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: Aug 15, 2008
Posted on: July 2, 2009 8:30 pm

Artest says he's signing with Lakers (UPDATE)

there is a reason your still a rookie on this site... cuz you say stupid things like that

Since: Feb 9, 2007
Posted on: July 2, 2009 8:20 pm

Artest says he's signing with Lakers (UPDATE)

i said it!

Since: Aug 26, 2006
Posted on: July 2, 2009 8:19 pm

Ariza gambled and it didn't work

Oh, he might get a big contract, but it's unlikely he could find a situation as good as he has in LA.  A local kid, went to UCLA, no pressure to be the scorer.  If he signs in Clevland he'll have to change to a half court offense with Lebron and Shaq. If he signs in Houston or some where else he's going to have to earn his contract by becoming a go to guy. I actually feel bad for Trevor. 

Assuming Odom resigns for say, 8.5MM, the Lakers will be scary. 

Since: Jul 8, 2007
Posted on: July 2, 2009 8:19 pm

Artest says he's signing with Lakers (UPDATE)


where are these teams getting all this money?

the top free agents are all going to ONLY the top teams. this is bad for the rest of the league.

Since: Jul 2, 2009
Posted on: July 2, 2009 8:03 pm

Artest says he's signing with Lakers (UPDATE)

This makes a team that already looked as if it could make a serious title defending case look even scarier. I think the Lakers are gonna push for short term goals here and re-sign Odom.  Ariza is good (and young) but he doesn't dominate like Odom potentially can.  Houston is gonna be starting fresh with the departure of Artest and Yao...I wouldn't purchase any season tickets just yet Houston fans.  Come September I hope Jerry and Kareem have nothing but positive words about the "Lake Show" at the Sports Legends Challenge! 

Since: Sep 3, 2007
Posted on: July 2, 2009 8:03 pm

Artest says he's signing with Lakers (UPDATE)

It means he will sign for the mid-level exception.

Since: Sep 3, 2007
Posted on: July 2, 2009 8:02 pm

Artest says he's signing with Lakers (UPDATE)

Ron Artest is a great defender.  I love Ariza and admit he has plenty of upside but think about Artest and Kobe defending together for the next two years and if you get past both of of them Gasol and Bynum's long arms are there.  This is definitely a positive situation for the Lakers especially with Trevor thinking about going elsewhere, and Artest will sign for the mid-level exception. He and Odom go back to AAU days and he would be a great fit.  When Kobe rests in the fourth quarter, the second unit backcourt could feature Farmar and Artest, a definite upgrade from Vujacic.  Not to brag but back to back. 

Since: Jun 12, 2009
Posted on: July 2, 2009 7:57 pm

Artest says he's signing with Lakers (UPDATE)

from the same network writers that told me  "play Nate Mclouth, he is a sure bet to return for tuesdays game"  thanks alot, we play a quarterly season and my 2nd quarter is on the line and Mclouth is still out today... THURSDAY.   dont trust any thing these BS "insiders" tell you

Since: Aug 24, 2006
Posted on: July 2, 2009 7:56 pm

Artest says he's signing with Lakers (UPDATE)

This could very well be the one extra move that ruins a team.  How many times have we seen a championship calibur team ruined by adding a talented moron?  Just because he worked out for Houston doesnt mean it's a sure thing in LA.  Good luck, Laker fans, but dont be surprised if it blows up in your collective face. 

And please, hold off on the outrage about this post.  I'm simply pointing out what hasnt been said about this possible signing yet.

Since: Mar 22, 2008
Posted on: July 2, 2009 7:55 pm

Artest says he's signing with Lakers (UPDATE)

holy WOW! just yesterday I created a thread saying we should sign Artest for less than the $7 million he made last year and prove that he isnt about the money just to get that ring and here he is talking about he'll play for free. Well, we'll take him but we'll pay him if he hekps us keep the title in LA and the whole buzz is about how he brings that toughness we lack. I totally agree! Come to LA, Ron!!!

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