we’ve got a brand new chip to play with this season. The dude is a hard worker, and as Chuck Barkley mentioned Ron is someone you want in your trenches to go into battle with.

    Overall, I’ve very excited for the upcoming season since now there’s even more reason to watch.

  174. MarlonBrando,
    He got Rafer Alston traded.(And there are numerous fans in Houston who thought that a very good thing :) Adelman was not one of them.)
    Alston started to complain in press about Ron constantly breaking the offense.
    Up until McGrady’s season was killed,the Rockets were very active in trying to trade Ron. All the deals the Rockets actually had under discussion involved Ron and Landry for fill in the blank.(Amare told friends he was being traded to Rockets.) The team set up McGrady’s 09 Doctor’s Tour to find out if they could count on him for rest of season.(The team arranged all the visits and sent their conditioning coach along to oversee process.)
    Once McGrady announced he was done for season,the Rockets decided they needed Ron’s offense more than Alston’s leadership and traded away Rafer.
    I think it pretty significant that the Rockets didn’t lock up Ron earlier,that they agreed not to even negotiate until a few days of fre agency had passed.

    Personally I think there will be some early head-butting,but Ron will settle in as a very nice player. Unless Kobe misses a few games. Then Ron will go into hero mode and the results are very mixed.

  175. The good thing about this in my opinion is that Artest, Kobe, and Odom are friends and hopefully they can get him to buy into the system. But I also think there’s a bonus. I think Luke and Sasha are gonna have to bring it at every practice and every game. I expect a better season from those two next year. There’s just no way you don’t step up when Artest tells you to, NO WAY. Who knows, maybe the Lakers will be No. 1 or 2 in defense. I wouldn’t be surprised.
    The bad thing about the signing is if Artest takes those ill advised shots when we need to play like a team. Sometimes Kobe takes those, and it’s frustrating when he’s forcing it, but he’s Kobe and sometimes he does amazing stuff. But the same does not go for Ron-Ron.
    Having said that, I am very optimistic about Ron-Ron, and if he plays team ball I sincerely believe that the team will be better this year’s. Look out Boston!!!…….or Cleveland.

  176. I keep hoping that tomorrow we will find out both Artest and Ariza will be Lakers.. and Odom and Brown.

  177. Thanks Kobama. I tend to take Hollinger seriously on that type of stuff (on others, he’s just way off). He was dead on in predicting Sasha and Farmar’s years, and it’s very possible (maybe even likely) Ariza couldn’t have kept up that shooting.

    I think going to Houston is a great situation for Ariza, better than the Cavs. The way he learned shooting from Kobe, I think he can learn a lot about how to play the IQ-side of defense from Battier. With that training, he could become a monster down the line. Some of the IQ of Battier mixed with Ariza’s physical skills…wow.

    I agree with harold. If this is all Lee, then no problems with Ariza. But the final decision was in Ariza’s hands. The new report says Ariza is getting the MLE from Houston, which is exactly what Mitch offered . If Ariza’s passing up on the team that made him who he is and gave him a chance for a little bit more money, I have no sympathy for him. If it were a pure money decision, I would understand. But if the offers were basically the same and he feels “slighted” by the team that took him own and let him grow as a player…then have fun trying to guard Kobe next year, Trevor.

    Question: do we now adapt the Crazy Pills nickname? Or come up with our own?

    Zephid brought up a great point on the last thread. We all spent the entire playoffs bemoaning the lack of touches for Pau. A notoriously inefficient offensive player added to that? Makes me worry. Ziller says the same thing:
    http://nba.fanhouse.com/2009/07/02/artest-in-l-a-could-most-hurt-gasol/

    KD on board with the worries I and many others have about the effect Ron-Ron will have on our offense:
    http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/blog/ball_dont_lie/post/Ron-Artest-to-the-Lakers-?urn=nba,174475

  178. I guess we will see how Ron fits in with the offense, but I think the Lakers upgraded in terms of talent and have moved back to the definitive front of the pack with this move.

    I feel like Ariza’s agent made a big mistake and now he’s doing damage control with those comments about wanting to feel appreciated.

    If LA resigns Odom I definitely feel that they will repeat! Which would be freaking awesome. I like Ron’s compete level and his passion. I think Kobe will like it too and maybe having Ron around to battle with in practice will help keep Kobe sharp.

    Ariza sort of made me feel like he didn’t wanna be here today. And I am so sick of that attitude. Artest on the other hand couldn’t wait to sign.

    I guess I can’t help but see a lot of positive things about the deal.

  179. Oh, and five years makes this deal so much worse. Long term commitments for old players = no. Three years, I can stomach.

  180. mister.gelato July 2, 2009 at 10:33 pm

    Poor Ariza, for the same money he gets to play in Houston. Could his agent have done a worse job negotiating?

  181. Oh man, I feel bad. Only because I feel like Ariza grew up with this team. He was unwanted elsewhere and found a home in LA and really really improved right in front of the eyes of the fans.

    I didn’t like the idea of Ariza asking for more money than Lakers could offer without incurring financial suicide. However, just as other players, he deserves the max he can find. I’m really sad and sorry to see him go, assuming that this Artest to Lakers and Ariza to Rockets is a done deal. However, I do wish him the best of luck and he gets the most he can.

    I agree that Artest is a better player than Ariza, but it would be hard to see if Lakers fans would embrace Artest as a whole like Ariza received.

    As long as you wear the Lakers uniform, I will be supporting you. Best of luck to Ariza and Artest.

  182. David Lee: You fail.

    Oh, and Dex farts in your general direction.

  183. I still feel mixed and likely will remain so until we see how this plays out. The thing that gnaws at me most is: Doesn’t the rule we apply to Lamar — “he is what he is” also apply to Artest? What is Artest? We know he has never been on a team that has had a deep playoff run. We know he is unstable at best, and crazy at worst. To suggest Ron’s loose-cannon image is a media fabrication is simply not true. We know Ron instigated the one of the worst fights in NBA history. We know Ron repeatedly is among league leaders in technicals. (Admittedly, Kobe has been too.) We know Ron needed/asked to take time off because he wanted to work on a rap album. We know Ron has had domestic and other off-the-court issues that must be a distraction to his on-the-court play. We know, in sum, he is a time bomb that inevitably will blow up somehow.

    Conversely, the signing is exciting because he brings a unique skill set to the Lakers that we don’t currently have. It also speaks well to the Lakers to the extent that we aren’t simply standing pat after winning a championship. I can’t remember who, but someone wisely said that it’s difficult to repeat as NBA champion because returning players inevitably suffer from serious cases of “ME-itis,” wanting more money and wanting more shots. Unfortunately, it appears that Trevor fell victim to that syndrome.

    I can’t wait to hear Mitch talk about his strategy and thinking once he can be interviewed after July 8. I really want to know whether Artest was the first choice, or whether he became an option only after the troubles with Lee. Contrary to some opinions expressed above, I find it hard to believe that the Lakers made this move to “stick it” to Ariza’s agent. As a decision maker, Mitch seems calm and analytical. I’m sure he was alienated by Lee, but I would like to think the Lakers made a basketball decision rather than one out of vitriol and revenge. I would feel much better if the risk were minimized by a three-year deal as opposed to a five-year one.

    I can’t wait for opening night. In the interim, let’s lock up Lamar and ShanWow …

  184. I’ll trust Mitch on this one…and this one’s a WOW move for me. Just as long as we keep LO and Sheed goes to the Cs…can’t wait for the matchups! WOW

  185. has anyone heard from birdman? I’d sure like to hear him comment on this.

  186. Going off of what mike was saying about Artest as a “Rodman” type player, I think this is an appropriate comparison. Rodman was disciplined when with the Pistons and surrounded by veterans. (Laimbeer, Thomas, Edwards, etc.) He was an petulant child on the Spurs because there was no Alpha Male to challenge him. David Robinson was afraid of him, you could see it in his eyes.

    When he went to the Bulls, sure he had his crazy moments, but he had so much respect for Phil and Michael that he didn’t want to disappoint them.

    I think this could be a similar scenario here. Artest will toe the line to the extent that he may be willing to start meditating with Phil.

    Plus, I don’t know how to say this…he has a severe man-crush on the Mamba.

    The question becomes can he conform, we should know he wants to.

  187. Watching Artest I never really respected his game or how he played, specifically when he went on iso and messed up the team’s offensive rythm. Of course all that changed when I found out he’s coming to LA. In the Houston series he literally had to though and while that may have ruined their chances to win, I don’t really want to count that against him on a team that took us to seven games without McGrady or Yao. Of course he couldn’t guard Kobe when he was constantly playing with the ball in his hands on offense, Kobe gets tired too when he has to do this.

    My only concern is the shot count for all of the players. I think Kobe will have to shoot slightly less, I’m not worried about Gasol since he had to shoot far less than his Memphis days and everytime he touches it something great happens and he frequently turns down a shot to set up a teammate.

    I much perfer Odom leading the second unit because I’d be afraid he’d dissapear, like he’s prone to do at times, unless he’s a focal point with the ball in his hands at some point in the game.

    Finally Bynum really has to buy into the defense/rebounding and allow his offense to come to him from Kobe and Gasol double-teams. If he can be satisfied with about 8-10 shots per game, I think there will be enough shots to keep Artest satisfied in Lakerland

  188. Remember how Phil was saying at the end of the year about how easy the team was to coach? Yeah, not so much any more. This is definitely a very risky move, but if I trust anyone to make it work, its the Zen Master himself.

    “Ron, you are a frog on a lily pad…”

  189. The Rodman situation is different in terms of basketball. Rodman was the type of player who knew his role and excelled in it, and his role was of the type that made others happy (instead of taking shots from others, he helped create extra shots by offensive rebounding).

    My main concern with Artest isn’t the off-court stuff, it’s if he’ll detract from the flow of the offense, and touches for our big men. But if anyone can discipline him on the offensive end, it’s Phil.

  190. Cheers LA!!
    Mitch Kupchak would probably go down as one of the wisest GMs who ever lived.

    I don’t think why people are not liking Ron-Ron. I mean, for years, the media has him portrayed as a “bad guy”, really now?
    It was the addition of Ron Artest that made Yao have his first 4 wins (out of the first round) of the postseason, he has been 0-for-16573 ever since.
    In fact, without Yao, the Rockets had 2 more wins in the second round versus the Lakers.
    So are we giving the props to Shane Battier or Aaron Brooks or God forbid, Brian Cook now?
    It was Ron Artest who pushed the Rockets to their limit without its two superstars, it was him who gave them back the confidence they needed when Tmac was out and everybody thought they were out of the playoff picture. It was him who made it possible to win without Tmac and Yao and push the now-NBA champions to 7 games. It was the bad teammate who made this possible.

    There are the cons of having Ron Artest in your team:
    1) Sometimes goes into a poor imitation of “Mamba Mode” and takes his team out of the game.
    2) He used 24.8% of the Houston possessions last year and in this playoffs. He averages above 23% since 2002. The Triangle O as we all know maximizes every single possession by just passing the ball until there is an open man ready to shoot, and Artest might contrast just that.
    3)He is an a-hole. And by that, he doesn’t fear everyone, officials, referees, coaches, players, and staff. He has been mayhem since Day 1 in his NBA career. That’s why he got the nickname Crazy Pills. He sometimes get into his self-destruction mode.
    4)He is sometimes uncoachable, in fact, often times unteachable. He does what “he knows” is right and should be right.
    5) He is a bad teammate.

    That 5 criterias would have been every coaches’ nightmare.
    But the good side is that it is all curable, and we’ve seen a bit of that last year with the Rockets.

    And sometimes we forget how Phil Jackson tamed the worst animal NBA has ever seen, Dennis Rodman, in fact turning him into a media darling soon after he collaborates with the Zen’s plan.

    Truth be told, although Artest couldn’t grab that many rebounds unlike Rodman, he is a better overall player than him.
    The previous 5 reasons that I gave is the previous 5 reasons why almost everyone in Lakerlandia would not have him at all.

    But let’s see:
    1) Sometimes goes into a poor imitation of “Mamba Mode” and takes his team out of the game.
    2) He used 24.8% of the Houston possessions last year and in this playoffs. He averages above 23% since 2002. The Triangle O as we all know maximizes every single possession by just passing the ball until there is an open man ready to shoot, and Artest might contrast just that.

    Both of these are correct.but you have to take the fact that there was no Tracy McGrady that would gladly take the “Pressure Shots” (i.e. crunch time, end of the quarter shots, end of the shot clock shots). And Artest was the only one to stand up in these young and pesky Rockets. Now, with Kobe being the leader, the “Pressure Shots” is taken away from him, and all he has to do now is follow the TO, and you can find more open looks from him.


    3)He is an a-hole. And by that, he doesn’t fear everyone, officials, referees, coaches, players, and staff. He has been mayhem since Day 1 in his NBA career. That’s why he got the nickname Crazy Pills. He sometimes get into his self-destruction mode.
    4)He is sometimes uncoachable, in fact, often times unteachable. He does what “he knows” is right and should be right.
    5) He is a bad teammate.

    The last 3 points are bittergourds in a loaded Rocky Road ice cream.
    But we all know, Kobe was the same person Ron was (in terms of attitude) a couple of years ago. But that’s because he has every right to do just that. His work ethic, although only next to Kobe’s, is so gritty and extreme that he is putting pressure on his teammates by being on the same page with him. So by the time Ron gets to the Lakers, he would never have a problem with guys regarding work ethics because Kobe already set the tone in this team.

    But the most important part is this:
    Ariza was great, but would he have been great this year?
    Yes I like him, but would he be like Sasha, being great last year, and after a contract extension, never to be seen again, the Machine losing some lubricants to pursue?

    This deal is perfect in a sense that they are getting a guy who sets the “tough” tone in every game. This is a guy who is far more consistent than TA, that you can expect him to play “A” every night.
    Sources said that he would ink a 5-year deal with LA, the last 2 years is a choice to opt-out.

    Ariza wanted more than the MLE, but Artest wanted the ring more.
    Tell me, who’s gonna pay $7 million to a guy who we don’t know would have another good year in the NBA?
    Artest took the offer at $18 million in 3 years, that’s $6M per year!!
    Imagine you get that kind of superstar at a very low price than take a risk at getting a “superstar-in-the-making-or-bust” at $7M!

  191. I do believe that Artest is an upgrade over Ariza for our championship ‘window’ at the 3, defense wins Championships, right? I did not want to trade LO for him, but great, let’s see if we can have them both for the upcoming years. I could not believe it when I heard the news, did the FO really plan this?

    You get what you need when you least expect it. – unknown

  192. I respect Kurt’s opinion about Artest.

    The only thing I can say is if the gamble doesn’t work we have the luxury of benching him. Walton can handle the fort and Morrison might show some signs of life. Also I expect Sasha to rebound a bit this year and he can play some 2 while Kobe slides to the 3. That lineup worked well two years ago.

    Since we won a championship I believe the team has the mental capacity to deal with the distractions Artest may cause with a benching.

    I just pray it is a 3-year deal and not a 5-year deal.

    If this does work out, Lakers are very very dangerous.

  193. Let’s just say, we were realistically looking at scenarios where we could lose Ariza.

    We did.

    And we got Artest.

    Change of perspective, and now it’s not a ‘trade’ but a ‘countermove,’ which it really was as we offered Ariza the MLE first, and he turned it down.

    The sad part of course is that Ariza didn’t even make 1 mil more (not sure about state income taxes and sales taxes) but it was really not the front office’s decision but Ariza’s.

    So at any angle, this was a great move by the front office in that we didn’t suffer too much from losing Ariza.

  194. Five years? I don’t know… I guess I’m just completely crazy but this seems like a mistake that just keeps getting worse.

  195. Everyone,
    Fans are like kids in love when their team is a winner. There is not better girl out there then the first girl that will sleep with you to you guys. This is a no brainer! Artest is an all star stype of player. Ariza is a roll player that only got a chance to play in the NBA because the Lakers only had Luke Walton at SF. Artest does everything Ariza does but he does them better. Anyone who thinks this might be a bad move should start putting their brains before their hearts. Speaking just offensivley… we all talk about how bad Fisher was… but other teams still guarded him. Teams left Ariza wide open for a reason. They don’t respect him. Who do you leave open on the Lakers now? Kobe? We all loved Ariza. I loved Ariza! But part of the reason I loved him was because I was used to watching Luke Walton play basketball at SF. There is a reason Mitch picked Artest over Ariza… its because he isn’t a moron!

  196. does anyone have access to the laker’s practice sessions? we need to get some video or sth.. remember artest’s blowup over kobe’s elbow during g3 (or 4?)

    to be a fly on the wall in a practice w/2 physical competitive guys like kobe n CP.. that’d b fun.

  197. 195 – I’m not too confident in saying Walton/Morrison could hold the fort down. Luke would get annihilated by some of the quicker scoring wings, and his 3-point shot isn’t great. Morrison hasn’t shown signs of for years.

    But I was thinking along similar lines as you, and I wondered (I hate to say this right after acquiring a player) – but we’re allowed to trade him, correct? As long as it’s not with other contracts?

    So technically we have some insurance. I think Artest still has value on the market, and we might be able to get a better “role” players like Matt Barnes if Artest doesn’t pan out.

    I’m sure hoping this does work, though. Artest and Kobe defending on the wings…Pau and pre-injury Bynum doing low post damage…Fish chucking up PUJITS from half court…I guess you can’t win every battle. But it could be beautiful to watch if everything goes right.

  198. 176. Kaveh. Three thoughts:

    1) Read that quote you brought over again: ““The bottom line for me is that the slim advantages you gain from Artest in a couple areas are far outweighed in other areas. He has the chance of being a big problem, if you don’t think so look at his track record. Do you really want to take that risk?”

    Does that at any point say off-the-court issues. I list five issues I have with Artest in that article and the first four are directly on the court issues. The last is that the Lakers had a young locker room that I thought could be impressionable and thought Artest would be a bad influence. That last issue concerns me far less now, two long playoff runs have matured these guys. Please, if you are going to question my thinking at least get my thinking right.

    2) What makes me question Artest as a teammate? His track record. This is not some media perception, this guy has not been an angel. The fans and management wanted him out of Indiana and Sacramento. As Stephen said, Houston was actively trying to trade him this season before the McGrady injury. If people want to argue that the strong presence of PJ and Kobe will help keep Artest in line, then by all means do. It could be, and I hope it will be. But do not tell me the guy who got a 73 game suspension has never been a problem, that is flat out ignoring the facts. Did he look like a great teammate when he flopped on injuries with Kobe in the playoffs and ran to the refs trying to get a tech?

    3) Why do you feel some great need to prove me wrong, or to win me over as some kind of born again Artest fan? Simply put, all of us who wonder about the wisdom of this are still Lakers fans and want this to work out. I hope I am wrong about my concerns. We are all on the same page, I’m not sure I understand your motive.

  199. 198 +1

    I actually think he might be good with the second unit with LO. Lamar can be the initiator while Artest can help being the bail out guy for the Bench Mob. It’s a semi green light to shoot and be “the man” to help his ego. And if he gets out of control, then bring the 1st unit in and go from there.

  200. To echo’s Kurt’s point, I’m thinking this from the most optimistic perspective. As I said before, when the offense goes through him, the other team comes out the winner. The Laker fan in me hopes that he plays within the system, try not to be the hero, and knows that his role is to be the primary defender. I really wished the Lakers re-signed Ariza but he gotz to do what he gotz to do.

  201. Very sad to see Ariza go – he reminded me of my former favorite Laker, Eddie Jones. I am not as sad to see him go as I was with Eddie, though, especially since we’re getting Artest.

  202. the only good news for Trevor is that there is no state tax in texas. So, he’ll be making a little more than had he accepted the lakers MLE. Congratulations David Lee. You made your client a few more bucks. Idiot. I bet Trevor is sad as hell and Lee will not be representing TA in five years when it’s time to sign his next deal. Lee’s only clients are bynum and Trevor (and hassan Adams and a few international guys). Good work Lee. These are your last two clients ever.

  203. I will add, the more I think about this, the more I think it could work. I never meant to sound like every night would be a disaster, but I have concerns he could cost us close games. But he also could earn us a few more blowouts in games that would have been close. He is another matchup nightmare.

    The concern I find myself with more — making sure Pau gets his touches. And more of them. The offense flows so very well when he gets touches and, although Artest is not a ball handler, I don’t want to have to feed him at the expense of Gasol. Because Gasol is far more efficient.

  204. Kurt, I don’t think Kaveh was antagonizing you quite as much as you think he was. His points about the media’s inflation of Ron-Ron’s bad side were salient and shouldn’t be brushed off. I’m not arguing either side here. We’re all Lakers fans. But you misrepresented Kaveh’s original post as an attack on “the regulars” — and that’s not at all what he was trying to accomplish. He was simply putting out a pro-Ron argument, shedding light on the subject from a new angle — the media angle — that I thought was quite insightful. Your response was to turn around and say “You’re new here” and ignore most of what he wrote so you could paint his post as an attack. Let’s not get at each other’s throats here. Let’s have a reasoned discussion, and try not to make things personal and start talking about motives. Then again, it’s your website. You can treat your readers however you choose.

  205. Stephen,

    Appreciate the info, but I have to say, I would take Brooks over Alston any day of the week. I’m not saying Ron won’t cause any headaches…but every player does…heck, anybody remember the summer of 08 with Kobe giving every Laker fan a migraine? I just think the idea that he will be a cancer to the locker room is invalid. No coach insights more respect than Phil Jackson. Players respect rings, always have and always will. Players respect other players with rings…not to mention multiple rings.

    No one can predict the future, maybe he’ll end up kicking Jack Nicholson in the nuts, but I do believe the atmosphere within the Laker Organization seems to be perfectly suited to player like Ron Artest…and his skill set cannot be denied. Defensively, we just took step up…and as we all know (and just witnessed), that brings the rings home.

  206. One way to think about it: what would the other contenders have preferred the Lakers to do? Keep Ariza or acquire Artest? I think they would have much preferred that the Lakers had signed Ariza. I’ve spoken to a few of my friends tonight who are fans of other teams and they’re basically despondent. They assume 2010 is a forgone conclusion. I understand the argument about the Lakers system and Artest’s role on previous teams; nevertheless, I think to compare Artest to Ariza is actually disrespectful to Artest. Ariza had a fabulous run this year, no doubt about it, but that’s one year– just one. Artest has been a first-rate NBA player for several years now and is in the prime of his career. Mark my words: only injury will stop the Lakers now.

  207. I think it’s pretty impressive that both teams from the NBA finals appear to have added guys that are not known as great on-court teammates.

    I’m not thrilled about the Lakers taking this chance, both because Artest is a wildcard and because I felt like Ariza was more of “our guy”. Artest really wants to play here, and that’s worth a lot, but it definitely increases the risk if things start to go badly.
    On the other hand, we said at the start of all this that it wouldn’t be the end of the world if we lost both Ariza and Odom; this team will be fine even if we can’t trust Artest to play in crunch time.

    To put it another way, I was never a fan of the 2004 all-star club, but I’m hoping that Artest brings more of Karl Malone’s effort to the table and less of Gary Payton’s ego.

  208. Hard to imagine an agent stupid enough to think that the Lakers were gonna offer more than the MLE when they had to sign Odom as well.

    Maybe Lee thought it was a bluff, all that talk Mitch gave to the media that he won’t overpay regardless of how much money the team has.

    But I really hope it was Lee that screwed this up for Ariza, just so there isn’t any vitriol from Ariza’s side. He was like Kobe’s little brother in many ways, and I did hope (although not realistically) that he’d continue to develop and become that Pippen-esque wingman for Kobe.

    On some awkward level, however, this is weirdly funny in some way. We were responsible for a great deal of shuffling after we landed Pau that saw many teams break up their competent cores, and now after our championship, we have yet again set off league-wide change… and topped it without paying any more than necessary.

  209. I have a feeling the Lakers called his bluff in preparation for a few years down the line when Bynum is a free agent and we have to deal with his antics again.

    Sorta sad, but the Lakers can definitely make it work with Artest; his abilities are still high enough for the Lakers to start looking for an athletic 3 for the future when Ron-Ron’s contract is up.

  210. MarlonBrando

    well said. +1

    Has anyone heard or seen KB’s (or any other Laker’s) comments regarding Artest’s acquisition?

  211. This could be the best defensive team ever. If Bynum comes back healthy and is a beast in the middle, Kobe and Artest locking down the perimeter, and Pau and Odom taking care of the rest and pulling down rebs. Where is the weakness? Fisher, he won’t have to play major min. and can be the bulldog he has been in the past, and knock a few more players on their ASSSSSSS!!!

  212. I think, like Kurt, I was on the anti-Artest side. And now, with it being inevitable I am trying to find the positives.

    1. He is good friends with LO, so maybe it helps us to keep Lamar.
    2. Matchups. I think Roy, Carmelo, Manu, Pierce, Vince, LeBron, et all are wishing it was still Ariza in Purple and Gold.
    3. Better career three-point shooter (I just hopes he likes spot-up threes).
    4. By all accounts, Kobe and Artest are two of the hardest working guys in the L. Everyone else needs to fall in line.
    5. Artest has never played with offensive talents like Kobe and Pau, or a system like the Triangle. Maybe he will surprise us all with his range of offensive skill.
    6. Lots of great post-game quotes.
    7. LA has a history of embracing eccentrics. Hopefully he will feel loved and appreciated without needing 20 shots a game.

    Overall, I fear that beautiful offensive game we came to love may be gone (or just waiting to Luke to get off the pine). But there is no doubt this team is far more physically intimidating. So I think its most likely a wash, with a wide range of how this will play out.

  213. Artest already towing the company line…

    “How do you fit in with what the Lakers do on the court?”

    “Do exactly what’s asked of you from the coach and it will work…”

    I hope so.

    http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=4303764&categoryid=2459788

  214. With a possible Artest signing, I am feeling the onset of doom.
    I’m sure this season will be fun to watch (in a masochistic sort of way).
    I am presently preparing by detaching myself emotionally from the team so that I can fully enjoy the ride.
    But I am losing hope for repeating as champions or even getting to the finals.

    Still, I am determined to enjoy the …

    “Pandemonium seesaw…
    Run for the door, RONmaster shouted,
    ‘All the fun of the Cirkus!’”

    (apologies to Sinfield/Fripp)

  215. Aaron,
    Maybe some of us are thinking with our hearts. In the long run I think Ariza is a better bet and bargain.

    In the short and in the playoffs against Carmelo, LeBron and Pierce, I’m willing to concede Artest seems to match up better. Plus, I actually think you can throw Artest at Garnett. (When Boston beat the Lakers last year, Artest was on am570 with, I believe Hartman and VTB among others, just about salivating at the thought of banging Garnett around. In essence, he said he didn’t respect Garnett and his pseudo-tough guy antics and overblown macho bravado. He seemed genuinely peeved that he didn’t have the chance to beat him up and make him shut the hell up. You almost felt he was rooting for the Lakers, beyond his friendship with LO and sounded almost like a big brother hoping the youngster would stand up for himself and kick the shit out of the bully. )

    At any rate, Ariza’s a keeper. If the plan was to go after Artest then a coup would’ve been to plan to keep both of them and LO. How? I don’t know.

    Everyone would prefer to have
    Ariza in place of Walton or Sasha or both. Again how could the Lakers do that this summer? Don’t know.

    But there’s no doubt that right now I would rather have a chess player looking to unload Luke or Sasha after signing LO, Ariza and Artest than a poker player going all in with one of his best chips for a 29 year-old with a questionable past.

  216. no one mention Odom and Ronron are childhood friends, that along with kobe and phil, will definitely keep him under control.

    also, does that mean the management are working on a deal with lamar? i m sure players talk – and one more reason why i feel lamar will be staying with us…

  217. jezzleffezzle July 3, 2009 at 1:11 am

    God damn, Trevor. I’ll miss you; you were so loved in LA. Hope you find your way back someday.

    David Lee: Stupid.

  218. Does anyone see a corollary of Ron-Ron being Kobe’s Oakley? I definitely noticed they had a very aggressive, respectful and friendly sort of competition between them. I think that could translate into a “go to war together” teammate dynamic.

    There was something to be said for Shaq’s presence in the day as he was like an enforcer of sorts plus Fox’s testiness lit a fire into key runs in the repeat seasons. It’ll be good to see someone besides Kobe and Fish do the dirty work. Or better yet, keep Kobe from doing any but the end of game dirty work. Kobe hasn’t had an enforcer of his own, and besides the entertainment value of a new Jordan-Oakley dynamic, it could give Kobe some longevity if it’s not him drawing all the contact and techs. Thoughts?

  219. How does Ariza signa 5-year contract? If the MLE money isn’t enough for his taste from the Lakers, I can see him taking the same offer from a different team to spite them. But if you are insulted by MLE money, you’d take the Rockets’ offer for one year or two and then try to get what you think you really deserve. Something smells fishy here.

    Now please re-sign Odom! In that case, thinking about possible line-ups – if the Lakers now sit their two best players, they could still trot out Bynum/Odom/Walton/Artest/Fisher (or Farmar or Brown). That’s not a bad unit.

    @ The Dude Abides: Couldn’t a crunch time line-up of Kobe/Artest/Odom/Gasol/Bynum also work? How do you score against them?

  220. First things first, Ariza played his butt off this season and was a major contributor to the championship. It can be argued that without him, things could not have ended with a parade down Figueroa.

    Back to reality, Ariza really was a Cobra this season. He started out slowly, insisting to play off the bench to start the season and gained confidence and minutes as the season continued. In the playoffs he peaked and because he wasn’t a huge threat during the regular season teams were content to pack the paint and cheat off Ariza. The shots went in and we won the championship.

    I understand Kobe and Pau demand the double team and that the open shots are there. With the knowledge that teams know now, I’m pretty sure strategy would dictate that teams close out and stick closer to him. Ariza is not the pure shooter that Ray Allen or Reggie Miller are. He was a shooter with confidence that hit fire at the exact right time. We will see next year if his shooting percentages continue to stay around 40% or drop. I doubt that he’ll get the same looks and be as successful but I’ll definitely be monitoring him in the box scores next year.
    Another reason Ariza might have chosen to head to Houston over Los Angeles and Cleveland could be the same reason Fisher decided to leave the Lakers the first time. Playing time and establishing himself as a great player, not just a role player. Fisher says the money was good, but it was ultimately the opportunity to become more than just a role player. That was the enticing part of leaving the Lakers after the 04′ season playing behind GP.

    Look at Cleveland, he would be playing behind the best SF in the league and could possibly thrive as their SG, but he wouldn’t be the MAN on the team. Same thing in LA, you have Kobe getting his touches and everyone else filling their stat lines, would Ariza be content being the filler guy for the rest of his career?

    Pat Riley said the hardest thing about winning back to back comes down to one word, “More.” As in more touches, more minutes, and more money. The ugly sister of jealousy is “more” and I think she peaked her brat-like face this offseason. Like others have stated it seems we have sold high on Ariza. Yet it appears that Ariza wants MORE. He wants to be the man, and with Yao out, Artest gone, and T-Mac recovering sometime close to midseason the only conceivable reason Ariza goes to Houston is to become more than just a role player. Basically, he is banking on himself and that he hasn’t peaked as a player. Most people are saying we are taking a high risk/high reward approach. I think Ariza just doubled our ante and then some.

    Finally, the part of this Artest signing that I absolutely love is two prong. You saw how exhausted Lebron was carrying his team during the playoffs. He never took off a single possession and played stellar defense. That type of effort is not sustainable and gaining Artest would have helped Lebron tremendously on defense, and would have allowed Lebron to take some possessions off. Lebron would not have to guard Kobe every possession. Ridiculously taxing.

    Now Kobe can concentrate his energy in spurts. We need to conserve Kobe’s strength and now have the means to do it.

    All we have to do is focus on getting everyone to trust each other and develop that team chemistry. Artest realizes he doesn’t need to be the sole focus on offense. Hopefully, PJ gives him some thing to think about this summer to help him adjust his game to the triangle. If I could ask for some things from Artest it would be…

    1. Tenacious D, shutting down your man that night

    2. Establishing the post, quick dives, and rapid ball movement

    3. midrange shooting, spot up shooting, and 3-point shooting.

    I am too excited for the season to start.

    Kurt let’s get together and write the book about this upcoming season. I am so game.

    sorry for the long post.

  221. I don’t think I am the only one who feels a little heartbroken because of this. It is not because I am worried about Ron Artest, it is just that I thought Laker fans showed Trevor Ariza how much we loved him.

    The whole city of LA was in awe with Trevor, and than his agent pulls in the “disrespect” card. I mean seriously Trevor, can you be that fooled by a stupid man who thought he was going to trick management again?

    It is heartbreaking because I wanted to see Trevor celebrate the title with the Lakers the next season. Who knows what kind of deals and endorsements he could have made if he decided to stay with the Lakers.

    All in all, I think it is a terrible choice by Trevor if he decides to leave. I am 100% sure he will regret his decision no matter what he says. You just can’t go from a championship team to a lottery one, especially when you were so loved and admired.

    His agent screwed him over big time, screw you David Lee.

  222. I really can’t handle the comments of Ariza feeling “disrespected”. I seriously hope his agent made that up.

  223. this is AWESOME!!! now kobe doesn’t have to guard other superstar sf’s in crunch time & will have tons of energy to kill the other team on offense.
    his defensive rep/name recognition is very important as this offsets any advantage the other contending teams might have in refereeing (melo, lebronze, pierce, vince, rj/manu); this is oft overlooked but very, very important in playoff b-ball w/ fewer posessions.
    ron ron is sensitive, wants to be respected & wants to win- so he’ll be a great teammate. he works crazy hard in practice & so long as he doesn’t break anyone’s ribs (like he did mj’s back in the day)- he’ll make the whole team even tougher. when has he ever had this caliber of teammates & coaching? he’s going to do very, very well as a capstone to his career.
    mitch is doing a great job predicting next year’s possible finals opponents as well as the tough (again) western conf. thanks for being so smart w/ this championship window mitch!!!

  224. i hope this wakes bynum up to get a new agent…like yesterday!
    so nice for kobe to finally have a very intimidating enforcer by his side- I think this reduces so much wear on his body & thus gives him a few more years at the top.

  225. Plan 9 From Outer Space, yeah, this next season is going to be a fun fun fun wild ride indeed. Fasten your seat belts and roll up the windows Laker fans… I also believe after watching the Kobe interview by Ron-Ron and other quotes that I have read, that they will both be going to war for this next Championship together and dragging along anyone and everyone that they can.

    Until you step out of your comfort zone and try it, you’ll think it’s not doable.

  226. DevastatingDave July 3, 2009 at 3:11 am

    How could Ariza feel disrespected after he got the loudest ovation from the fans at the championship parade. Honestly, Ariza’s agent is just an idiot.

  227. Kurt, Lakers’ perceived inconsistency in the last playoff was NOT without cause. Whenever Kobe was off the court, the Lakers’ lead would start to dwindle. Indeed Pau is a great player. But because of TA’s (and other players’) limited offensive capability, teams often collapsed on Pau when Kobe was out. The offense got stagnant when Kobe took a rest.

    Artest’s creative offensive skills will loosen up the middle for Pau.

    On the other hand, keeping Artest under control will be another BIG challenge for Kobe. If he is to compare to or overtake MJ’s status in NBA, he needs to overcome this potential obstacle. MJ won titles with difficult players like Rodman. Kobe has to exert his leadership quality, BIG TIME, to ensure Artest playing within the system.

    Next season will be another new and exciting championship run.

  228. Solid article by Wojnarowski at Yahoo sports, blasting David Lee:

    http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/news;_ylt=AhwBtZbUTnlO1cyRBBnLB5S8vLYF?slug=aw-artestkobe070309&prov=yhoo&type=lgns

    He makes the following point, which I think is valuable in the whole “championship complacency” debate:

    “Change is good for a defending champion. When the rest of the NBA’s elite – Cleveland, Orlando and Boston are getting better – the champion can’t just stand pat. As an executive and a player chasing repeat titles, Detroit’s Joe Dumars says, “I like to make one significant change in that second year.”

    This gives the Lakers something to incorporate, to work through, across a long training camp and regular season. This way, they aren’t tempted to just coast until the playoffs. This changes the dynamic for everyone, and give Artest this: Around him, there’s never complacency.”

    Also, who would have thought that NY power forward David Lee would be the second-most talked about David lee of the offseason?

  229. Warren Wee Lim July 3, 2009 at 3:29 am

    We should dedicate a thread all for David Lee the agent (or his memory) LOL.

    Anyhow, I get the bittersweet feeling right now. I loved the idea of Artest, Kobe and Pow right from the start… right from where we picked it up from the Smush-Cook-Kwame-Radman days. My oh my how far we have come…

    At the same time, it breaks my heart to hear Ariza feeling “insulted” or disrespected. I sure do hope it was what David Lee did to ensure his guy gets paid (foolish move) and not what Trevor felt deep inside. Ok, I’ll call him Trevor because he grew in my heart the moment he eliminated us Brian Cook and showed that we somehow could forego “thinking” about how a Ron Artest could help our team. All the best Trev…

  230. Warren Wee Lim July 3, 2009 at 3:33 am

    Oh and I wonder if details like Player Options come with both their contracts. Artest seems like ammenable to the full MLE which is 5.6m on the 1st year. For flexibility sakes, I wish its what I imagined it to be:

    5.6m + 6.1m + 6.5m = 18.2M over 3 years.

    As for Trevor, he is underestimating his ability to get a bigger and better contract if he took a 5-yr contract from Houston. I hope that the 4th season is an ETO where he could be a Laker again.

  231. Warren Wee Lim July 3, 2009 at 3:39 am

    Kaifa, loved that article too. Maybe coz it both pleases my 2 sentiments: blast David Lee and give Artest the chance he deserves to be in LA.

    Oh and as a parting shot, maybe Phil could make the “craziest SOB in the league” his next Rodman. He can add that right next to his 10 rings and trophies.

    I say: “To be great, you always go where no man has ever gone.” Phil just shrugs me off and says: “been there, done that.” :D

  232. Wow, I am definitely going to miss Ariza. I was all pumped knowing the fact he was switching his jersey number to his original want next yr, #1. I was going to try and be the first to grab his gold #1 once it hit the stores, but now I have to worry which crazy number Artest will get. Probably something crazy like #99 to create an LA media stir with comparisons to Manny…

    But as for Trevor, my fond memories date back to when he was still fresh on our squad, and just remember thinking that he is the perfect fit for the triangle, and more importantly, with Kobe. Doesn’t need shots, just goes about his business/role and defends, and is an awesome slasher. I will always remember his Christmas highlight dunks while with the family. But now, his shot has improved to a point where I thought we couldn’t find anyone more perfect for us. We just won it all, life is perfect if we just bring everyone back. But now, the league has begun their attempts to dethrone us, but Mitch came out and reminded the league that it is still all about the Lakers. Spurs get Jefferson, a sf that can hang with Ariza. Orlando doesn’t even offer Turkoglu a yearly salary of half of what they’re about to pay Vince Carter now… Why? Because Ariza absolutely shut Hedo down at key moments in the Finals. But with Vince in the picture now, with Nelson healthy next yr, the ball won’t be in Hedo’s hands anymore, thus acquiring a slasher/hometown dude/knockdown shooter/big body/hungry vet to work alongside their 3 accomplished all-stars, Dwight, Jameer, Rashad. And also in the process, making it harder of a matchup for the defending champs.

    Ever since we sniffed one of Chris Wallace’s patent brain farts, and gladly accepted their stinkful ‘make sure u spray when you’re done’ salary dump… The whole league has been trying to catch up to us. Building pieces in order to dethrone us. Which increased even moreso after our title run this yr. But Mitch counteracted and made I think, a brilliant move. I’ve always prefered Ariza over Artest if it came down to it, but after knowing Artest is here for 3 yrs, possibly 5, for only 6 mil a yr? Wow, has my mind changed faster than I ever thought could. Even faster than when I consumed 6 shots of Popov at a festive gathering a few yrs back thinking, hell yes I’m going to hook up with my best friend’s smokin hot sister now. My mind is going crazy with endless positive possibilities now. Kurt is completely right, we are no longer labeled soft, even though I felt winning it all sort of squashed that notion, but we are now Freddy the Enforcer of the league. Boston can’t act out their obviously forced bullish behavior anymore on us. Portland will be terrified of us even more now. At least there’s no more added hatred with the Trevor flagrant incident. What will they do when B Roy is being shut down by the duo of Kobe/Ron Ron? No way is Denver or Houston pushing us around anymore with hard fouls. The unknown possibility of Artest’s next blowup instills fear into the opposing team. Everyone knows what Artest’s capable of, especially if put into the right situation. And this is that perfect scenario. He respects noone more than he does Kobe. Phil Jackson commands the respect of any player that walks through knowing that this man is a living legend with all his 10 fingers full of shiny jewelry. Once the purple n gold is on your back, looking at the 15 banners, HOF numbers retired, knowing ur the top television-rated/merchandise selling team in the world, playing for the defending champs, playing in a city that you absolutely love and can’t get enough of… No other choice but to comply. He knows this. Which is why he’s been excited like no other to come here, and most importantly we got him for a huge discount for this high potential that could possibly be reached. Our team is now unbelievably nasty. Kobe always has been, Gasol has shown a mean streak here and there, but he’ll finally have a guy he doesn’t have to worry about wanting it, and possessing a killer mentality. I think for the most part us Laker fans wouldn’t have minded seeing Ron come to LA, but not only until it happened did I realize how scary we can be. Artest’s ability to shut down the 3 position is huge. That was my only real concern with Trevor’s D this yr. He never really has been able to add that extra muscle he always has tried to add. But then again, he’s only 24. Damnit, that’s probably what I hate most about letting Trevor go, is that I won’t get the chance to enjoy his progression as a player on an everyday basis. He’s so darn young. He was definitely one of my fav plyrs behind Odom, Gasol, and Kobe. But, the fact that Artest can also guard just about any 4 is an added bonus as well. He is just a pitbull of a plyr. And I agree with just about everyone that Ariza’s agent David Lee is trying too hard to be the Scott Boras of basketball, but really doing a good job of it. He’s pissing everyone off. It’s much harder to play hardball with GM’s when most of the teams only have to offer is the MLE, unlike where the MLB has no salary cap. He almost made me turn on Ariza after knowing he is just signing for the same exact money with a western rival, not so much contender. But I can’t be mad at Ariza, I’ve enjoyed watching him grow the last couple years. Put in the solid work after Kobe gave him tips/books on shooting, and really was a huge reason why we won it all. Ariza stepped up as our knockdown open jump shooter while we no longer had our 3pt specialist Vlad, the inconsistent shot of Odom(even though he stepped up as well), Sasha falling off the face of the earth, Luke’s inconsistent shot, and Fisher’s rare struggle throughout the playoffs. But I still can’t fathom the potential that this team has now that we have Artest. Don’t like thinking ahead too much, but it has me thinking of Phil completing a legendary 4th 3-peat. Incredible. Here’s a list of players we now don’t have to worry quite as much about:

    Lebron. Carmelo. Pierce. V Carter. Jefferson. R Lewis. R Wallace. Kleiza. Durant. Millsap. Boozer. J Howard. Posey. D West. Marion. J Smith. Beasley. B Griffin. F Garcia. Iguodala. Salmons. Granger. Butler. Jamison. D Lee. R Gay. Yi Jianlin. G Wallace. J Harden. K Love. Powe. D Blair.

    Kobe can now focus his energy/strength more on guards and not have to worry so much about big physical forwards. We can limit Kobe’s minutes in the regular season, and even Gasol’s too while we give more touches to Bynum with his 16 mil a yr contract kicking in next yr, and please Odom with more minutes off the bench while getting to play with his former teammate as a teen in New York. Even though Kobe is more than capable of handling those duties, it just gives him more energy to expend on the offensive side, as well as on the 2 guards/pt guards that he can lock down. While we do miss a lot of Trevor’s attributes towards our team, we are also gaining an enormous amount in return. I didn’t really think we could’ve upgraded our defense without adding a more defensive minded pg, but we did. The dynamic duo(as well as Jordan/Pippen like combination) of Kobe/Artest along with two 7-footers backing them defending the rim will be a pleasure to watch all season long. Is it possible to have the best offense and defense in the league? I know Ron has a history of jacking up shots and disrupting the offense, but I really can only see that happening if he’s in with a complete 2nd unit lineup. Look who he has on his team now. I thought for the majority of the yr he complied with Houston’s 2 other superstars. Not only until one or both guys were hurt did he start to takeover with nonstop clock eating, but yet impressive dribbling. He played great against Portland, Yao was still the man that series. Game 1 victory against us, Artest was playing smart and knocking down shots. But once Yao went down and Houston became a scrappy team without their 2 main stars, he went into Sacramento alpha dog mode. We have the ever-growing 21 yr-old stud in Bynum to feed, the beast of Gasol who should realistically always have the ball in his hands, and Kobe’s penetrating creation of shots for teammates. Artest won’t need to create offense, just play his role. Chill by the 3 pt line, add another tough rebounding presence to bang down low, and just execute girtty lockdown defense within the system.

    Now all we need is for Odom to stay. But I have more than enough confidence in Kupchak at this point. He understands that Kobe has a few more yrs in his prime. Signing a guy who is obviously hungry and ready in his prime to win now, with a still starving Kobe Bryant, rather than re-signing a guy who could play a key part in not only a continuing run, but a huge piece as he develops into his prime in the future. I totally agree with Mitch here. I’m done doubting this guy. Man, right when I thought we would have a boring, but yet productive summer by bringing all our guys back, this dream scenario occurs. Trevor, we all love you bro, but now is the Ron Ron era of Championship runs. I’ll wait while the rest of the league hates, or until they just come out and admit that we are in deed hands down, the team to beat.

  233. This really got me thinking about winning vs. the money, long term.

    Alot of people have brought up this topic already (a ton on the ESPN and Foxsports boards). Basically, why didn’t Trevor take a shorter, 1-2 year MLE, maybe even 3 year MLE offer, irregardless if it was the Lakers? By taking a shorter contract (as many have said), working on his game, and resigning an extension(s) later, Trevor would get paid more in the long run, assuming he continues to improve.

    I make decent dough, and am a pretty confident person (no where near NBA max level green, of course, haha). I just can’t help thinking that there’s something deeper in this than just David Lee.

    In a similar situation, I would take a 1 or 2-year contract at the MLE. Something like 2 years, 12 million, with an option for the third year. Get in the gym, work my ass off, get much better. Have teams lining up, offering 15mil+ per season when I’m 25/26. That scenario would still allow for another megabucks contract down the road when I’m 30-32, assuming I really became an All-Star caliber player.

    Instead, at 24, Trevor basically shackles himself to a team that may be blown up (Yao and TMac’s injuries very sad, would have made for an awesome rivalry this decade), for 5 years @ 33mil. So when he’s done with this contract, he would be 29. At this point, Trevor would be near the tail end of his prime (especially for a slightly injury-prone, 6’8″ guy that relies on athleticism). He would probably be up for one more long-term deal, depending on the circumstances, then jumping from team to team on MLE offers (ala the host of veterans Dr. Buss signed during the 3-peat years).

    But the way he did this (5 years at the MLE?) makes me not only question his priorities, but his self-confidence.

    Seriously, why not sign for a similar contract with Cleveland, help them get past the East, and (I almost had a nightmare last night, till I woke up and thought about it some more) stick to Kobe in the Finals in ’10 (basically his “up yours” to Mitch and Dr. Buss)?

    Artest and/or Ariza were also (rumored) big targets for the Cavs. He would be on a contender, and could thrive in the SG position next to Lebron, instead of coming off the bench. IMHO, he would definitely start at the 2/3 over Cleveland’s stable of perimeter midgets, next to Lebron.

    Neither do I buy the notion that the Rockets whispered things like “You can be the man here in the future,” to him, or that he would not start if he went to Cleveland.

    And, at this point, isn’t he a younger, lengthier, quicker version of Shawn Marion? Why didn’t (and, from his eagerness to snap at the Houston deal, very apparent) Toronto show any interest in him?

    The only positive I see for him to sign with a team like Houston or Toronto would be to sign something like a 1-2 year contract like I stated above, go TMac-in-Orlando style on people, then ask for a 6 year 130mil deal down the road. Especially when both those teams need a Kobe-style player (hey, who doesn’t).

    Why sign with a team that is definitely in a state of flux, and not only that, sign for a (in the NBA) long term contract, locking yourself into less money and possibly whining about it later (ala Pippen w/ the Bulls)?

    Maybe Trevor knows, this is it? Perhaps, somewhere deepdown, he knows this will be the best he can do, and needed the long-term contract for security. That this is his ceiling?

    I’m extremely sad to see him go, but now that I think about the situation, especially with his decision to not only immediately sign with Houston, but for 5 years…I can’t lose the feeling that we got incredibly lucky. That what we saw was the best Ariza would ever be.

  234. I loved wojnaworski’s article. These Yahoo writers make me feel better about the Lakers than ESPN writers do. I know, I know, objectivity but sometimes the bias that is in all men surfaces.

    Let’s calm down about ron-ron. A lot of what has been said pro or con has been based on his record and his potential. That hinges on the what if of things. Not really good the way I see players blossom in LA (and sadly, the TA that went out is a strong case for that). Again, Mitch played with the cards he had. I think too many loaded teams all hunting us down increased the chances of us not repeating. One of those can take it to us. It would be foolish not be concerned. The window is now, he’s willing to take a closer look at that. Again, let me say that it’s not the panic or the action-loving me that’s saying this, it’s just the way people think.

    Ron-Ron can blossom. Not a lot has been said about the context he had to live with in his past teams. Now, he can win. He must win. He can also be a bitter pill should he be a bust in our system (no longer exclusively triangle and loading D) especially if TA becomes special. But much of what has happened is because of what is here in the present. We needed a good SF replacement, we got a great catch. We lost a promising project, hopefully Mitch can pull in a new one via trade. I know we ain’t done. Teams are stacking up against us. Change isn’t always a bad response or an overreaction. Though, I didn’t quite like that it came from Dumars. Let’s wait and see. GO LAKERS!

    And Lamar, man you have every reason to make this work and stick with LA.

  235. With Yao probably done for atleast next year if not his career, Houston will struggle to make the playoffs. Losing Ariza is tough, but to lose him to a team that wont contend and replacing him with a guy like Artest without spending any additional money is simply brilliant.

  236. Phil has not confirmed his return for next year yet (at least to my knowledge). The last statement was that he would return if his physical check-up was ok.

    The Artest signing indicates that his health is fine and that he will return. Given PJ’s track record dealing with Rodman, he is the only one the Lakers could trust to capitalize on the Artest experiment. In other hands, this is a dangerous combustible experiment.

    By the way, did you notice that days after Phil ruminated about returning next year but missing the road games – essentially a jobshare with Rambis- Mitch stated publicly that Phil and he had agreed that this wouldn’t work.

    Possible conversation:

    Mitch: I heard that you might want to skip the road games

    Phil: Yeah, Kurt is ready for the job and the team is stable enough…

    Mitch: I guess we’ll have to pro-rate your salary..

    Phil: Yeah, I agree. That job share idea is a daft one.

    Mitch: Couldn’t agree more.

    On Artest:

    Even if the Lakers had lost Ariza with nothing in return (Walton/Ammo), they still would have been top 4 in the west with a chance to win. With Ariza back, they probably have the league’s best record and are favored for the title. This team rolls over most teams. But against the top 5, the advantage is not as clear-cut

    The challenge for the title comes from the Nuggets, Spurs, Celtics, Magic, and Cavs. Each has a dynamic 3. While TA is a good off-ball defender he is not big enough or skilled enough to check Melo, Bron, or Pierce.

    This problem is now gone. If Artest neutralizes Jefferson, Carter and the aforementioned bunch, he brings something TA could never bring.

    The Lakers with Ariza has a better regular season record but might have problems with the Nuggs and Cavs. The Lakers with Artest loses more regular season games while he learns the triangle and gets integrated into the defensive scheme but has a better chance controlling Denver and Cleveland.

    I’ll take that.

  237. the other Stephen July 3, 2009 at 7:00 am

    i woke up this morning and there is still no deal in place for odom and shannon, and artest is still going to be a laker. whee.

  238. 239) john t
    Longer contract is more security. What if he got injured next year while on a one-year contract? Or if it turns out that last year was his high point, and he slides back from good to mediocre? Ariza had a GOOD year last season, NOT a GREAT year. He will probably never be an all-star, so the chance of getting a “greater-than-MLE” contract is not that good.

  239. As a fan who didn’t want my Rockets to trade for Ron in the first place and came to begrudgingly accepting him,here’s a few general observations.

    He will be great in the community,esp w/kids. He and children really connect,and w/Ron it is real. Expect a lot of feel-good stories.

    Ron loves attention. But he’s not the smoothest operator at getting it.

    Ron is not a party animal. On the road he’ll be in his hotel room at night watching TV and talking.

    Ron works hard on his game. He doesn’t have the natural B-Ball gifts some have,so he often looks mechanical,esp on O,but he has developed some very effective shots.

    The idea of Lamar-Lamar!-keeping Ron in line is laughable. It will be Phil and esp Kobe who keep Ron focused on playing Laker ball,not Ron ball. After some early struggling,Ron should settle in as a pretty good complementary player who will throw up some wild shots at times.
    (Side note,the Rockets had two players who were friends of Ron-Rafer and Battier. Rafer had to be traded and Battier told Morey you can’t teach a pit-bull,you let him do his thing.)

    Ron’s hard work and seeming hustle will win over casual fans. More knowledgeable fans will come to accept him as that annoying cousin who is a total pain in rear,but is the only one who will come get you when your car breaks down in the middle of the night at 3 in the morning.(Somewhat condescending,and poorly expressed I know.)

    Ron won’t be stopped from shooting by a Kobe glare-or ten. While in short run that may be a bad thing as they are not the greatest shots,it may encourage other Lakers to not stand around and watch Kobe carry the load,but take their shots too.(Of course it’s a delicate balance,but that’s why Phil gets the big bucks.)

    Ron and Gasol are about Kobe’s age and Ron has kids. The core Lakers are now more mature and have things in common. Ron will allow Kobe to relax a bit and not feel as if he has do everything.

    One very intersting dynamic is Ron has never come to a team where the team’s fans just adore their star and there’s no question of who the best player is.

  240. everybody is talking about what Ron brings in the offense, but what I liked watching him in the playoffs against us was his tenacity in rebounds, he was really fighting Kobe for position on that now infamous play with the “elbow to the throat”. I like his aggressiveness down under the rim, it can’t hurt to have another strong rebounder!

  241. Bill Plaschke seems to think this was a bad move for the Lakers, which suddenly makes me a bit more optimistic that it will work out…

  242. Joel –

    Seconded.

  243. #239. John T,
    The current collective bargaining agreement expires after the 2010-11 season and in the next agreement the owners are rumored to be asking for major concessions from the players – especially in relation to salary and contract lengths. This is one of the major reasons that so many marquee players signed contracts that expire after next season – it allows them to sign one more big contract under the current rules. So it’s no coincidence that Lebron, Wade, Bosh, Amare, etc are all in the same boat for next season – they want that big deal before the owners ask for concessions. This relates to your question on Ariza because he is looking to make as much money now and sign a long term deal before the new CBA kicks in. Plus, since this is Trevor’s first big(ish) deal, he wants to maximize it and not wait for new rules to limit his earning potential.

  244. Third-ed. And Bill Bridges and those who point out that Artest is really about playing long, tough playoff series against big threes are absolutely right.

    Along with that, I think this move is a way of protecting Kobe, in two senses, a)literally, as Ron can do a lot more with his shoulder than Fish can and b)in terms of eliminating some wear and tear. Both of these things are important as Kobe becomes more of an elder statesman.

    Also, I forget where I read it in this morning of obsessing over Artest speculation, but someone asked a good question that helps put things in perspective: does anyone realistically think that an Ariza-led Rockets team would have taken the Lakers to 7?

  245. We’ll never know the full story of how talks with Trevor unfolded, but his agent claims that the Lakers never made Trevor an offer and told them to come back after they had spoken with other teams. That may have been the reason Trevor became “offended”.

    This could just be Lee covering his rear, but could be somewhat true too. Maybe Ron Ron was Mitch’s 1st priority with the the MLE and Mitch felt that he had a pretty good shot at getting it done, so he needs to keep Trevor in play until he knows he has the deal done with Ron Ron and tells them to speak with other teams. In the meantime, Trevor wants to get the deal done, possibly MLE money, and gets upset when an offer isn’t on the table. His agent goes off in the press, perhaps at the behest of his client.

    Bottom line, I think the Lakers were looking at Ron Ron for some time and he may have been the #1 option rather than Trevor. Mitch made a business decision based on a number of factors including Ron Ron’s eccentric and volatile personality but not based on sentiment.

  246. Nice!!!!

    imagine this starting five..

    Bryant
    Artest
    Odom
    Gasol
    Bynum

    the tallest starting five in the history of the NBA..five players that can post up…five players that can isolate…five players that can defend…five players that can score…

    DYNASTY for the purple and gold..

  247. Sorry, if this has already been touched on there are a ton of comments and really reading them through all would be a pain.

    I think that the biggest fan of this move is Phil Jackson. I think Jackson loves bringing in players like Rodman and Artest. Phil believes in his Zen methods and I think he really secretly enjoys having to deal with crazy personalities and bringing them together to make it all work.

    I think if the Lakers want Phil to stick around a few more years than they need to keep him intriqued. Phil seems like a guy who relishes challenges and making Artest fit with Kobe, Pau, LO, Bynum, Fish and the 2nd unit will be a delight for him.

    Secondly, I think the real key to this move is that it makes the Lakers by far the deepest team in the league. I think that the Lakers are going to start treating Kobe like the Spurs treat Duncan. They will closely monitor his minutes during the Regular Season and save him for the playoffs. By getting Ron Ron they have a guy who can play the 2, play lock down D, create shots for himself and others, and command another teams respect, and stick up for his team mates. Artest might be the only guy in the league capable of doing this in a way that is even close to the level at which Kobe does.

    third point, As a player Artest is better than Ariza and I don’t think that Trevor will ever close that gap entirely. As Artest continues to lost quickness he will just gain strength and can become more of a banger while continuing to become a better shooter and continue to be a match up nightmare.

    Lastly, He gives us more options and along with Kobe, LO, Pau, and Walton we have by far the most versatile team in the league. Think about it. Kobe can play both Guard positions and the 3. Artest can play 2-4 WELL. LO can play all 5 positions WELL. Pau can play both post postions at an elite level, and Walton can play inside or outside in the triangle equally. If Kobe or someone suffers an injury ( and we actually had pretty decent luck with injuries this year, nobody was lost for the entire year) Artest can come in and fill that role for him. A Kobe injury early in the year might actually be great for this team in the long run. We would have to become more intentional on running the O through Pau and ‘Drew and really develop that, with the second unit running and gunning. This move makes us hands down the deepest team in the league and the obviously front runner for next year’s championship. It also brings some added excitement too. I now really want to watch the lakers next year to see how the team gels and what happens with adding Ron Ron. Count me in the group of Very Opptimistic.

  248. 1) the silence from Lamar is deafening.

    This is not the time for futile bargaining. Because of the luxury tax and existing salary commitments, isn’t Lamar aware of how difficult it is for the Lakers to make him any offer at all? Trevor obviously wasn’t.

    2) why don’t the Rockets and Lakers do a Ariza/Artest sign and trade so that they can preserve their respective MLEs?

  249. Why do people love to imagine the Lakers playing with giant-sized lineups? It never happens, and I don’t think it work anyway.

  250. I doubt Odom would leave, considering Ron-Ron is one of his long time friend.

  251. That should be “don’t think it would work”.

  252. Great post. Great points brought by everyone here. Bill Bridges brought up PJ’s health – and that is a key point with Artest now here. I hope this means Phil will be here for another 3 years; because if you recall Rambis wasn’t so hot with Rodman. Arest and Rodman are not the same, by any means, but they are both eccentric. PJ loves defensive guys, and Ron will definitely buy into that; and it does give kobe freedom to roam on defensive (leave the heavy lifting to artest) and let him focus on the offensive end. I will sorely miss ariza, but if we get LO, I think this is a calculated risk that tips in our favor. (Do you think anyone is looking forward to playing against Artest, Gasol AND Kobe?)

  253. I’m okay with Artest at 3 years. I HATE him at 5! How can the Lakers even think of offering 5? And are they really leaving it up to Artest to decide how long?!?

  254. While I’m sad that we’re losing Trevor, it’s a little disappointing that Trevor didn’t do the right thing and drop his agent. The Lakers I’m sure offered him the MLE, I’m sure Trevor wanted to be there, the only obstacle was his stupid agent. Ariza is a great piece in the triangle and belongs in LA, but he needed to take responsibility and do the right thing.

    All that being said, Artest is an upgrade. I think Kobe will keep him in line, and he definitely brings more to the table. It will take time to integrate him into the system, but Luke has proven to be a reliable fill-in when things go bad. More importantly, looking at the main threats on the road to the 2nd title, all of them have players that Artest is better suited to handle than Ariza (Roy, Anthony, Lebron, VC). If Brown or Farmar can develop into a starting PG, Bynum can keep developing and everyone stays healthy, you have to like our core over the next 3-4 years.

  255. A lot of people are blaming Trevor’s agent, but I don’t think it was his fault (his public posturing didn’t help, though and I don’t care what people think of him anyways) in trying to understand why Trevor would take the same money with Houston. It wasn’t the same contract since Trevor got a 5-yr deal. More importantly, I think Ron Ron was the number #1 option as long as he would accept the MLE.

    In other words, even if Trevor said he would take the same 3-yr deal that we gave Ron Ron, Mitch would have still taken Ron Ron. Trevor’s agent handed Mitch a gift, by opening his piehole and making it seem like Trevor was the one playing hardball. I think it was actually the other way around.

    This was pure business on Mitch’s end. To his credit, he didn’t let sentiment get in the way of making what Phil and Kobe thought was a good decision to bring Ron Ron to LA. There’s no way this would have happened without approval from those two. They didn’t sell out Ariza. They just went with someone they felt would help them win next year. I hope they are right, but I do have to trust their judgment (or at least Phil’s judgment).

  256. Excellent article on Yahoo sports about how David Lee FAILED Ariza:

    http://tinyurl.com/n93jsc

  257. Artest is an upgrade in more than one way. By adding him in, you take him away from a playoff opponent.

    That said, I wish they had offered to Battier, but what can you do.

    One thing Mitch has is big steel ones… man, he makes some gnarly scary moves. So far, it has paid off.

  258. #98,
    I think that although we were not intimidated by Artest in this year’s playoffs, we might have been the only team that wasn’t. Because we know that Artest will be guarding Kobe, and Kobe may be the only player in the league who can be more intimidating than Artest on any given day, and that’s without even trying.

    Also, we were convinced that we had a much better team than the Rockets, and that also made Artest less scary to us. He’s just one man… how scared were we of Garnett when he played for the Timberwolves?

    Now, we have Artest on our team and all of a sudden he is a highly skilled defender playing next to two of the best offensive powers in the game (Kobe and Pau), he is big, heavy, stronger than he looks–which says something!–and he has no fear at all of getting into the paint and get in a fight with Shaq, Lebron, or whoever it is that gets in his way and tries to grab his rebound. Artest like everyone else certainly has his faults, but lack of effort and heart has NEVER been among them, and he deserves to get credit for that.

    Bottom line: Artest with the Lakers is going to be far more intimidating than Artest on any other team, just like Garnett with the Celtics is a MUCH bigger problem than Garnett on the Timberwolves.

    That out of the way:

    I am trying very hard to like this move because despite all the positive things Artest has going for him, I remain convinced that the guy is a headcase. He’s a ticking bomb that can go off at any time, and I’m scared of what he will do to team chemistry and to the flow of our offense. Also, I simply don’t like him. I never have. I admit that a part of it is because of the way the media portrays him, and I also willingly admit that Kaveh makes a valid point in that the media is not always reliable in the way they portray players, especially not the ones who make the big head lines.

    But I still really don’t like Ron Artest or trust him to stay sane and well behaved.

    However, like Kurt said in one of his comments, I am a Laker fan and I will always cheer for my team. So if Ron Artest becomes a part of my team I will do my very best to like him, cheer for him, and you bet I will defend him against any fan from any other team who tries to say anything bad about him, just like I do with any other Laker player.

    I might hate on Artest here on this blog once in a while, but if he’s a Laker he’s a Laker and a part of the team I support, so I will do my best to support him from here on. End of discussion.

    One last thing: Trevor, fire your agent.

  259. 252.

    Youre right that 5 man lineup is an absolute nightmare to defend or score against, especially if Kobe can defend the point guard position.

    Speaking of that, one thing I would really like to see Kobe do, (especially in the regular season) since the really don’t need him on offense until the end of games is to really lock down on D like he did in the olympics. If he does that and everyone stays healthy they are definitely looking at 70 wins next year.

  260. Just thought about this:

    Phil Jackson = Albus Dumbledore

    Think about it: calm, eccentric, and ultimately successful.

  261. ya think for one moment that mitch didn’t get phil’s OK?
    i loved ta last year, but many of the points made are right.
    1. he was often left unguarded
    2. prone to injury
    3. not good against big #3s.
    artest? i agree with those who say switch artest for ariza in Rocket series and Lakers win easily.
    if any combination can handle artest it’s kb and phil.
    it’s a simple question. is artest willing to make sacrifices in his own game for the team’s sake? if he’s willing to take less shots etc then he’s a great fit and a major upgrade.
    as for leave well enough alone. West never did in the 80s. McAdoo, Thompson etc
    since Cle, Orl, SA and probably Bos have improved standing pat wasn’t an option.
    As for trestles #251: i do not believe that the lakers would have made even an offer of5m or so, just to keep the game afloat.
    remember if they signed ariza for mle money it wouldn’t have been a mle, and they could still have got artest.
    damnit! like an earlier writer, my favorite role-player goes again! first roni and trv!
    maybe i should really start liking adam!

  262. Now the Lakers have 5 star players and a star at every position but PG. I think the Lakers are cursed at that spot every since Magic left. They just can’t seem to get an above average player there. I guess Nick Van Exel was above average. But still… PG is the easiest spot to get a good player in the NBA. I am a greedy fan, I wanted LA to try and get better this offseason and they did. But now I want an all star team, and I pray the Lakers can get another star under 30 to play PG either via trade or using the MLE next offseason. I want this team to win 75 games!!!

  263. Nonsense, Simon. Everyone knows Phil can’t be Dumbledore since he shaved off his beard. He will need to grow the beard back.

    My long Artest comment got stuck in moderation again.. must be because I haven’t commented here in a while. :)

  264. Someone please explain the whole, the fact that Artest might do something insane is a factor thing. Other teams will tremble knowing he might throw a punch or rush into the stands and tackle a little shrieking gay guy in a black turtleneck. Isn’t this exactly what you’d hope for, if you’re playing the Lakers? I understand that he’s more intimidating than Ariza in a bullying sense, because he’s big and temperamental, but Ariza slashing in like an fing rapier night after night seems more intimidating in a more important sense. If Artest was a youngish Karl Malone, and this was the old NBA, the tough guy argument would definitely fly, but I just don’t see it now. But this could be sheer ignorance. Losing Yao gave Houston the psychological edge last playoffs (contra Simmons, whose subtly in these areas is a little below J.K. Rowling’s), as we played at about 50% and they bumped up to about %99 for a couple of games, but I don’t remember once being particularly impressed with Artest either as a potential madman or a player. He was without question among the least intimidating Rockets whizzing around on the hardwood (from my perspective). A hammer which may or may not be swung is intimidating, but give me Chaucer’s smiler with the knife under the cloak any day. That was Ariza for you. Those steals, those steals? I wonder who Billups was more intimidated by.

  265. news is phils staying.. both road n away games

  266. n about starting all-stars at every position.. when have we (close to) seen that before…? is tt really a good thing to have?

    sry 4 2x post.

  267. And Kelly Dwyer doesn’t like the ARtest move: http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/blog/ball_dont_lie/post/Ron-Artest-to-the-Lakers-;_ylt=AtK4V.xULeCNihXa6vFDnlK8vLYF?urn=nba,174475

    Apologies if the link has been posted already.

  268. 264

    Historically, the PG position is not necessarily that important in winning a championship, especially if you’re stacked elsewhere. This is even more true for the Lakers, who run the triangle and have multiple playmakers. Either a breakout year from Brown or a bounceback year from Farmar would be enough to take care of that spot.

  269. #267 I don’t think Billups was intimidated by either of them, certainly not Trevor. Nothing against Trevor, it’s more a comment about Billups.

    I actually think teams underestimated Trevor because of their concern about Kobe, Pau and LO. In Houston, teams will be more respectful of his defense and offense if only because they don’t have other threats like the Lakers do.

    Also, everyone is worried about chemistry issues. It’s not like the Cavs don’t have potential issues with Shaq or the C’s with Sheed if he goes there. Even the Magic with VC has his own ballhogging rep.

    I don’t believe Ron Ron’s signing is as risky a lot of people do. Phil has experience dealing with difficult, eccentric players. Rodman, Isaiah Rider, Shaq and Kobe. Ron is arguably more skilled than Trevor at this time and he can play up-tempo or half-court. Most importantly, we’re getting him on the cheap – 3-yrs MLE.

    I think the Cavs took the biggest risk because Shaq is past his prime, but is getting max contract money. Shaq respects LeBron but will eat up Mike Brown if they hit any kind of speedbump. I wouldn’t be surprised if Mike Brown is gone at some point during the season. Also, Shaq forces teams to orient their offense to him.

    If C’s get Sheed, they get the original Artest. He could fit in because of the Big Three, but I think his unwillingness to sign after the C’s sent Ainge, Rivers, KG, Pierce and Allen to see him speaks volumes about what his priorities are.

    Ron Ron came to us and signed right away. That’s a good sign.

  270. You are right… getting better players at every position is not a good idea. The Lakers should trade to get back Smush Parker, Brian Cook, Vlad Rad, and Kwame Brown.

  271. j. d. hastings’s Agent July 3, 2009 at 11:49 am

    Um, how much more weight does this put on Phil being healthy enough to come back and coach next year. We were all less worried before because if we kept the same core they knew the system and wouldn’t need him right there. Now every analysis has PJ magically keeping Artest in line. That sounds like a full time job.

    I also think this makes it more important to re-sin odom. Previous discussions about acquiring Artest always came at the expense of Odom. That was a losing scenario to me. Artest for Ariza is a different equation, and better for the lakers, but we absolutely can’t sign him at the expense of Odom AND Ariza.

    I feel terrible about Trevor. We watched him become what he is. He made huge exciting plays all through the playoffs. But during that time he went from being the easy guy to sign to overvalued (especially in the mind of his agent). I can totally understand the organization essentially telling Lee to shove it. The man is a complete jackass who just hurt his client. I just wish it didn’t come at Ariza’s expense.

    I don’t like the Houston gig for Ariza at all. Ron Artest was their main offensive option without Yao. Ariza can’t be that guy. Who on that team is going to get him open shots? Their entire option becomes whatever Brooks can scare up now isn’t it? A year from now, even at its worst Artest won’t have destroyed the Lakers, but this will be considered a big mistake for Houston. Not because Ariza isn’t good, but because he gets better the better his teammates are.

    Sigh. I’m not going to make my life hell lamenting this once it’s finalized, but I still find it regrettable. And ultimately I lay it all at the feet of Lee. In hindsight, how mature does Bynum’s taking control to reign things in last summer look?

  272. The Lakers had to respond to the moves by the Spurs, Cleve;and and Orlando. Artest will take the other teams best permeter player which should keep Kobe fresher for the whole game. It is a risk worth taking. The champs had to improve themselves and they did.

  273. If Phil Jackson is Dumbledore, who is Voldemort? Tom Thibodeau = Tom Riddle?

  274. Red Auerbach is Voldemort, of course :D

    You’ve been told he’s dead, but his presence still looms over everything that matters…

  275. So Kobe = Harry Potter? Ron Artest as… Ron Weasley?

  276. This one is on Trevor’s agent. He was looking for a deal in the $50 million range. Lamar won’t even get that.

  277. Sorry to see TA leave, but Artest will definitely beef up the front line! He’ll definitley be able to handle Melo, Bron, Pierce, Carter, and any other 3 they throw at him. Usually, Kobe takes the reins on D, so I welcome the fact that Kobe won’t be spending all his energy guarding the other teams best man!

  278. Fish is Ron and Sasha is Hermione. Pau is Hagrid and Artest can be Dobby.

  279. j. d. hastings’s Agent July 3, 2009 at 12:18 pm

    1 area in which this improves the lakers immensely: Interview entertainment

  280. j. d. hastings’s Agent July 3, 2009 at 12:21 pm

    Why would odom want to stay in LA? Oh I don’t know…

    http://twitpic.com/96b7j

  281. Dex,
    I don’t think the insanity factor plays for us. It is definitely an issue that we need to be concerned about, as any time Artest has behaved in the manner that begs his crazy it effected his team poorly. Best case scenario is that Phil, the master of defining roles and liberating by them, does his thing with Ron-Ron and we never see his “madness”. I don’t think it likely and, with the number of thoughtful people on the site who are qualifying their support of the move, I am far from alone. My biggest concern is that the worst thing that can happen isn’t an Artest eruption that leads to him getting kicked out of a game at a key point or that he might get suspended. The Lakers have depth. My biggest concern is that Artest takes up something north of 20% of possessions and tries to make things happen by putting the ball to the ground.

    The perfect scenario is if Ron-Ron limits himself to the Triangle precepts (which for him is catch and shoot or hard dribble left and shoot, otherwise pass) . Under those conditions our offensive efficiency and wave after wave of size will just dominate the league. The problem is he has never, ever, ever shown any disposition towards accepting any such instruction and keeping to it.

    Complacency is the biggest threat to a successful enterprise. This move is certainly one that should lessen the likelihood of it and would be positive if all on it’s own. But it ain’t because this is Ron Artest. I find another dynamic interesting. Artest and LO. Okay, they sort of grew up together. They are both capable of playing both forward positions. They are similar in talent level, even if their talents are in different areas, but their personalities are opposing in some key areas. LO is always doing the little things that don’t get noticed by anyone unfamiliar with +/- but when he gets it in his head to make things happen it’s in his hand to put the team in it’s top gear. Artest too can do the little things but when he decides to make things happen it winds up bogging his team down. I associate LO with the spiritual heart of the tribe. His is a sanctified magic that reveres unity. I associate Artest with the warrior whose bloody hands inspire fear and perhaps a hard fought wisdom if the tide of the glands wane and hubris is drawn back like entangling seaweed. There is depth, beauty and power in the sea but…

    “Give not thyself up, then, to fire, lest it invert thee, deaden thee; as for the time it did me. There is a wisdom that is woe; but there is a woe that is madness.”
    Herman Melville

  282. Sounds like Ariza and his agent are showing symptoms of “the disease of more.” (As pointed out in an earlier post)

    Pat Riley, from his book, Showtime, explaining how the 1980 championship Lakers were eliminated in the first round of the 1981 playoffs: “Dissention tore up the Lakers in the year following that championship. Success is often the first step to disaster. I call it ‘the disease of more.’ People start thinking, ‘I’m really the key ingredient. It was my quality minutes off the bench, or ‘It was my outstanding defense.’ People who were quiet during the lean years suddenly want more money, more playing time, more recognition. And they get aggressive and jealous about pulling in their ‘more.’ ”

    Taking the same money in Houston in order to “feel appreciated” and “get the opportunity to develop his full game” leads me to believe a 2010 TA in LA could have been trouble.

    Winning a championship doesn’t make you a championship team. If swapping TA for RA inoculates the P&G from “the disease of more”, I’m for it.

  283. Kurt has made some very valid points regarding some of the question marks in letting Ariza go and replacing him with Artest. Offensively it is uncertain how he will work given how many scorers we have. That being said, we do know what he will give us on the defensive end: constant pressure on the other team’s best SF or SG. That means fewer miles on Kobe during the regular season which is always a good thing. Additionally, making opponent’s best players work hard (and perhaps struggle) on offense means they are less inclined to work on defense, so any “flow” problems Artest may bring, is repaid with opponent’s weaker defense. Finally, if Artest just does what Ariza did on offense (which we know he can do so much more), it means more 3 pointers falling (as compared to Ariza) and attracts more defenders away from Pau and Kobe. This move is definitely a positive, we just have yet to see to what degree it is.

  284. I know we got Artest, but this still doesn’t fix the bigger problem which is the point guard situation. This will probably be Fisher’s last season, who’s going to replace him?

    We’ve used the MLE so we can’t bring in any point guards through free agency unless they sign for the minimum. How are we going to find his replacement?

  285. Allan – Brazil July 3, 2009 at 12:39 pm

    Mimsy,

    Here is where Dwyer argument is wrong:

    “Seriously, at any point during last year’s Finals, was anyone telling themselves, “damn, the Lakers really need Ron Artest”?!? ”

    No, not during the NBA finals.
    But we were telling ourselves that in the West conference Finals when TA couldn’t guard Carmelo and Kobe had to do his job AND still carry the offense.

    Now Artest will guard Melo and eventually LBJ and Paul Pierce, and Kboe will be free to destroy our opponents on the other end.

  286. Does this make Popovich = Snape?

    290. PG needs to be addressed over the next 12 months. But if the Lakers can bring back Brown, have Farmar play well in a contract year and keep Fish for key moments we can be fine. Look for potential trades, then FAs or what needs to be done next summer. Basically, don’t rush into a mistake here, find a long term solution.

  287. Regarding Ariza being left open: What else were other teams going to do? You have to limit Kobe and Gasol, Odom is a concern, and basically when you look up and down the Laker starters, the smart move was to dare Ariza to beat you. To his credit, he made teams pay for that.

    I agree, Artest will get more respect that way, creating more mismatches. I also agree that this gives the Lakers a new challenge and something to work through during what can be a tedious regular season. With Artest and Kobe, I hope we can see less of that “flip the switch” mentality.

  288. 1) Why are we all assuming this was David Lee’s or Ariza’s fault? Why do people like Woj with no actual facts play the blame game and simply guess and ruminate? We don’t know what happened behind closed doors. LA could’ve, as David Lee said, told Ariza to go find an offer, which to me is reasonably offensive. Our FO could have been after Artest all along as priority #1. I wouldn’t blame Ariza’s camp if that was the case.

    2) How fun are the Lakers going to be to watch now. Man. Kobe on the court, Artest off the court. Entertainment at its best.

  289. Kurt,

    That is a brilliant point about the “flip-the-switch” mentality. I think bringing in Artest is a way to stop that. The Lakers were super motivated to win the title last year and that mentality could have haunted us this year if everyone was more concerned about getting theirs as opposed to teams wins. We know that Kobe wants rings, but I don’t know about how geared up the rest of the team will be. Bringing in a hungry Artest will hopefully go a long way to prevent that mentality from setting in.

  290. Phil Jackson has made it official, he will be back next season. I’m sure he’ll talk about the challenges and thrills, as if the $10 mil did not factor into it at all.

  291. Now that it’s settled, and I have to see the positives, I’m starting to see them.

    I always knew what a Artest could offer. (*In a perfect world.*) Now, there’s no choice but to have that perfect world. If it all works out like planned, we’ll be very, very hard to beat.

    I’m thinking that if Ariza could turn into an effective shooter and learn the offense and become an adequate enough passer for us, then a motivated (possibly changed?) Ron Artest could do the same. The difference? Artest is more talented, so the ceiling is higher.

    Here goes….

  292. 261.

    I think your exactly right. I think Mitch completely set up Ariza’s agent. I have a feeling Artest was the #1 option all along and Mitch anticipated Lee turning down the MLE and going public with his sentiments, like he did with Bynum.

    Now Mitch gets to say “we offered Ariza they same deal we gave to Artest and he turned it down, went public and signed for the same amount someplace else”. Ariza looks like he got greedy and turned his back on the franchise the made him and Kupchak gets the guy he wanted all along.

    Mitch has turned into a stone-cold assassin as general manager.