One source close to the situation insists that Ron Artest wants out.
Asked to react to that, Artest’s agent David Bauman declined comment.
This is where I’m obligated to remind you that no one in the NBA can change his mind faster than the famously fickle Ron-Ron.
I don’t think Artest will stick with this, but if he does, could that open the door for the Pistons to finally trade Richard Hamilton?
- Ron Artest
- Luke Walton
- Early-termination option
- Qualifying offer
Salaries from ShamSports.com
The Pistons want to trade Richard Hamilton. There’s no doubt about that. He’s not helping the team or its image, and they’re paying him a lot of money to do neither.
This isn’t about assigning blame (although both sides deserve some). It’s about moving on.
The Pistons would save a small amount of money this year and next. That surely appeals to Karen Davidson, making this trade possible. After all, she has the final word.
Neither Ron Artest nor Luke Walton will fix the Pistons’ on-court problems, and both are overpaid. But it might be easier to regain financial flexibility with two medium-sized bad contracts rather than Hamilton’s large bad contract.
Of course, the elephant in the room is the brawl at The Palace, but I think we’re past it.
The Pistons showed interest in acquiring Artest a couple years ago, according to Sam Amick, then of the Sacramento Bee:
And from what I was told from one source close to the Pistons, they are. I’ve yet to get this info from more than one person, so stay tuned.
And for what it’s worth, Artest didn’t shoot down Detroit, according to The Detroit News (via Matt Watson of Detroit Bad Boys):
“I wouldn’t consider not playing here,” Artest said. “But right now I’m doing Sacramento. But it’s not something I’m opposed to, you know. That would be a hell of a first day if Ron Artest was in a Pistons’ jersey. That would be kind of crazy.”
I thought I heard Artest say – whether he meant it is another story – he wanted to sign with the Pistons in 2009, but they didn’t want him. Does anyone have a link on that?
Anyway, Artest is probably over the hill, but maybe he could help the Pistons’ re-establish their defensive identity. Even if Artest can’t execute as well as he once could, this team badly needs more defensive intensity, and that could help Detroit’s impressionable and talented players like Austin Daye, Greg Monroe, Jonas Jerebko, Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva.
Any move the Lakers think about making begins with questioning how Kobe Bryant would react. Judging by this 2006 Chris Palmer article, Kobe would favor this trade:
The final buzzer sounds and Kobe wades through the flood of players, coaches, ballboys, and security personnel to find Rip Hamilton, coming toward him, unhitching the Velcro straps on his protective facemask. The two embrace for a long time, patting each other on the back, whispering congratulations and what’s ups. They step back, exchanging toothy grins, Hamilton’s left hand on Kobe’s shoulder, Kobe’s on the back of Hamilton’s head. Never have I seen Kobe so at ease, so openly friendly with an opponent. More shocking still is to see someone else so relaxed around him. Players from other teams are reluctant to fraternize with Kobe, largely because they assume he has no interest in friends. But Kobe wants to shed the loner tag, to be one of the guys. He wants to laugh and joke with his colleagues around the league. For him, though, it’s not that simple.
Except with Hamilton. With Hamilton, it’s easy.
Beatwriters who follow Kobe struggle to name players he counts as friends. They recall attempts to socialize with his teammates outside the walls of the Staples Center or the Lakers practice facility, but scarcely know of anyone who’s been to his home. He simply lives too far away.
Hamilton is the right fit for Kobe. His sunny disposition makes it easy for Kobe to be himself, even if he doesn’t yet know who that is. Kobe trusts him, refuses to judge him. They have a history.
Hamilton is far from his peak, but he could help the Lakers off the bench and has plenty of playoff experience.
DaJuan Summers is included to give the Pistons a little more salary relief, and the Lakers could certainly afford him.
A small consideration for the Lakers should be that the Pistons are sold and Hamilton receives a buyout, freeing him to sign with another contender.