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Artest says he's signing with Lakers (UPDATE)

Posted on: July 2, 2009 6:56 pm
Edited on: July 3, 2009 2:17 am
 

Shaq can have LeBron. Ron Artest says he'll take Kobe.

Artest, whose versatility and toughness have made him one of the most coveted and combustible players in the NBA, told CBSSports.com Thursday that he's signing with the Lakers.

"I'm definitely going to L.A. -- to sign, yeah," Artest said in a phone interview. "Lakers, Lakers, Lakers. I'm in L.A. right now."

Artest said he met with Lakers owner Dr. Jerry Buss Thursday and previously had spoken with Lakers coach Phil Jackson. He was en route to his financial manager's office, where he planned to huddle on the phone with his agent, David Bauman, to finalize details.

Artest's exuberance -- he spent the whole summer in L.A., including several appearances at Lakers home games during the NBA Finals -- got ahead of the process a bit. Other teams that made overtures for Artest -- including the Cavaliers -- have not yet been notified that Artest is signing with the Lakers. (Consider them notified.) Bauman has spoken with Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak, and a person with knowledge of the negotiations told CBSSports.com that Artest agreed to a five-year deal for the full mid-level exception -- about $33 million. It's the same deal that Houston agreed to with Trevor Ariza, who swaps cities with Artest.

"I don't really care about the money," Artest said. "I'll play there for nothing. ... L.A. was very interested in me, and they got me."

UPDATE: Lakers spokesman John Black declined to comment on Artest's assertion, but another person with knowledge of the situation corroborated Artest's account that he will sign with L.A. pending the passing of the weeklong moratorium on player movement, which expires July 8.

Only 24 hours earlier, the buzz was focused on Artest joining LeBron James and Shaquille O'Neal in Cleveland in what would've made a potent Big Three on the shores of Lake Erie. It would've been, well, eerie, too: Artest's internal combustion engine, combined with LeBron's exquisite dominance and Shaq's alpha-male, all-around Shaq-ness would've been something to see.

But Artest said talks with Cleveland "never got that far." Told that Cleveland, by all accounts, had extreme interest, Artest said, "I don't know how extreme. I love the Cleveland Cavaliers, though. I love LeBron and Coach (Mike) Brown and Shaq."

But what he really loves is L.A.

"L.A. is what it is," Artest said. "I've been here for the whole summer, and it's pretty good. It's good for me. I know Lamar Odom, so that's pretty cool."

Artest spoke as though Odom would return to the Lakers to join Artest and Kobe Bryant for another title run. Although the Spurs and several other teams were interested in Odom, the Lakers have the inside track. L.A.'s other free agent, Trevor Ariza, agreed Thursday to sign with Houston for the same mid-level deal Artest got from the Lakers.

UPDATE:
The addition of Artest is a coup for the defending champion Lakers, who have faced the prospect of trying to retain their own free agents, Odom and Ariza, and have seen other contenders make major efforts to improve. Most notably, the Celtics dispatched their Big Three of Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, and Paul Pierce, along with coach Doc Rivers and managing partner Wyc Grousbeck to Detroit on Thursday to offer free agent Rasheed Wallace a mid-level contract. Cleveland's acquisition of Shaq put the Lakers, Celtics, and Magic on notice that the Cavaliers were making a serious push for a title next season. The Cavs' pursuit of Wallace, Artest, and Ariza signaled that they weren't finished after the pre-draft trade for Shaq.

"I talked to Coach Phil, and I was happy to talk to him," Artest said. "Big fan of Coach Phil. My agent talked to Kupchak, and I met with Dr. Buss. I'm very, very excited."

 

Comments

Since: Jul 4, 2009
Posted on: July 4, 2009 4:58 am
 

Artest says he's signing with Lakers (UPDATE)

I got 2 different viewpoints for you...on court and off court.

On court, I'm hopefull.  Unlike, Shaq/Kobe, there will be a clear Big Dog and Ron knows it, respects it and wants it (a championship, that is).  I also remember when Malone came to LA and his desire to win a championship translated to him thinking, dreaming and executing the triangle and this from the PicknRoll King...ok maybe Queen, you might call Stockton the King Wink...and a Laker nemesis for decades.  If Ron becomes Ron again during the season...shot selection, not reputation... Jackson is back to reign that in and you know Kobe will give him an earful if that happens.  The reason things are flowing in LA is because the Laker playerss know that with Kobe, they can get championships, but I still dont think any of the young players "like" kobe...respect yes, like no.  Maybe, Ron will reaffirm Kobe as the leader and even bridge the lack of personality Kobe has with his team mates.  I know...wishful thinking.

What I'm probably more worried about are the L.A. off-court distractions that might hurt someone like Ron.  Distractions that kept Shaq unprepared by season start and unmotivated until after the allstar break.  Remember the name Strawberry...ok I know different sport, hometown boy, drug issues, and completely different situation.  But being born and raised in LA, I'm just saying that LA can be a bad place if you dont have your head on straight.




Since: Jun 28, 2009
Posted on: July 3, 2009 9:25 pm
 

Artest says he's signing with Lakers (UPDATE)

I LIKE RON ARTEST HE IS A ALL AROUND PLAYER WHO CAN SHOT, PLAY DEFENSE, AND POST UP. I JUST DONT KNOW IF HE CAN MESH WITH THE LAKERS IF HE DOES THE LAKERS WILL BE IN LINE FOR A REPEAT. HE WAS THE MAIN REASON HOUSTON HAD A CHANCE AGAINST LA AND NOW THEY GOT HIM GREAT JOB. HE WILL NOW BE ABLE TO GIVE KOBE A REST ON NOT GUARDING THE OPPONENTS BEST PLAYER.



Since: Sep 4, 2006
Posted on: July 3, 2009 7:00 pm
 

Artest says he's signing with Lakers (UPDATE)

Sure Diggsy...a Celtics fan is worried about the team chemestry on a rival team.
Give me a break! You keep trying to convince yourself and all the Laker fans on these boards that you're opinion is anything but some guy who just realized his arch rival just got alot better than his team and we'll keep laughing at your tough talk.

If you really didn't care about the Lakers getting Artest you wouldn't have even bothered to post your warning to Laker fans about the teams chemestry.

Well thanks for the warning Nostradamus, but Laker fans will take our chances with Artest. Oh and don't feel too bad about being the only Celtics lover that's worried that the Lakers just raised themselvs to a level above the rest of the teams in the NBA. I just read that the entire Celtics organization Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, Danny Ainge and even the ghost of the second best (LOL) coach in NBA history Red Auerbach are camping out on Rasheed Wallace's lawn to get him to sign with the Celts.

Hey Laker fans how funny is it that this Celtics clown...Diggsy has the nerve to try and lecture Laker fans on team chemestry after his beloved Celtics signed one of the biggest babies in the NBA...Stephan Marbury and are currently running a full court press to sign the All-time NBA leader in tech's...Rasheed Wallace?

Nice team chemestry huh!

Save it Celts fan we busted you bunch of old ladies up twice last year including once in your own crib and it's just going to get worse for you this year. Keep whistling.



Since: Jul 3, 2009
Posted on: July 3, 2009 6:39 pm
 

Artest says he's signing with Lakers (UPDATE)

Whats not to like about LBJ?



Since: Jul 3, 2009
Posted on: July 3, 2009 6:34 pm
 

Artest says he's signing with Lakers (UPDATE)

Some say if it aint broke dont fix it. By adding Ron Artest there is already people saying he will mess with the chemistry of a championship team. I am not one of those people. The Lakers are one of the softest teams in the league, by adding Artest they are getting a tough competetor who seems like his on the court antics are far behind him. I think he has matured greatly and will have a fine stay in L.A. In my opinion Cleveland would have been a bettor fit for him and there was those rumors that Artest had been dining with the KING himself. By Boston, (closing in on Rasheed) L.A., and Cleveland already adding to their superstar rosters- it dosen't look good for the remaining NBA teams.



Since: Aug 24, 2006
Posted on: July 3, 2009 5:09 pm
 

Artest says he's signing with Lakers (UPDATE)

Hey, Menace2all, you sound just as stupid as everybody who crowned LA in 2007-08 before we destroyed them.  I personally dont care that you got Artest, Ariza played as well during these playoffs as Artest ever has over a short period of time in his career. 

Like I said, sometimes you can look back on a single acquisition on a championship calibur team that brings the whole ship down...  This could very easily be the one.  On the other hand, you excited Laker fans could be right that he will improve the team, but the difference between the very best weve seen from Artest and the Ariza from this year's playoffs is marginal. 

The bottom line is that the move has far more potential to mess up the chemistry than it does to make the Lakers unbeatable.  It's funny how much of a fantasy world a lot of people on these boards live in- like this is NBA Live or something... 

Anything Ive said about this deal is from an NBA fan's POV, not as a "hater Celtics fan".  If I were hating, I'dve certainly reminded you people how badly we whooped you 2 years ago. 



Since: Sep 11, 2006
Posted on: July 3, 2009 4:08 pm
 

Congratulations, Ron!

You've made a great decision.  Let Kobe be Kobe.  You will make the Lakers tougher, leaner, meaner.  And only real basketball afficianados will see that.


Miami U
Since: Oct 27, 2008
Posted on: July 3, 2009 3:14 pm
This comment has been removed.

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obamaisblack
Since: Nov 21, 2008
Posted on: July 3, 2009 2:21 pm
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obamaisblack
Since: Nov 21, 2008
Posted on: July 3, 2009 2:20 pm
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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com