NBA Free-Agent Signings | Ron Artest to LakersCategory: Basketball
When I logged-in to my twitter account today, I noticed that the hottest trending topics are for the keywords “Ron Artest” and “Lakers”. My suspicion was immediately confirmed when I found that Houston Rockets forward Ron Artest was sent to the newly-crowned NBA champion LA Lakers. As free-agents can not sign until July 9, Artest and the Lakers have come to a verbal agreement to the tune of a three-year, $18 million deal.
Do I smell a repeat?
The Lakers might have virtually given up Trevor Ariza (who has agreed to play for Houston Rockets BTW) for Ron Artest but in Artest, they are definitely getting an upgrade. Here’s why I think so.
1. Artest is a better defender – Ariza might be known for his defensive skills but he has not yet made any NBA All-Defensive Team in his career. Artest on the other hand was the NBA Defensive Player of the Year in 2003-04, runner-up to Detroit’s Ben Wallace in 2002-03, earned All-Defensive 1st Team in 2005-06 and 2nd Team last season.
2. Artest is a better scorer – Ariza has career scoring average of 6.9 ppg while Artest 16.1. Although it can be argued that Ariza plays fewer minutes, it just goes to show that teams want Artest to play more as he is a better scoring option than Ariza is. While Artest is not a good shooter and is streaky, the same thing can be said for Ariza.
3. Artest is more experienced – he has been into the league for 12 years now playing 604 games after having been selected as the 16th pick overall in the 1999 NBA Draft. While still young at 29, he has already seen his share of ups and downs that will come in handy for the Lakers.
Some would say that Ron Artest is too volatile. He was after all a major part of the most infamous brawl in professional basketball history, the Pacers-Pistons brawl in November 19, 2004. He has also been suspended several times for flagrant fouls. He has some legal troubles as well. He’s just a risky acquisition for the Lakers as his presence might disrupt team chemistry.
Well, the Zen Master will work on that. Remember Dennis Rodman?
UPDATE October 28, 2009: Will Kobe Bryant and the LA Lakers repeat as champions with the addition of the volatile Artest?
Follow the Lakers and watch their live streaming games for the duration of the 2009-010 NBA season.
Seems like bringing him in LA was no mistake at all.