The Art (and Artest) of Being A Fan

Kurt —  July 6, 2009

LAKERS VS ROCKETS
A fan’s relationship with a sports team is something like his or her relationship with their family — there are times it is strained, times of anger, times of frustration, but ultimately you almost always come back to them because, well, they are your family. The bond there is strong, built up over years and decades, one too strong to be broken for anything but the worst of offenses.

The signing of Ron Artest has had me thinking about all that this past weekend. Any regular visitor to this blog in the last couple years will tell you I have been ardently opposed to the Lakers getting Ron Artest. I am rarely someone who thinks in terms of absolutes — that something is all good or all bad. But on this blog, Artest was about as absolute as I got, I didn’t want him here. In the past few days I have had to step back, look at myself and that stance, compromise in my mind and move forward.

There are things that are very different than when I ranted against Artest in the past. First, the talk at the time was trading Odom for Artest, something I would still oppose. But that is not what has happened here — this essentially turned out to be a swap of Artest for Trevor Ariza. And Artest is coming in here at what only can be described as a fantastic price for the talent. It’s hard to be unhappy at a good deal.

Still the loss of Ariza saddens me. It has been amazing to see on this and other boards people dismissing Ariza — those people must have a foggy memory of the playoffs and finals. The Lakers would not be champions without Ariza, who hit timely threes and did things on defense like frustrate Hedo Turkoglu that nobody else had done to Orlando before. And he was a player that had really grown on the court in the past year, we (or at least I) have a very fond spot for players we watch mature and develop in our team’s uniforms. While I intellectually understand what happened, there is a bit of a mourning process.

But we have to move on as fans.

Ultimately, it will come down to me accepting Artest, someone I had preached against the Lakers getting. While I don’t like to be wrong, this is one of those moments for he as a fan when my heart must overrule my head. I have to root for Artest now, and that is an adjustment mentally.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand on paper just what a great fit Artest is in the triangle — he adds another very versatile weapon to a team and system predicated on versatility. He can drain the three and should get more open looks to do so. He can post up almost any three in the league (and you can’t move your four over to cover him unless you want Pau Gasol in a mismatch). He is the kind of physical defender the Lakers need so Kobe Bryant isn’t spending all game playing ball-denial defense on LeBron or trying to keep Carmelo out of the post.

But I don’t think you can follow his history and just dismiss it as the meaningless past. I don’t see how you can watch how he played in Houston (yelling at PGs to get him the ball regardless of the hot hand, shooting them out of games against us) or Sacramento or Indiana or Chicago and say with certainty be different this time. Change happens but it is almost always a tumultuous process. Like all of us, Artest is the sum of his past experiences, and at this point I think Artest largely is who he is. I’m curious to see how a guy who posts cell phone conversations with his agent on Youtube fits in with the rather button-down management of the Lakers.

I cannot just ignore or dismiss my concerns. That he has been an offensive black hole coming to a team that is about ball and player movement. That he could struggle to deal with being offensive option three or four on the court at any given time.

But sometimes, whether it be as a fan or a family member, we need to move on from what is done and embrace the future. Embrace the possibilities. Embrace the hope. I’m a Lakers fan. I want the team to win. And that means as of today I am an Artest fan. I have his back. I can see the positive possibilities and I will cheer for them. I hope he gets a ring as a member of the Lakers.

I have hope that it can be so. For once I don’t want to be right.

Kurt

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123 responses to The Art (and Artest) of Being A Fan

  1. I kind of had to go with that photo, it cracked me up.

  2. If loving you is wrong, I don’t want to be right.

  3. Kurt,

    We’re in the same boat.

  4. I wish Ariza all the best with the Rockets. I was sad to see him go, especially the way it went down, and I hope he does well and continues to develop with that team. I was actually very surprised to hear that he had gone, I expected the Lakers organization to do more to try and keep him–we would never have won the Finals without him. Whatever else we have to say about this whole situation, let’s at least remember that.

    Good luck Trevor! And fire that agent of yours.

    Ron, I don’t like you, and I never have. But I never liked Smush Parker either, and you can at least make open threes and play solid defense. Welcome to LA.

    (Kurt, you summed up my feelings on this almost perfectly. I don’t like Artest, never have, and never wanted him. My instant reaction when I was told he was going to sign with the Lakers was “NOOO!”, but you’re right. He’s on the team now, and we don’t get to pick and choose which members of the team we root for. If defending the title becomes easier with Artest on the roster, then I’ll take him. And I will cheer for him, though probably very reluctantly at fist.)

  5. I think the hard part for fans is letting go of a young player (Ariza) who came out of nowhere to be a average starting SF for “our” team and who made great contributions during a memorable championship run. So its hard for us to think of any player being better and/or better for “our” team than “our” guy. But I think we have to realize we were just in love with Ariza and didn’t see him for the limited player that he was. What he did bring was speed and great team defense.

  6. I think this is Artests chance to finally put everything together. To say he is crazy is an understatement but he brings something our teams can use – defense and 3 pt shooting.

    I felt sad loosing Trevor but no hard feelings towards gaining Artest. Artest looks up to Kobe so much that i think he will do everything to be a good teammate. I dont mind him being on the squad. My mind would be at rest as soon as we have Odom signed.

  7. Man did you read my mind =)

  8. Great post, Kurt. I, too, spent the entire weekend talking myself into the Artest era…and I think I was successful.

    One of the great parts of being fan is you get to be completely irrational when it comes to your team, and everybody silently understands.

    Like a lot of Laker fans, I’m going to be irrationally optimistic and accepting of Ron-Ron – throw my full support behind him – because these are still the Lakers.

    Two side notes:

    1) I really liked Ariza, too, and one of the biggest shames for him is he was developing into a really terrific, all-around player – without having Kobe Bryant as a personal tutor, I can’t see the same development occuring in Houston. I think losing and lack of direction is going to stagnate his growth.

    2) Sasha Vujicic managed last year to do what only Kwame Brown had managed to do before him: actually turn the Laker fans against him. Our irrational love of our players can only take us so far. Though, I did feel a little bad for him when he was booed when the players were announced at the end of the victory parade.

    But only a little.

  9. With all the moves being made in the NBA, this is huge for the Lakers. They got better, and did not have to get rid of Odom, Kobe, Bynum or Gasol to do so. It will be sad to see Ariza go, but I am not sure if Ariza can sustain that hot shooting for an entire season (sasha, where were you last season after we gave you that big contract). Artest shot 39.9% from the three last season, and he should get plenty of looks this year as the lakers have tons of talent to spread the floor. On top of that, the Lakers have a physical beast that can contend with Ginobli, Carmelo, Lebron and Pierce. This keeps Kobe fresh to be the closer.

  10. DARIUS (7),

    *Why fix something that isn’t broken?
    There is a reason most championship teams don’t repeat. And one of those reasons is that other teams get better. And one of the reasons is that just because you win a championship doesn’t mean you are a perfect team. Teams should always try and improve. As Jon Hollinger said… the Lakers now have another star at one of the two positions where they didn’t have one (PG & SF).

    *Artest will screw up our chemistry?
    Where has he screwed up chemistry before? His teammates have loved him wherever he has been. He has been in trouble with the law and the league before… but never with coaches and teammates.

    *He will try and steal the spotlight from Kobe and Pau?
    Where has he tried to do that before? He isn’t Amare or Marion who in the past has wanted more “credit” for team success and has demanded the ball more. Last year he played 3rd banana to Yao and to TMAC before of course they got hurt.

    So… I don’t really understand where you are getting this from. Please explain.

  11. Winning heals many things. Shaq-Kobe team was a dysfunctional one at best. Yet, the team played great team game when it mattered in the Playoffs.

    This league is about talent. With Boston, Orlando, and Cavs all making upgrades this season, it would have been foolish for us to stand pat, especially if we have to overpay Ariza to do so.

    Sure, I would have liked to see Ariza blossom into an All-star, but the reality is that he’s at least 2-3 years away from reaching that level. He does have potential, but he also have flaws, such as lacking bulk to deal with Melo, Bron, and Pierce.

    Artest is an unstable player, but is he more unstable than Rodman? If Phil handled Rodman before, I think he can deal with Artest.

    Like I said, winning heals a lot of things, even Ron-Ron’s craziness.

  12. I was one of those who was vehemently opposed to the deal as soon as I heard about it last week. My friends and I were divided equally regarding it and furiously trading emails and texts arguing about it.

    Even though I fully admit Ron’s greater talent over Ariza’s, my reservations regarding Ron’s fit into the system was expressed very well in previous posts by others. I’ve never been a rotisserie kind of guy when it comes to players and teams. I put a large value on how pieces fit and how teams come together. Of course talent is important but often unless the talent gap is immense, a team with less talent but better cohesiveness and intangibles can and will overcome the more talented team.

    I thought what Ariza brought fit the team’s needs perfectly. He doesn’t need the ball in his hands to be effective, slashes well, great anticipation and nose for making the right play. Always showed up to play with a lot of heart and hustle. The sum was greater than the whole of the parts.

    That said, it’s time to close ranks. Ariza will be gone. Ron is here. As a Laker fan, I am rooting whole heartedly for his and the team’s success. I may dislike Ron’s past and the bad basketball decisions and plays that have been exhibited repeatedly in his past stops. But i hope very hard that I am completely wrong in how he will fit in. That the team, Phil, Kobe, LO And Fish will be strong enough to make him fit into the system. And by fitting him, he will help garner another ring for my favorite team in all sports.

  13. @Burgundy
    Smush Parker did a pretty good job of that as well…

    @Aaron
    With regards to Artest trying to steal the spotlight… he does seem like the type of person who loves being the center of attention. Whether that is fine as long as it’s not during games and on the court, we’ll see.

    As a part of my “talk myself into liking”-Artest project, I keep reminding myself that he took less money to come to LA… that he has openly stated several times that he wants to play with Kobe and help him win a championship. His intentions are good, and hopefully enough to keep his efforts focused on good things and not on going mental. :)

    I just realized something…!

    Speaking of which, does anyone have a list on mental breakdown head-case actions of Artest in the past? I know his reputation, but it occurred to me that aside from the big 2004 brawl I don’t know anything specific… and I can’t seem to find anything, only mentions of his troubled past. What exactly has he done (and where and when was it)?

    Oh, and as for the 2004 brawl, no, he should absolutely not have charged into the crowd or started beating a fan. But let’s give him credit for staying out of the fight until someone threw their beer cup at his head. I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one here who would react with anger if someone threw their filled beer nug at the back of my head.

  14. Kurt, rest easy and smile.

    I can confidently say that Ron Artest will fit in with our Lakers. I’ve watched him play over the years. In Indiana, he had his share of problems on the court. But at the time he was young and was the best perimeter player on that team. When you are the best player on a team and young, sometimes a feeling of entitlement develops (ie entitled to be the captain, the go-to guy, entitled to get the credit, etc.). I think we’ve seen similar things from Kobe when he was younger (as note: I am a huge Kobe fan).
    Now lets fast forward to Sacramento and Houston. In short, he was the best player on those teams and he felt he needed the ball for them to win. There was no trust and it led to plenty of poor shots. Similar to what we saw with Kobe during the Smush Parker era. Trust takes time to be earned and there was simply not enough time for that trust to develop. When Tracy and Yao were in top form, he actually played some great team ball during that time. And sure, he yelled at Houston’s PGs. But then again those guys can’t throw an entry pass into the post to save their lives. The Blazers neutralized Yao by fronting him and the PG’s could not get him the ball. So that inability not only affected Yao’s ability in the post but Artest’s. Instead of posting up, he was forced to create from the perimeter and it was a recipe for disaster. (However, even his one on one game was never that bad. Even though he can take a guy off the dribble, he’s not good enough to beat 2 or 3 defenders the way other superstars can. With the Lakers, I doubt he will ever be double teamed and will mostly likely be the third player on the defenders’ minds.)
    At this point in his career, Artest has matured and is ready to play a role. He knows this is Kobe’s team. He has always shown respect and admiration for Kobe. This is not just a recent theme but a consistent one even during their most heated battles on the court. I hate to see Ariza go, but I have my doubts about him ever being a perenial all star. I know he’s 24 years old and his shot has improved, but he still can’t create a shot for himself or his teamates. Seeing how Cleveland, Boston, and Orlando have all improved, we needed another all star on the perimeter who can not only hit the open J but create their own shot. This is what Artest brings along with his work ethic and tremendous defense. If we do get him a for a three year deal, then even better. If his skills decline, then we will be in a position to replace him. This trade improves an immediate need, while not mortgaging our future completely.

  15. What happened to Darius’ post at #7? Or was someone posing as Darius?

  16. RE: 13

    I agree with you to a certain extent about Smush – but I don’t remember him ever being openly booed by Laker fans (as Kwame and Sasha were).

  17. yeah, I was going to ask the same thing? I always enjoy reading Darius’ point of view.
    so where did it go?

    and when are we going to hear about LO?
    isn’t tomorrow the date the talks can begin? at least officially?

  18. There was a comment under the name Darius and two under my name that were not from us. They have been removed.

  19. Just so you guys know, that wasn’t *me*. I moderated the comment because it seemed fishy. I mean, I just wrote about Artest yesterday. My opinions on the matter are pretty clear.

    Also, great post by Kurt. I think he summed up a lot of fans’ thoughts about Artest and Ariza.

  20. I have a great deal of respect for this blog. People are level headed and tend to make very good points.

    This makes it really hard to understand why people are having such a hard time realizing that signing artest is a net positive for the Lakers.

    Artest is a better player than Ariza NOW. Aside from all of the concrete benefits he will bring such as size, strength, defense, 3pt shooting, etc., there are intangibles as well.

    When Kobe gets hard fouled, I will look to Artest to get in that person’s face. When a team has a superstar scorer, I will look to artest to play tough, grinding, physical D.

    More importantly, he brings an attitude. I’m not saying Artest will be to the Lakers what Garnett is for the Celtics, but consider: would the Celtics D be what it is without Garnett’s infectious attitude?

    Artest is stable. The palace debacle was 5 years ago and he has stayed under the radar since. Phil’s been open about his wanting Artest for the past 3 years, and there is an obvious admiration he has for Kobe.

    All in all, Artest is a net gain for the Lakers.

    On a side note, with the Celts acquisition of Sheed, doesn’t the mantra of the past few seasons ring true yet again? “It will depend on Bynum, as he will be needed to guard ______.”

  21. Exactly the process I’ve been going through.

    I am really sad about Trevor leaving, and am worried about Artest’s inefficiency and occasional sheer basketball stupidity, and right now having a hard time seeing the potential benefits.

    But once he hits some game-winners and starts shutting down ‘Melo in game 7 of the conference finals, I’m sure I’ll be singing his praises…

  22. #15:
    Fair enough, Smush was never booed the way Kwame Brown was.

  23. Ric Bucher on Twitter reports Blazers not interested in LO, citing source.

  24. Coffee is For Closers July 6, 2009 at 3:19 pm

    I think this is a classsic case of when life (David Lee) gives you lemon, make lemonade. Kudos to the Buss’ pockebook and Mitch for having a plan in case they couldn’t get ariza back.

    I think its a great move in terms of getting Kobe off the Bron’s, Pierce’s and Melo’s of the world. Just free’s Kobe up all that much more.

    I’ll miss trevor of course. Even though we were his 3rd team, it felt like he was “our’s” since he’s from here, and blossomed here.

  25. I like your point about watching a player develop. To me it is means much more to watch a player develop then to sign a free agent. I still have fond memories of the Eddie Jones, Nick the Quick and Elden Campbell teams. They didn’t get close to winning everything, but watching players develop their games and achieve (or even failing) their potential forms a large part of my connection to the Lakers. As such I hate to see Ariza go. The Lakers didn’t draft him, but he became a viable NBA starter during his short time with the team.

  26. 13, Mimsy, I was going to write something about that, but the link in Kurt’s post goes to an editorial by timbo at SSNR, and he covers Artest’s many levels of crazy pretty well.

  27. I’m gonna miss Ariza so much, I loved the quiet way he went around doing work, how he was focused for every single play in the game. You guys probably remember the celtics game where he ran all the way down the court to save the ball when everybody had already given up on the play, how huge plays like that swung the momentum of the game. Everybody knew he wasn’t the most talented player, but he more than made up for it in effort and constant intensity.

    I’m also reminded of the half-time show in the Finals when they told us about his brother, and how I got emotional too and felt his pain.

    I guess what I’m trying to say is that it’s a huge tragedy that Trevor had to go, and hopefully maybe someday he can find his way back to his hometown, where he’s always going to be welcome. Also, Ron Artest, talented and strong and tough as he may be, is going to have to play hard and use his head if he wants to fill in the gap left by Trevor Ariza.

    Thanks Trevor, for the good times, and for helping us get the last ring that we all wanted so bad.

  28. Also, I still love Sasha. He never lacks effort and all you hear about him off the court is how hard he works. The mistakes he makes are not due to low basketball IQ or not trying. I think he tried to add some elements to his game last summer that weren’t ready for NBA level basketball. Hopefully he either perfects them or drops them from his game during this summer. I also love the fact that a couple years ago when the Lakers were losing to the Rockets and Alston did a little dribbling to show up the Lakers Sasha whacked him.

  29. mikeinchitown July 6, 2009 at 3:44 pm

    I think what makes it hard for people is the bang-bang play of losing Ariza, a fan favorite, coupled with Artest’s controversial signing. Had Ariza spurned us, left us squirming for a few weeks, then we “lucked” into Artest, he’d be portrayed as a savior.

    If I can root for Rodman, Elden Campbell, Medvedenko, Travis Knight, Anthony Peeler- I can root for Artest. Colors bleed, but blood stains.

    I think the outpouring of support for Ariza properly eulogizes his contributions to the 2009 title run. But now we’ve got bigger issues- like signing Odom and Brown (and Kobe’s broken finger?).

  30. During the weekend, I was saying the same thing Kurt said to a friend. My heart says one thing, my head says another. However, one idea did pop-up which was possibly having Artest on the bench, like what the Lakers do with Larmar. Luke can be the steady presence on the starting team and Ron can be “the man” against the opposing 2nd string players. The bench would be exceeding strong and truly be a “Bench Mob”.

    Bench Lineup:
    Farmar/Brown
    Sasha/Brown
    Artest
    Lamar
    Pau/Bynum

    That’s a lot of length, strength, defense and shooting to attack the opposing bench. Then to close the game, have the lineup of Fish, Kobe, Artest, LO, and Pau where Artest probably won’t try and be a hero.

  31. Hard one for me too, Kurt. Trevor has quickly become one of my favorite players, and the pride Laker fans could take in Mitch’s trade for him was immense (aside: I really liked Mo Evans, but hated Cook so much that I loved this trade the second I heard about it–and I had no idea who Trevor Ariza was! It felt that good to jettison Brian “if i dribble i must surely miss” Cook).

    This would have been much easier if we were left in the lurch by losing TA, and Mitch’s save was to bring in Artest. I think I would have seen this as genius had it gone down that way. But I get the impression that some combination of Mitch and Dr. Buss (and maybe Jimmy B as well) saw this as the right move even before it looked like TA was moving on. I find it hard to believe that agent David Lee’s silly posturing had any effect on our veteran management team.

    That said, I move that Laker fans give Trevor Ariza a standing ovation on his next visit to Staples. And I think we should relentlessly boo player David Lee as a proxy for agent David Lee.

  32. Artest will fit into the Triangle perfectly. He’s like Rick Fox on steroids, the perfect SF for that offense.

  33. 30. Bernie

    I like this idea. Didn’t Lamar say he thought he’d play some PG next year?

  34. Anyone else hear Phil Jackson on KLAC about Artest going in the shower with Kobe after the Boston series in 08? That was pretty funny, and after hearing him talk about this situation just makes me more confident and excited for the new season!

  35. Artest did not take less money to play with LA. Unless somoene offered him a bigger contract (which I never saw anywhere). Houston waived their Bird rights to him which means all they could have offered him was the MLE. No team with cap space seemed interested so all he was ever going to get this year was MLE money.

  36. ps. according to Jackson Artest didn’t wash or towel Kobe off or anything like that.. sorry if the way I put it made some bad images ;)

  37. IMHO, Trevor and/or his agent made the mistake of playing hardball with a team that had other options by overestimating his value. I like Trevor and was really happy with his progress as the post-season wore on, but I am part of the camp that believes Ron-Ron is an upgrade over Ariza and at a better price than ever before…remember when Ron wouldn’t come to LA two years ago because he said he was a superstar that deserved 15-18 mil…LOL?!

    Above all, Phil & Kobe can handle this guy…and he wants to be handled by them. In his Fox Sports interview yesterday, he stated that he has always wanted to play with Kobe and that he loves PJ. The shower story from June 2008 in Boston is hysterical if it’s true (Phil says it is). Either way, there won’t be any confusion as to whose team this is. Period.

  38. #26, Zephid,
    Thanks! I’m at work, so haven’t had a chance to look at Kurt’s link on Artest’s history yet, but now I’ll definitely do that when I get home! :)

  39. Ariza was just on 570… he said the Lakers never made him an offer. They told him they thought he would only be offered the MLE from any team and the next day when he thought they could discuss and take the MLE he heard the Lakers already signed Artest.

    So it seems the Lakers never wanted to resign Ariza cause they knew Artest was in the bag.

  40. OK ..I just awoke from an afternoon nightmare. There, in Staples Center was Ron-Ron beating the crap out of Diane Cannon and Leonardo DiCaprio…with Shannon Brown and Odom watching his back. It was ugly …DiCaprio had a foam #1 finger on and kept trying to raise it high whilst among the popcorn beneath the seats…. Cannon’s face looked like Heath Ledgers in Batman.

    It’s just a dream, It’s just a dream… I kept telling myself.

    I think I’m looking forward to this next season even more than last year!!

  41. My 2¢ guess on how the Ariza/Mitch thing went down.

    David Lee meets with Mitch and as Aaron said they thought he was going to get the MLE. Lee tells them he thinks Ariza should get $50 million over five years. Mitch says — go find that in the marketplace. So, no offer is formally made, but everybody knows where everybody stands. Lee then goes to the media and rants, while Mitch checks on Artest as his other option. Ron-Ron jumps, meets with Buss and talks with Phil while Ariza and his people shop around for a non-existent market. Lakers sign Artest.

  42. Also, I don’t think the real back story on all of this will be clear for a while…there will be multiple sources saying multiple things, but it takes a while for the truth to reveal itself. The NBA past is full of such situations…many of which we still don’t know really know about.

  43. At the end of the day, David Lee is 90% to blame. I mean come on: We sent Big Shot Rob down the road in similar fashion. Did he really think we couldn’t live without Ariza? We will be a better team next year and one day Trevor will whimsy of a return or a never have left day.

  44. 40. Would the league even fine you for hitting DiCaprio?

  45. if you havent heard ariza on am570 its a good listen, he sounds pretty upset about not being a laker.

    http://www.am570radio.com/pages/pc/

  46. Coffee is For Closers July 6, 2009 at 4:49 pm

    Didn’t hear the interview, but what else is Trevor going to say, or how else would his agent spin in to him? “hey, sorry trevor, I F’d up with the Lakers, but here’s a 2nd best deal with a lottery bound club.” Obviously, Trevor is parroting what Lee told him. He likely doesn’t know whole truth unless he was in the room or on the line – not bloody well likely.

  47. Coffee is For Closers July 6, 2009 at 4:51 pm

    45. thanks, but to be honest, I can’t listen to it if he really is upset. Breaks my heart for the kid.

    when brinksmenship goes wrong…

  48. Just to add to what Kurt said, David Lee was asked if Ariza would accept a deal from another team without giving the Lakers notice or a chance to match and he said, “Yes, we have no choice. That’s the position they’ve put us in.” Then, it’s basically open season for the Lakers to find a replacement before they get burned. That’s just covering all your bases and generally, just being smart.

    Now when Artest became available and he have offers from Cleveland and other contenders, the Lakers had to decide whether to quickly jump on the opportunity or risk losing both Artest and (based on David Lee’s words – face value) Ariza to contenders. To me, David Lee was the tipping point that forced the Lakers hand. If he would have done things in a thoughtful manner, it would be possibly that the Lakers would have been more patient and confident that they could re-sign Ariza. In the end, David Lee opened the door to get Artest over his own client.

  49. With regards to Ariza-Artest… Ariza’s agent could not doubt have handled the situation a lot better, however, what Mitch has done is just what we were so appreciative of just a couple of months ago: Whatever he needs to do to improve the team. He’s doing his job.

  50. Multiple sports twitters say ShanWOW has re-signed with the Lakers for 2 yrs, $4.2 mil total. I believe B Turner from the LA Times is the source. Hope it’s true. Come on, Lamar!

  51. @48

    That’s money, dude.

  52. 2nd year is player option.

  53. Its good to know that Shannon Brown is back with the Lakers.

    http://twitter.com/YahooSportsNBA

  54. Does anyone know where Kobe has been the last week? It seems to me that he would have chimed in on the Artest trade by now.

    Ariza saying that on KLAC just shows you that his agent overestimated his value. If Mitch would have hesistated on signing Artest while waiting for Lee to come back to earth, Ron-ron would be with Lebron today. Thank you Trevor. Good luck in Houston.

  55. according to yahoo! sports shanWOW brown will sign a 2 year deal worth 4.2 million with the lakers.

    i like that very much.

  56. Coffee is For Closers July 6, 2009 at 5:07 pm

    Solid for shanon, he’s auditioning for the starting job over the next 2 years, and very reasonable deal for the lakers.

    love it.

    bring in lamar, and mitch, I’m giving you a few weeks of vacation time.

  57. Kevin Pelton over at basketball prospectus took a look at free agent SGs. Although this was not a great crop of guards, he placed SB in the 2nd tier.

  58. Thanks for the AM570 link, it really does sound like the Lakers didn’t even put forth a good effort to re-sign Trevor. Yes, there’s some blame to place to David Lee but the history of Lakers wanting RonRon combined with Trevor’s description of how things went down certainly makes it seem like Trevor was indeed option B. Very very sad. But as fans of the team, we should trust the front office and their decisions. After all they let go of last year’s fan favorite (Ronny) and the moves made ended up helping us get the championship. In Mitch we trust!

  59. Is it just me or does that seem to be a lot of money to give to Shannon?

  60. 55. Kobe is touring Asia with Nike Basketball.

  61. Good to see Shannon resigned, too.. this almost spells out that either Farmar or Vujacic (or both) are on their way out.

  62. As we all know I don’t value Fisher’s skills in the slightest… so I am very happy the Lakers resigned Brown since I think he is the teams best PG.

  63. Yes! The reign of the WOW will continue!

    I’m ecstatic. This kid could really grow in our system, with a full offseason and training camp under his belt. And I love the way he goes about his business. Two years is perfect – not over-committing based on a few months’ of play, but enough time to see how he’ll grow and change.

  64. Nothing but love for Ariza, his agent dropped the ball on this one.

    With that being said, I don’t see Trevor being as effective as he was this year, although with H-Town’s stars out, he and Brooks can really get crazy this year.

    Win-win situation for everybody, Trevor got his money and starring role, while Lakers get an upgrade in Artest.

    It’s gonna be funny to see what David Lee (Ariza and Bynum’s agent) will do now that he’s been exposed and humiliated by the Laker FO.

  65. I’m down with Brown coming back – but at that money?

    I am not going to feel at peace about this off season until LO is signed. I confess to being very nervous about that at the moment.

  66. i am a little nervous too. i hope lamar is gonna be signed soon. 8.5 – 9 million has to be enough to keep him. i hope he will ink a purple and gold contract asap.

  67. Coffee is For Closers July 6, 2009 at 5:34 pm

    66. I’m not too nervous. #1 LO wants to be here. #2 his agent seems to be quielty going about his business fielding interest in his client #3 the lakers have expressed their desire to have him back, albeit at a reduced salary figure.

    With Portland expressing a lack of interest, is there a better offer out there? I’m not seeing it. I see a 3yr, 24M deal in store for LO keeping him right here.

  68. Really excited to see WOW back in the mix. I think he could be a very valuable piece.

  69. About LO from cbssports.com:

    Despite reports that the Trail Blazers were preparing to make a major bid for Knicks restricted free agent David Lee, a coaching source familiar with the situation said Portland is more interested in the Lakers’ Lamar Odom. And the source described the Odom situation with Portland as “lukewarm.” The Blazers and Lee’s agent, Mark Bartelstein, discussed the situation early in the negotiating period, but Portland was preoccupied at that time with its pursuit of Hedo Turkoglu. Now that Turkoglu has spurned the Blazers and committed to the Raptors, Portland is deliberating what to do with its $9 million in cap space.

  70. I was also against any Artest to LA move but I never disliked him. He’s seriously one of the most entertaining players out there and clearly tries to make himself accessible to the fans with the video blog and twitter. And if he drops any more casual stories about guys getting impaled on the playground, it’ll make the season that much more entertaining. If we’re going to keep up the family analogy, Artest is the crazy cousin who makes sure family gatherings are never boring, even if it means setting something on fire. In the end, basketball is about entertainment, and while Artest will likely have you pulling out some hairs, I think he’ll make a fan out of most of the people who didn’t want him here.

  71. VoR – That contract is right at market value for Shannon Brown. I think he made $1.6 million last season.

    I think the Lakers used their Bi-Annual Exception to re-up Brown. They only have the veterans minimum to work with.

    Uh, theoretically, can’t the Lakers still re-sign Ariza? I know that ship has probably sailed but I’m curious since they have his rights.

  72. Much as I love Shannon Brown, that deal is really really bad. 4.2 mil for two years is way too much, IMO, and the 2nd year player option makes no sense. This is really the most Shannon could’ve asked for, and we gave it to him with no real competition? The money isn’t too heinous, but the player option is just idiotic. It’s a lose-lose for the Lakers; either Brown gets good, opts out and asks for more money next year, or Brown tanks and he picks up his option and takes up our cap space. Frankly, if we’re going to pay him 2+ mil per year, we should’ve gotten a team option for the 2nd year out of it.

    I think this goes to show that the reason the front office was hesitant with Ariza was because of the Vujacic/Walton contracts. They’re obviously willing to overspend money if they’re going to give Brown 4 mil over 2 years, but they didn’t want to get locked up in another long-term, mid-level, cap-eating contract with a role player.

  73. Hooray for more WOW! I loved seeing him blossom this year. 2M+ does seem a bit high, but I think he has as good a shot as anyone of being PG of the future.

    On Artest. There’s not much more we can say about the past… I don’t mean to put it behind us, but I think we’ve learned most of what we’re going to learn and now we’re just processing. Ron is going to win us over (or lose us under) going forward now. I will say that I did learn something new from Timbo’s write-up… Can you believe Ron was a MATH MAJOR!? Dude must have (1) brain and (2) balls to major in something that hard. I have to say that as bummed as I am about Trevor and as much of a knucklehead as I’ve though Ron to be, I remain crazily optimistic about next year’s team.

    I find it extremely sad if Ariza is so bummed about not being a Laker… Sad enough that I don’t want to listen to the link. I loved watching that guy play.

  74. 71, E-Roc, Brown made 800k last season, the minimum.

    The Lakers won’t re-sign Ariza, first because they won’t absorb the luxury tax hit for the additional 6 mil it would cost them, and they won’t do a sign-and-trade because he’d be a BYC guy making him nearly impossible to trade.

  75. 73, Apricot, omg I totally didn’t see that he was a math major. I’m now Ron Artest’s biggest fan, gotta show some love for a fellow math major.

  76. Zephid,

    I agree with you both on the Brown comment – and the Ariza one.

    I think the Lakers do feel they got burned on both the Luke and Sasha contracts in restrospect. Although I think we all loved Ariza and he was a huge part of the championship run – one more long term contract for a role player making more than he is worth on the open market would be brutal.

  77. Ps. Lakersblog.latimes.com reports that ShanWOW turned down more money from Pacers to stay. That explains the highish contract.

  78. Zephid – Isn’t that the amount the Lakers paid him for the rest of the season after the transaction was made? Meaning the Bobcats paid the first half of his season salary.

  79. Just realized, there’s another Simon out there.

    Calling out Snoopy and P. Ami, it was me who referenced you two in previous comments. I’ll be Simonoid from now on.

  80. You could also look at the player option as a statement that shamWow believes that he will have a good year next year to justify opting out, essentially he has incentive to prove he’s worth more.

    On this team, he’s going to have a lot of opportunities to do that given Derek’s age and Jordon’s inconsistency.

  81. Great news about Shannon Brown! That makes me happy. :)

    Yes, he’ll be getting a very good salary for a 3rd string point guard, but if he continues to develop in his direction, I think we’ll be glad we were able to keep him. Though I don’t know what the Pacers offered home (and I can’t find a number anywhere) I’m happy to hear that he was willing ot accept a lower offer to stay in LA.

    Lamar, are you listening? Are you taking notes?

    Yes, the Lamar situation is making me nervous :(

  82. Shannon contract seems a bit high, but if there were competing offers, it’s still quite reasonable since he do need to get a Fisher replacement and we can’t get one out of the FA market because of the triangle. So having both Farmar (who may be later used in a trade) and Shannon was important.

    Being a fan, and coming after a championship, you love EVERYONE on the team. If the guy has produced highlight reels on critical junctures, against Denver and Orlando, the love just becomes thick.

    But in the end, as a team, you do what you feel you have to do. Loyalties only go so far, and I think if we had him as the #1 option, which means we talked to him before anyone else, that’s more than what you can ask for, especially if the MLE is already close to double what you were making last year.

    Think of it from a more, level-headed perspective: the guy improved, sure, but did he improve so much that he commands nearly twice what he made before? You assess his potential for growth, the increased level of competition, and Kobe’s window… and there isn’t much choice.

    And the best thing about this is… how would we feel, had Artest went to Cleveland? Don’t just think of this as us adding a player… think of it also as preventing some other team from getting him. LeBron and Artest on the same team, wearing Kobe down is absolutely nightmarish, especially if there’s Shaq camping on the paint even if Kobe gets past them.

  83. I’m glad to hear SB will be back next season. I think he has a lot of potential and could potentially be our starting pg over Farmar.

    I will miss Ariza. I really really like him. I think with the Lakers, he could only get better. I don’t know how he’ll progress with Houston, but I wish him the best. One thing I’m not looking forward to is TA creating turnovers and stealing the ball from Kobe in close game situations at the end of games when Kobe is going into hero mode.

    I’m still lukewarm on Artest. Not a fan of his craziness. He may have skills but I’m still doubtful about how he will change the dynamics of the team chemistry and role-wise. We’ll see. I also hope his off-court antics (like that video of his convo with his agent he posted) doesn’t cause problems for the team and franchise that may hurt on-court chemistry.

    We’ll see. I’m hoping for the best. Hopefully we can get Odom signed soon too.

  84. I don’t post to blogs much but I’m so disheartened by having Ron Artest attached to the Laker name. The only time I felt worse about a player was when Dennis Rodman was a Laker. To top it off, to lose what I thought was one of the most important pieces of the chemistry that was the Lakers this year, Trevor Ariza, only adds injury to insult.

    Being originally from Indiana I’ve always followed the Pacers from a distance while being a Laker fan since the mid-seventies. I saw Ron Artest come into the league as a Bull and then hated that he was a Pacer. I didn’t like his attitude, his style, his shot, anything about him.

    I thought it was magical when Mitch got Ariza in the first place, when he rid us of Brian Cook and finally every piece of the puzzle was in place. Had Ariza and Bynum been healthy it would have been a championship for L.A. in 2008! Why break this up?

    I’ve been a huge Kobe supporter, believed in him when he had problems with ‘The Big Loafer’, believed in him with all the other issues and respected his willingness to grow as a player and to learn the team game that he never had a chance to learn in his youth. But if he is behind this acquisition of Artest I’m sorely disappointed.

    No, its not just about winning, not with the Lakers. It’s about winning the L.A. way, the Magic Johnson, Kareem Jabbar, James Worthy, Michael Cooper, Jerry West, and all the rest of the Laker greats. The name Ron Artest just doesn’t fit …

    I’m wondering if I can even watch next year …

  85. Someone mentioned earlier that Ariza won’t grow as much without Kobe as his mentor. While that is true, he will be mentored by Shane Battier, who everyone knows is a defensive wiz. If Ariza can pick up Shane’s IQ along with his athleticism, he will be a first team all-D player before his time in Houston is done.

  86. I don’t mind Artest being a chucker – because of his alpha-dog mentality, he draws a lot of attention, and some of the easiest buckets come from put-backs. Are not the Laker’s front line some effective Offensive rebounders?

  87. 87. The best rebounding teams in the NBA grab about 30% of their missed shots. It is not a good strategy to go from an efficient shooter to a less efficient one for the less than 1 in 3 chance you get the rebound. And said rebound is not an assurance of a made basket to follow.

  88. aww Ariza i missed his voice so much=(

    thanks to whoever posted that podcast.

    he sounds like he would be willing to come back to LA in the future.

  89. The Dude Abides July 6, 2009 at 7:44 pm

    Do we know the specific yearly salaries of Shannon’s next two seasons yet? It’s possible that it could be something like $1.8 mill next season and a $2.4 mill player option the season after. That would help lower the luxury tax bill a little bit.

  90. One of the more overlooks stats is usage rate. The problem with Ariza is, I do not know if he has the capability to be as good as he was, when increasing his usage. With no ball dominator in Houston, Im sure one will see more of his drives, that arent, even with his nifty mini hooks, the most efficent. As a Laker fan, losing Trevor was hard, but it seems plausible that losing the Lakers may be hard on Trevor as wlel.

  91. While the $2mil is pretty steep for a third string PG,it’s pretty reasonable for a player who might end up being the back-up SG as well.

  92. 79, E-ROC, according to Larry Coon’s salary cap FAQ, when salaries are calculated (for luxury tax purposes, which are the only ones that matter), the only players taken into account are those on a team during the last regular season game. Thus, Brown’s full contract value of 800k+ counts against only the Lakers cap, not the Bobcats. And yes, his contract was a one-year minimum deal for 800k+

  93. Anyone want to read about Kobe’s take on the Artest/Ariza situation?

    http://forums.lakersground.net/viewtopic.php?t=93592

  94. That Ariza interview was very, very illuminating. Hearing him talk directly revealed some things we probably suspected, but didn’t know for sure:

    It seems like Mitch/Buss really wanted Artest over Ariza and did a clever job of putting it on Lee (or rather, Lee made himself the scapegoat with his awful PR). That’s contrary to the hoopsworld report, though, that said Artest was Plan B. I say that because, from Ariza’s words, it seems like Mitch never truly gave him a chance to search for a better offer (which, to be fair, any agent and player would do). They reached an agreement with Artest before giving Ariza the time to find a higher offer, which apparently was at Mitch’s suggestion. That seems to indicate Mitch was more interested in Artest anyway.

    Makes me more sympathetic towards Ariza. Lee botched the negotiations, the Lakers front office may have miscommunicated, and Ariza got the short end of the stick. Obviously we don’t know what the FO said, but it would have been “fairer” if they had made it clear that the MLE was a take-it-now-or-leave-it offer, and not encouraged Ariza/Lee to look elsewhere, then immediately committed to Artest. We’ll never know if the FO miscommunicated, or Lee took it the wrong way and didn’t relay the message properly to Ariza.

    Sad to see, but I agree with Jacqueline, he does sound open to playing with us in the future sometime. I’d love to see the dude back in purple and gold.

  95. Zephid – Thanks.

  96. I seriously believe Shannon Brown will start at guard next to Kobe next year.

    With the loss of Ariza and arrival of Artest, the Lakers gain toughness and physicality but lose a little athleticism and speed in the starting line-up.

    Brown gives us that energy and hustle that Ariza provided. And with Artest’s playmaking skills, Brown won’t be needed to do the things Fisher does. Just play defense, hit open shots, and fill the wings on fastbreaks.

  97. I listened to trevor’s interview today on am570 and I think we are all blaming him way too much. I think what happened was that they offered him a deal over the phone or something, but never met to negotiate it because they had Artest willing to come here. More than anything, we should blame YAO BEING OUT for losing Ariza, becuase that is when Artest realized that his team was screwed.

    I love Ariza, and he didn’t sound too butthurt over it. The radio hosts kept telling him that we all love him, and we really do. He will always be a Laker in my eye, and I HOPE he comes back one day (it’ll be one of my happiest days ever).

    With that being said, Ariza has a chance in Houston to play more and show us his talent. If anything, it is still pretty close to LA and he will probably be here over the summer and etc.

    He was saying how he loved being a Laker and he will always love his teammates and communicate with them. He was also saying that it is anyone’s dream to play in LA, but it was a business and I guess it didn’t play out to his advantage.

    Know what they say: Nothing good lasts forever.

    BLAME YAO FOR THISSS! haha
    (ironic that it was against the Lakers too that he injured his foot…it’s karma)

  98. My opinion of the Artest/Ariza “trade” is completely opposite of Kurt’s and Daruis. Although I like Artest, I would’ve loved to see Ariza back in L.A. But after seeing all free agent transactions, I really started to believe to repeat we needed someone of Artest defensive caliber. Ariza just isn’t there yet. Spurs acquired jefferson. Now they already had 2 players that are essentially unstoppable in duncan and parker. And with Jefferson and Ginobili, I’m not comfortable with Ariza guarding either one of those guys. To have kobe have to switch off guarding both of those players would’ve been terrible on Kobe. Also with Boston having Paul Pierce and Ray Allen who have basically had their way with the lakers defense over the past 2 seasons. And if the lakers see the cavs in the finals and Shaq is playing great basketball, there is no stopping him when he gets on a role. So the lakers will need a player to at least slow down lebron other than kobe. I’m not sure if Ariza could be that guy…yet.

    Secondly, I greatly appreciate what Ariza did throughout the playoffs stepping up and making multiple timely plays and shots. But to say the lakers would not be champions without him is extreme. The lakers wouldn’t be champions without kobe, gasol, and even odom (because bynum was hurt and no odom most likely would’ve meant no finals). Other than Ariza’s two big steals in the Denver game and his last 2 games of the finals, Ariza wasn’t having a 9 million dollar post season. Ariza couldn’t even bother Carmelo and Artest. Kurt even said trevor disrupted Hedo. Thats a stretch. Hedo had his best offensive series in the playoffs vs. Ariza. Ariza is just not a great on ball defender. He cannot guard (by guard i mean bother or slow down) the better perimeter players in league. Having a reliable on ball perimeter defender helps kobe tremendously (lets not forget how exhausted he was throughout the playoffs).

    I completely understand the doubts Darius and Kurt have about Artest, I have them to. But lets not prejudge what Artest will do with the lakers. Out of any fans, I would believe laker fans wouldn’t judge a player so quickly because of how we fans have to defend kobe so much. Lets give Artest a chance first because if this works out like it should this will mean the next dynasty for the lakers. If not, this team is still to talented and too much leadership and structure for artest to destroy.

    John Hollinger made a great point saying too many championship teams are scared to change their roster and almost never repeat. The lakers needed to get better. With Artest, they got better. Although, Ariza fit really well and wasn’t disruptive, I just believe the lakers needed Artest. Imagine if Artest went to Cleveland. So lets get over the lovefest with Ariza and get behind the new LAKER Artest.

  99. Seems like the front office did what they had to do. They had to take the first guy who was wiling to commit to the MLE or risk being left without a starting SF. One Artest is better than no Artest and no Ariza. If any of us were making the decisions for a company worth +/-500 mill i’m pretty sure we would have done the same.

  100. Kobe said it best, even if it was just out of respect for Trevor.

    “We’re going to be a DIFFERENT team.”

    Also, that “we didn’t win a championship with Ron.”

    It’s going to be yet another year full of expectations, surprises, gutchecking moments and frustration.

    Lakers sure know how to sell drama.

  101. Kurt —

    I like the effort with the Art/Artest pun in the title of this post … personally, I probably would have gone with “How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love The Ron.”

  102. 101. Ohhh, that is better. Should consult you on headlines in the future. That or use it in the future (with credit). I have a feeling I’ll be writing about Artest again.

  103. @Joel
    That is genius.

    @Hang on to it for Ron’s first great game as a Laker… ;)

  104. As a fan, I love watching a player blossom on my team… you go through the growing pains with them and feel more invested when they do have success.
    Even though Artest is a more complete and better player, for the same money, I would have preferred to have Ariza. It’s not logical, but I have an emotional attatchment to the guy, you know?
    That being said, I put almost all the blame on David Lee for this. His posturing and lack of courtesy and professionalism and negotiating in the press put the Lakers in a bad situation. If Lee knew the marketplace, as any good agent should, he should’ve walked in, said “let’s get the full mle and a player option or two” and be done. But he didn’t and now Trevor’s gone.
    One last thing, I don’t think we can underestimate how huge it is that we got Artest and that Cleveland *didn’t*. Huge. I think that’s one of the big reason Mitch jumped so fast.. addition off a player and a way to diminish a potential finals opponent. Genius.

  105. “addition *of* a player”

    Darn typo

  106. 102. Please do feel free to use it, with my blessing! Always here if you need me.

  107. New post up, Kareem answers questions from FB&G.

  108. I love Ariza and I like Artest, the problems here were multiple. The Lakers knew they could get Artest for the same or less then Ariza. THey also knew they really couldnt get both, those rumors about Ariza bailing were inaccurate the Lakers made the decision to get Artest. THis is the case as I am sure most of you know, basically Ariza was offered what the Lakers thought he could turn down, this is further obvious as Ariza signed for the midlevel as the Lakers found an amount they knew he couldnt take, its a terrible time for free agency Ariza would have been best served signing for one year as when the economy recovers and he has a chance to shine he will definately be losing every additional year he is under contract unless he has a career ending injury.

    I had the luxury of growing up in city section, having mutual aquantences with Ariza so obviously I was bias, however when the only issue anyone made of Ariza was his shooting I knew that was pure stupidity as Ariza always had a good stroke and a great work ethic, the one aspect of NBA basketball that can be improved is shooting, also the one thing you dont want to base you signing someone off of is three point percentage (exhibit A Sasha exhibit B Vladman)
    Bottom line its a tough choice for management, if you can only have one, I was one of the many who lobbied for Artest over Odom prior to Odom finaly becoming what he should be.

    Artest is tougher, and thicker but he cant feel passing lanes or outquick every player in the league. So defensively its a wash yet they are quite different.

    Artest can score a bit easier, at least as far as creatubg, but Ariza has better shot selection and is a more athletic finisher especially cutting when Kobe is looking to pass.

    My two reasons I can talk myself into this being for the better is A Mitch has earned the benefit of the doubt.

    And B) should Kobe get injured, Artest is a proven number one option, and can make his own shot, Ariza is not there yet, the LAkers with a Odom and Gasol and an injured Kobe are still possibly a top two team in the west.

    Now if Artest is moved back to point guard than it makes more sense bottom line, I wish we could have taken the cake and eaten it too, and I will root for Ariza and hope he comes back to LA some day.

    I do worry that Artest put himself in a horrible situation though, as he will not be joining a team that needs a missing piece, as most aging stars do. However he will have to deal with Plashke and Simers blaming him if we dont win it all.

    It definately will be interesting

  109. one other brightspot is that after Bynum gets hurt against Memphis this year, Ron can defend most big guys honestly thinking of it that way its a great move,

  110. Sasha was booed at the parade? That’s just cold blooded. Here is a potential poisitive in regards to Sasha — just like Trevor will likely revert to the mean in his 3pt shooting (closer to 30% is my guess), so will Sasha. I expect Sasha to shoot the 3 ball much better next year. However, i still do not think that he should get much playing time. I’d rather see Shannon Brown, Walton, Farmar, etc. get more playing time. I know that Sasha plays SG, but players can be moved around. With limited minutes available, Sasha just does not have a talented all around game.

    He reaches WAY too much. fouls like mad. No rebounding or defense either. Even though his shooting will improve, i’d rather not see him much on the court.

  111. What will signing Ron Artest do for this team ?

    Ron Artest is definitely a better player (IMO) than Ariza. But how will he change the team ?

    These are my thoughts, fears and hopes :

    Ron has his strengths and weaknesses. But his strengths overlap with the projected team in a different way than Ariza. It’s going to be exciting, but it’s not a given to be better

    I think: He brings in a hunger and work ethic standard that fills a potential weakness (after a title, everyone is more focused on the $, who got his, and less on sacrifice). This on a team that needed playoff pep talks from Derek Fisher.

    I hope Kobe-Ron show shades of the Jordan-Pippen double doberman defense.
    Better instincts, better man d could help this team gel.

    But … there’s a reason why Kurt et al viewed the Artest signing from an Odom replacement and not ariza replacement perspective till recently : The skill match is closer to Odom than Ariza.
    Artest : A power player with midgame -a 3 who can play the 4 and also just about shoot the three
    Odom : A power player with midgame – a 4 who can play the 3 and just about shoot the three acceptably
    Ariza : A speedy ball hawk on the wing (2/3) who has learnt to shoot the 3 when open.

    Odom has to know that he is going to be losing minutes and is going to be slotted as a backup if he returns. There are fewer minutes when shared among Bynum, Gasol, Odom and Artest.
    Ariza didn’t steal as many minutes from Odom, because he brought different things to the table. And of course Bynum was injured. Odom closing out the end of the game going forward is more up in the air.

    I wonder if this is one reason why we have not heard much about a deal for Odom already.
    i.e Lakers are less attractive now to him, AND Odom is more dispensable now should a deal not happen.

    Odom still represents the most talent, available out there, and is matured, proven and experienced with this team.
    (and I’m including Shawn Marion as well, a discussion for another day)

    But an Odom signing no longer gets as much bang for the buck as before the Artest deal.

    Put another way, the Lakers team last year was versatile and could play fast and slow, but had weaknesses closing out on the three-point shot.

    The 2009-2010 edition would lose out on speed. It would have leave opponents open for slightly fewer wide open 3s, lose a few transition buckets, and have a different style of play (less 2nd team speed/go small speed game and more of a halfcourt one).

    It potentially gives the lakers another person who can create his own shot and emphasize the post in the triple post offense. Lakers remain as vulnerable or slightly more to fast teams, speedy PG and good 3 point shooters.

    Artest, though a versatile player, does mean that lakers with Artest, Odom and Brown – as a team lose some diversity.

    Phil should be able to figure out other kinds of flexibility and force other teams to adapt to the Lakers, though.

  112. 2 million for Brown too much?

    No freakin way. After what this guy showed us, being so young, so athletic and so clutch under pressure…not to mention his fantastic defense. Brown is well worth the 2 million. I just wish we could get the guy for longer than 2 years. The pacers deal which offered a better contract, shows the deal we got for Brown. By definition, we got him for less than the market demanded.

  113. @74

    Math majors are generally nuts, especially those that pursue advanced degrees.

    Well known at most academic institutions, including the institution that consistently has the highest rated math program in the United States.

    Still feeling good about Artest?

    Liked by coaches and teammates (except when he wanted to bail Indiana after teammates went into the stands to help him–they did feel a little betrayed) makes me a lot more comfortable with the guy.

    Mitch, Phil, Kobe and Lamar all signed off on him. I think we’re going to be okay.

  114. ^^, math major pursuing advanced degree…

  115. What constitutes a black hole on offense?

    I looked at the games in which Mcgrady, Yao and Artest played together last season (14)

    During that time the Rockets averaged 79 field goals and 17 3pts with Artest accounting for 18% of fg’s and 28% of 3pts (14 & 5). This does not seem abnormally high.

  116. Man… Since when did signing a superstar that averaged 17, 5, and 3 over a semi-proven kid that averaged 8 and 4 become such a heart rending issue. I enjoyed watching Trevor as well, but I understand that when the opportunity to sign a better overall player comes along, you have to take it.

    I’m going to describe a player we’re all familiar with:

    He played on awful teams for several years, often railed his teammates for their lack of production, got into problems with the FO, had horrendous incident caused enormous fallout, and was largely blamed for the explosion of a good team.

    That’s right, Kobe.

    Artest, like Kobe, wants to win more than anything, wants to compete on every play. The primary difference is that Artest has never been on ultra competitive teams. If Kobe had played for Indie, Sac, or Huston things might have played out similarly. Artest gets fed up with mediocrity, enraged at all aspects of the lethargic. Are the Lakers lazy and mediocre?

  117. there appear to be a number of writers above who think the lakers overpaid for brown. uh, so? is it your money? thought not! does it stop them resigning LO? Thought not!
    As for Ariza/Artest. I too am very sorry to see Lakers lose TA, my favorite role player, but…
    If Kobe and Phil think (as well as Mr Buss) that Artest can be “handled”, it seems to me this “trade” had to be made.
    Artest played for a mediocre Chicago team, a mediocre Indiana team and a mediocre Kings team, so he took more shots than might be warranted. With Houston, as pointed out above, he took 18% of the shots when McG and Yao played as well. By playoff time, with the two out he became the hub and..guess what, the Lakers enveloped him and he shot poorly!
    Simply stated, unless he goes rogue, it seems to me it was an upgrade and a deal that should have been done.
    Even though Ariza did go to that community college in Westwood, I wish him nothing but good fortune. He seems to be a good guy, was an invaluable player and is young enought that he can continue growing. However, he’s landed in a bad spot, where without Yao and McG he may be expected to do too much on a poor team and won’t be allowed to develop normally.
    As for standing pat, first that’s not so good when the others ARE taking steps to upgrade, and I remind people that the 80s Lakers traded Nixon for Scott and added McAdoo and Mychael Thompson successfully and Spencer Haywood (not so much!). To put it in simple terms I think Jerry West would have made this deal and that’s enough for me!
    But as hack reporters say, ending their pieces “Only time will tell!”

  118. i thought that kurt’s concerns were spot on – and don’t think that some lakers don’t feel the same way. Artest will have to prove that he can handle himself to his teammates. It helps that kobe is in his corner, but I don’t think anyone forgot that he got kicked out a crucial time in a very important game. It took a while for Byron Scott to be accepted by Magic and others after Nixon was traded. I know this is not the same thing, but I think (I hope!) Artest realizes the situation he’s coming into. I think (I hope!) he makes the best of it. But he’s got to show and prove.

  119. We all know Ron Artest is a “S. O. B.” but, now He is our :S. O. B.”

    Congratulations to the Lakers GM.

    Repeat!!

  120. Artest is definitely a risk.

  121. Great news!
    Artest is the soul of Rocket(but not YAO), his defense and 3 pt shooting will help Lakers much.

  122. Here is a link of Artest signing his contract with the Lakers followed by a toast after the signing

    http://www.nba.com/lakers/news/090708lakerssignronartest.html