Blog Entry

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 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 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.

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."



Since: Oct 20, 2006
Posted on: July 3, 2009 3:39 am

Artest says he's signing with Lakers (UPDATE)

That's because most fans are TOTALLY caught up in your nonsense assesments of people along with the media.  Most of you don't understand athletes...and in your desire to BE an athlete you impose what "YOU WOULD DO" on them, and when they don't DO what you would revel in pushing them into the box you have created.  Bet  you don't like T.O. either...right?

WOM Motorsports
Since: Jun 8, 2008
Posted on: July 3, 2009 3:23 am
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Big Brad
Since: Jul 3, 2009
Posted on: July 3, 2009 2:51 am
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Since: May 4, 2008
Posted on: July 3, 2009 2:43 am

Artest says he's signing with Lakers (UPDATE)

Come on Artest! Join the crew. Trevor? Thanks for your team effort and getting us another ring. Boston? We're coming!!

Since: Sep 4, 2006
Posted on: July 3, 2009 1:15 am

Artest says he's signing with Lakers (UPDATE)

The best part of Artest signing with the Lakers is reading all the negative posts Boston, Dallas, San Antonio & Cleveland fans are throwing around. They predict things like it will screw up the teams chemestry or that Ariza has more upside or 1 clown even said that Artest is old and overrated.

It sounds to me like these jokers are just whistling past the graveyard. They know the Lakers just made themselves better...alot better and right now none of their teams can put a line-up on the court that can match the Lakers.

Since: Sep 19, 2006
Posted on: July 3, 2009 1:12 am

Artest says he's signing with Lakers (UPDATE)

Welcome to the next dynasty - the Lakers third since the 80's.  Artest is the one player the Lakers had trouble with in the playoffs, and they just signed him.  Shaq is a washed-up joke and the 5th Kobe title will be sweet.

Since: May 13, 2009
Posted on: July 3, 2009 1:12 am

Artest says he's signing with Lakers (UPDATE)

Whats with the hype on Ariza? Sure maybe hes a good defender and can nab some steals but 9ppg and 4rpg? WHOOPEE! Artest is just as good still if not better and can score.....I didn't think the Lakers could stack more talent but they did, unless for some reason Odom dips, which is unlikely. Congrats to them, as my team in Minnesota probably won't even have their 1st pick in uniform this year. FML!!

Since: Aug 30, 2006
Posted on: July 3, 2009 12:58 am

Artest says he's signing with Lakers (UPDATE)

So much for basketball.  Thanks alot for practically ruining the sport Houston Rockets organization.  Someone is definitely getting paid off so that these idiot trades can take place.  I'll never watch that primadonna Kobe and his primadonna Lakers.  It sickens me that the sport ends up where it's going to practically be a 3...maybe 4 team race.  There's no reason to watch the regular season.

Since: Sep 17, 2006
Posted on: July 3, 2009 12:42 am

Artest says he's signing with Lakers (UPDATE)

i love ariza, but artest?  Artest is on a different level. and they are sigining odom too.......oh man this is beautiful.  we need a guy like artest, one tough s.o.b

odom and artest got the nyc connection going. i love it

Since: Apr 1, 2008
Posted on: July 2, 2009 11:29 pm

Artest says he's signing with Lakers (UPDATE)

Wow this is huge, the Lakers are either going to get their whole season screwed up because of Ron Artest's melt downs, or they will be better than ever

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