Ron Artest Will Be A Laker

Kurt —  July 2, 2009

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.



331 responses to Ron Artest Will Be A Laker

  1. The thing about defending quick PGs is, there’s no guarantee it will become an issue in the playoffs. Most of the top contenders rely more on elite wing players, and the Lakers are now better equipped than ever to slow those players down.

  2. Eh, sorry to loquate, but P. Ami I failed to acknowledge your insights re Odom v Artest, which were the main point. Man, just seeing those names together I don’t know. I have no doubt we’ll repeat next year, which may be a syndrome of brain disease that removes capacity for doubt; because I had no doubt we would win with Ariza, either; I’d just prefer to see Odom & Ariza, those two names together, and those two styles of play together, than Odom and Artest. Even when Odom vanishes, he does so in such a way that — it’s maddening, but it doesn’t drive the Lakers mad. It’s like you now have two players — whose styles aren’t complementary so much as Looking Glass-type reflections of each other; if Artest disappears (I know we’re deep, but) is it more than maddening, what sort of ripples does he generate as he sinks, you know. There was just a symmetry about last season’s team that was like a seemingly fragile but plainly not (we won) archetype of Jackson’s Hemingway motto of courage is grace under pressure. Ariza too skinny? I just don’t know. We had Bynum playing like a sulky puppy against all the snarling hounds of Denver, this husky united wall, we had our backs to that wall, and then snicker-snack! we’re through and it’s the skinny ones who know where to bite who prove the most dangerous. It’s all just images, but gawd damn that’s the one for me. Is it Polonius warning Laertes or Ophelia about Hamlet & he says beware of those lean ones. The hungry-looking ones, watch out, what they lack in bulk they make up for when they simply eat you when it’s time.

  3. I don’t know if this was posted, my apologies if posted earlier, but here is a little tidbit regarding Brown from Eric Pincus from HOOPSWORLD:

    “The most that the Lakers can sign Brown for without using a portion of their MLE or their Bi-Annual Exception ($1.99 million) would be $837k.”

  4. Eric Musselman’s take (former coach of Artest):

    One more thought about Ariza: since we don’t know all the details about the supposedly agreed-on deal, isn’t it most likely that he’ll try to work in a an opt-out clause to get the bigger payday in a different free agent climate, but possibly ahead of the 5 years?

    On Odom: if I’m right, the worst case now is that he’d sign outright with another team, correct? Meaning that the Lakers are over the cap and have used their MLE on Artest, so potential frontcourt fillers could only come trading one of our signed players or signing a free agent for the minimum?

    But since it’s basically just Toronto now who can offer him more than MLE money (correct?), not coming to an agreement with Odom would mean he’d have to push for a sign and trade that would hopefully give us a solid replacement.

    So worst case, Odom signs with Toronto ouright.

    Second-worst case, Odom and Laker management can’t come to an agreement, he doesn’t want to settle for someone’s MLE, so it may become a dragged-out process looking for a sign and trade that pleases both sides.

    Best case, Odom comes to terms for a new Laker contract, preferrably three years to stay on for this championship window and giving the Lakers options of who they want to extend to build around Bynum and aging Kobe and Gasol.

    Really far-fetched option I could live with: Odom comes to terms with Toronto (meaning he’d also buy a house with a Truman Show-like beach) and agrees to a sign and trade with Marion coming over. Much less desirable, but it’d be better than trying to bolster the frontcourt offering Walton/Vujacic/Morrison around or hoping to get Sheed at the minimum.

  5. Whew. Some looooong-winded posts today. It’s like War And Peace up in here.

    Two (quick) thoughts:

    1. It’s astonishing that LA could get Artest for the same money as Ariza. A heist.

    2. I wonder if Ron Ron can admit now that Kobe is way better than Brandon Roy.

  6. Yes, Yes, and YES!!

  7. Odom is going to be a Laker. Toronto could only sign Odom to more than the MLE if they renounced the rights to Marion, and instead they are going to extend him. So they can only offer the MLE. Nobody else interested can offer more than that either — Cleveland, SA, all the rumors.

    So the Lakers don’t need to go big, just fair. Say $7 mil, and they can work out the years. Odom will jump at that, he has no other good choices and he likes it here.

    Also, reports are he was texting with Artest yesterday. Does that sound like a guy planning on getting out of town?


    Essentially Ariza took less money AND went to a team that is not a title contender instead of accepting more money and going to a title contender. Lee did not negotiate well thats for sure.

  9. and now for something completly different…

    right now Sasha has an UNTRADABLE CONTRACT. I mean, who’s gonna take him at his price coming off such a poor poor season???

    so what should Sasha do now? say next year, he comes out of his slump, (yeah!) and starts shooting like he did at the end of last season.
    Now he has a MORE TRADABLE contract, and he and everyone else now knows that the Lakers are looking to dump some salary.
    so, 6 to one…half dozen to the other,
    damned if ya do…damned if ya don’t,
    I think Sahsa’s head’s gonna be swimming, he doesn’t want to be traded, but the minute he turns his game around, the Lakers just might be able to move him.
    what should he do???

  10. New post up, Bill Bridges talking about the art of the NBA deal.

  11. yajeel – totally agree. There will be growing pains but this is going to be a freaking great seaon to watch and hope this teams comes together!! I don’t care about the total amount of games we win (yet HCA would be nice)….if this team peaks at the right time – it will be very difficult to take the ring away from them.

    Agree that Artest’s all out play will force the Lakers as a team to play hard every possession – especially during the playoffs. We were all sick of the “on/off” team – think this will be corrected by a hard ass player like Artest.

    So we’re going to definitely hits bumps in the road next season – Artest chucking up shots at bad times, he might go off, whatever, but it’s going to all be part of PJs master plan…it’s always about the journey to him.

  12. The Dude Abides July 3, 2009 at 3:14 pm

    I’ve only gotten through Comment #227 today, but I think Jacqueline hit the nail on the head. The people of LA love Trevor Ariza, and we hate to see him go. David Lee is a tool. And now there’s this Hoopsworld article that clearly shows that retaining Trevor was Plan A, but La Gran Duchabaga sabotaged that route:

    However, now we have a Plan B that could conceivably result in utter dominance next season, and if the Celtics make it to the Finals against our guys, the series could result in a Laker victory in four or five games. Leave it to the Laker organization to have such a great Plan B in their back pocket. One has to respect that.

  13. I really like the idea of Artest in the post.

  14. Thanks, Kurt. I was just trying to sort through where the whole free agent process is now that Ariza is out and Artest is in, plus all the deals that have gone down elsewhere (or rather will go down). What you are stating is what I’m hoping for, just wanted to make sure I have a grasp on what could happen if no easy agreement can be achieved.

  15. Dex, there is more to be said but thank you for helping us out of Rowling and landing us on Caroll.

    To Artest, I just have this to say, “…if your Snark is a Boojum, then you will softly and suddenly vanish away, and never be met with again.”

    Those two, LO and Artest, could well be the flip sides of a looking glass. If PJ gets those two palm to palm, rather then hands on glass, I’m guessing we as spectators will be watching with Agony in 8 Parts, indeed.

    Preseason Expectation
    Saying All the Right Things
    The 4 Letter Network’s Talking Points
    The Farmaring
    Machine’s Tune-Up
    Trading Ammo
    Buss’ Wallet
    The Vanishing (of our opponents)

  16. Kurt:

    Popovich = Lucius Malfoy

  17. People, the biggest positive of this deal is what happens to the Cavs. If we signed Ariza, the Cavs would have signed Artest. Now the Lakers get Artest (who is better than Ariza) and the Cavs get NO ONE!

    We increase our talen and DECREASE by a HUGE AMOUNT the talent of our main competitor in LBJ and the Cavs. An awesome move by kupaclutch.

  18. On a team full of players with rings, a player like Artest without one is the driving force that can help a group repeat.

    A master-stroke.

  19. j. d. hastings’s Agent July 3, 2009 at 10:06 pm

    BREAKING NEWS: CBS Sports reporting Sarah Palin to sign with Lakers. Lamar Odom becomes Alaska Governor.

  20. The Lakers do not need to make any other moves. With the offense and defensive skills of Artest and any combo of Kobe and Gasol, Bynum, Odom, we need only one or two other players who will knock down wide open 3’s with consistancy.

    Who will step up? Fish, Farmar, Walton, Sasha or Ammo

    I give Sasha until xmas then its Ammo’s turn.

  21. 327 Sam, you forgot ShanWOW.

    I know he hasn’t been signed yet, but he may be more likely to be around after midseason than either Ammo or Farmar. They are expiring contracts and may help reduce luxury tax damage.

  22. In one swift decisive move the Lakers just got dangerous, caution-filled, ominously scary defensively, adding to an already chart-blasting offensive unit. The Lakers incredible and infinite winning tradition brought The Warrior, Ron Artest, as the collective experience of the Laker management and ownership skillfully attacked the free agent chess board like Bobby Fischer. Wafting smells of Championship Globe #16 are filling my lungs.


  23. # 189 —This is what i was talking to Kurt about. The media writes stories about people –they paint people into media creations. The did this with Kobe 3-4 years ago –Kobe was a HORRIBLE teammate, he was selfish, a potential rapist, etc. They also have done this with Artest –they have people like you claiming that this guy could possible be LEGALLY INSANE. Based on what? A mish mash of half-truths and conjecture.

    Here is your first paragraph:
    “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.”

    Firstly, the ONLY two options you listed were: unstable at best and CRAZY at worst. Crazy, or legally insane and needs to be in an insane asylum. This is absolutely nuts. You do not know Artest, have never talked to the guy and have not studied his actions. All you’re doing is taking the media’s creation and even exaggerating it.

    1) The fight in the stands 5-6 years ago. I’m not sure if you have seen video of this fight. But Artest no doubt was not the AGRESSOR in this fight. He definitely “Settled” the fight, once it broke out. But note that there was no legal action taken against ARtest. Why not? He was DEFENDING himself and his teammate. If it was a case of straight up assault, why wasn’t ARtest arrested and then charged? Artest did what 50% of other NBA players would have done if put in that situation.

    2) League leaders in technicals? This year I know Rasheed Wallace was number 1 and Kendrik Perkins was #2. I’m not sure what place Artest is on that list.

    3) Wants to take time off to pursue another career? This is why he is INSANE, CRAZY? People are free to choose what they want to do with their own lives. That is the essense of being free. You use it as “evidence” that a man is crazy?

    4) Domestic violence? I’m not what the record is. Has Artest done any time in jail for anything? Has he ever been charged and found guilty in a court of law?

    You’ve got to be able to think outside of the media paradyme. Just cause they serve something on a platter for you doesn’t mean that you have to eat it. Question what the media tries to force feed you. Don’t take it and EXAGGERATE it.

  24. 330. Just so the facts are clear:

    Ron Ron was arrested and charged with a domestic violence misdemeanor, to which he pled no contest (he did not fight the charges). He was sentenced to community service.

    He also was cited on animal abuse charges, but he blamed his pet sitter for that. He now does PETA ads.

    Finally, I’m not sure how you define “aggressor” but clearly Artest was at the heart of the Palace Brawl:

    The brawl began with 45.9 seconds remaining in the game, when Indiana led the game 97–82. Piston center/forward Ben Wallace was fouled by Pacer forward Ron Artest from behind during a layup attempt. Wallace responded by shoving Artest in the face, which led to a physical confrontation between several players from both teams.[5] During the argument, Artest laid down on the scorer’s table while putting on a headset speaking with Mark Boyle on the local radio. He also taunted Wallace which led Wallace to throw an armband at him. A spectator, John Green, then threw a cup of beer at Artest while he was lying on the table, which hit Artest in the chest. Artest responded by running into the stands and shoving the man he mistakenly believed was responsible.

    We can debate the relevance and impact of those incidents, but they did occur.

  25. I find it interesting (actually highly annoying) that new posters are wandering in from who knows where and trying to lecture Kurt on his perceptions about Artest. The line seems to be, don’t pay attention to media hyperbole. Kurt then responds with objective facts.

    Kurt needs no defense, especially not form me – but may I suggest that newbies here do their research before spouting off, please?

    Try to remember – it’s better to be silent and thought a fool than to speak up and remove all doubt.

  26. Could the Lakers have signed Ariza for more than the MLE? The way I read the CBA Ariza wouldn’t qualify for the Larry or Early Bird exceptions. It would also be hard to do a sign and trade because Ariza is receiving more than a 20% raise and so counts as a Base Year Compensation player now.

  27. I was happy to see the Cavs get Shaq, I felt it would give the Lakers something to focus on toward their repeat. But when I saw the Artest move (Loco Laker #00) I was convinced that we now have another powerful movement in the locker room 100% of the time. Something very similar to what drove the Lakers in 2008-2009. I really cared for Ariza, but as has been stated herein above, go Mitch, another fantastic move. As a fan, I am again very much looking forward to a fantastic season, 65+ and the championship. Hopefully, we get the Celtics in the finals for 2009-2010 and the Cavs for 2010-2011, then it will be complete. No way anybody can ever doubt the dynasty of the 2008-2011 Lakers!!! Get Odom signed so we can all relax and enjoy our summer. for me that means studying for the July bar … ciao!

  28. Kurt #204

    I think that you’ve got me completely wrong. I wasn’t talking about you in specific at all. I was talking about basketball fans in GENERAL, and anti-ron people on this board in particular, in my first post. The only link I had with your name in my original post was an attempt to try and qualify the anti-ron artest people ON THIS BOARD, as it seems as though the “traditional” posters on this board are mostly anti-ron.

    So don’t think of it as YOU in particular but rather the anti-ron artest people ON THIS BOARD. Re-read my original post and i think that you will agree that you misinterpreted my line of thinking.

    That said, the anti-ron people seem to be in a few different groups:

    1) Artest is insane.
    2) Artest will mess with chemistry
    3) Artest’s qualities do not fit in with our offense, mainly his shot taking and iso dribbling.

    The people i’m talking about are in group #1 who post on this board. They have allowed the media to color their interpretation of Ron Artest.

  29. Ron Artest is ours at this point, and I personally believe that it will work out very well, with a few adventures–but not too much drama. What’s hard for me to imagine is that I will enjoy it more than I did this championship season with Trevor.

    The selfless and dramatic role that Trevor played, peaking in the playoffs, was almost like it was out of a fantasy Disney movie: Trevor making threes against the very Orlando team that doubted and traded him–after a series in which he stole the ball from Chauncy Billups to win a game against Denver.

    I thought that Trevor would be the one player that would span the Bryant era into the Bynum era. After three years, maybe the Lakers can trade to get him back?

    On the other hand, it will be interesting to see what the fanatical determination of a second quality player can do to drive the Lakers to another NBA championship–especially against a Shaqtacular Cavalier team determined to “win one for the King”–a King who has yet to comprehend how much a team game basketball really is. Of course, our new “Artest” may still have the same problem.

  30. kurt saying that lo is staying makes a world of difference.

  31. What’s up, is there anybody else here?
    If there’s anyone else here, let me know.
    Oh, and yes I’m a real person LOL.