Scott Howard Cooper has a great story in today’s Sacramento Bee in which he says that trading Ron Artest has become a priority, if not the priority for the Kings this summer. So which teams might want to take the troubled but talented small forward off their hands? Howard Cooper (a former Lakers writer for the LA Times BTW), names three: 1. Lakers 2. Clippers 3. Miami
“Said a member of one front office — requesting anonymity since he was criticizing a player not on his team — when asked whether many teams will be willing to take on Artest and his reputation: “I just can’t see it happening. I don’t see how. Especially not now.”
Good thing for the Kings other teams have their own problems to address. Los Angeles Lakers
Going pedal to the metal, after failing to reach the second round or the playoffs at all for the third time in as many years, isn’t just about adding a star to ride shotgun to Kobe Bryant. While that is the obvious part of it, putting them in the middle of any discussion for Kevin Garnett or Jermaine O’Neal, the Lakers on the whole are pushing hard to win now and deal with potential complications later.
The Lakers could offer Kwame Brown in a match of similar salaries. The Kings would inherit the frustration of an enigmatic player unable to grasp his considerable potential, but also the benefit of being able to clear cap space a year earlier than with Artest if Brown did not work out. And if Brown did work out, they would have the inside track on re-signing a talented young center.
The Lakers also could offer Luke Walton in a sign-and-trade, packaged with another, lesser salary (Sasha Vujacic, Maurice Evans, Brian Cook). Artest has superior skills. But Walton has become a good complementary weapon, a smart player who moves the ball, and plugs in to the same spot at small forward. Los Angeles Clippers
Artest for Corey Maggette had been discussed last season. But the serious knee injury that could keep point guard Shaun Livingston out all 2007-08 means a greater likelihood of the Clippers pursuing Mike Bibby. Miami Heat
Much like the Lakers, the Heat has a very strong coach, Pat Riley, and a ticking clock. Miami needs to make something happen before it’s Dwyane Wade against the world.”