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: Jul 2, 2009
Posted on: July 2, 2009 9:25 pm

Artest says he's signing with Lakers (UPDATE)

This is great.  I think with Artest, Lakers can essentially do away without both Ariza and Odom.  He defends just a good as Ariza if not better, and can score more than odom.  What better than this news!!!

Since: Sep 12, 2006
Posted on: July 2, 2009 9:18 pm

Artest says he's signing with Lakers (UPDATE)

Arizia wasn't gong to resign, so the Lakers needed to make this move.  Anyone who thinks this is a bad move for LA is only doing some wishful thinking. 

Since: May 9, 2009
Posted on: July 2, 2009 8:57 pm

Artest says he's signing with Lakers (UPDATE)

If this is true the rest of the league is in trouble! The rich get richer and Kobe get more rings!

Since: Jan 2, 2008
Posted on: July 2, 2009 8:53 pm

Artest says he's signing with Lakers (UPDATE)

I agree - the Lakers will regret this move. Should have kept Ariza - he fit their system perfectly, and isn't a head case.

Since: May 28, 2009
Posted on: July 2, 2009 8:52 pm

Artest says he's signing with Lakers (UPDATE)

Well with so many teams making moves already I was worried that the Lakers struggling to resign Lamar and Trevor was not going to be enough to repeat next year but with this move I can smile again !!  This solidifies the Lakers as the favorite to win again. Artest does everything Ariza does but a little bit better and he is still young enough to make the Lakers a favorite for years to come. Kobe, Artest, Lamar and Pau are all in the same age range so you are looking at a dynasty that will ensure that Phil goes down as the greatest coach ever and Kobe will surpass the 6 rings Jordan has so Shaq "Tell me how our asses taste beeotch"

Since: Mar 15, 2008
Posted on: July 2, 2009 8:44 pm

Artest says he's signing with Lakers (UPDATE)

Well...this should be interesting.  As a Lakers fan living in Indiana, I say let him go to Cleveland or anywhere else.  I've seen first-hand what this man can do to a classy, top tier franchise.  I was here when all they talked about was The Brawl.  This is one move I hope the Lakers pass up.

Since: Mar 4, 2008
Posted on: July 2, 2009 8:40 pm

Artest says he's signing with Lakers (UPDATE)




Since: Aug 18, 2006
Posted on: July 2, 2009 8:36 pm

Artest says he's signing with Lakers (UPDATE)

ruh roh. this is the next Jordan-Pippen-Rodman.

So we will now have Kobe-Gasol-Artest

Now the NBA can rig the next 2 seasons for the Lakers, Kobe can retire a god like Michael did. Sorry Shaq but you need a psycho for a team mate otherwise you and Lebron will go to the NBA Finals next year to get hammered.

It is so obvious. Lakers-Cavaliers next season. Lakers will win 4-1.

Remember this post. I'll shave my head and post a video of myself acting retarded if this doesn't happen.

Since: Sep 8, 2006
Posted on: July 2, 2009 8:32 pm

Artest says he's signing with Lakers (UPDATE)

The top teams don't care about the luxury tax, the bottom feeding teams with small markets can't afford to pay the luxury tax. The rich get richer because these top free agents create more revenue on top of what they already get and the other teams that don't get much fan fare as it is then can't afford to pay the luxury tax. The Knicks just suck, there's no other way to explain it.

Since: Feb 4, 2007
Posted on: July 2, 2009 8:30 pm

Artest says he's signing with Lakers (UPDATE)

There's no way the Lakers can keep Odom or Ariza.Artest would take considerate minutes from both guys and add to that Ariza's already disappointed with the front office and there's no way Odom is gonna accept a lesser role than the 1 he already has.Artest is a guy who wants the ball in his hands now how long you think Kobe is gonna put up with that? Artest hasn't changed.He is who he is.A ticking timebomb.The reason he didn't have any problems in Houston is cuz T-mac was hurt.I can't wait to see this soap opera.Uhhh Mr.Stern.You may wanna hold on to that 2009-2010 trophy before u hand it to LA

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or