View Full Version : Marc Stein: Nuggets & Mavs info

12-16-2005, 07:43 PM

The Denver Nuggets don't exactly qualify as desperate. Compared to the Lakers, they've got a nucleus with more polish and better balance.

Yet NBA front-office sources tell ESPN.com that Denver is pursuing Artest as hard as anyone, and here's an explanation: If you want to narrow the gap with West powerhouse San Antonio, acquiring Artest to counter Manu Ginobili isn't a bad idea ... assuming, of course, that Artest is actually playing as opposed to doing or saying things that get him suspended.

The Nuggets also have a coach who, a bit like Artest, is known for his eccentricities. Although my old studio-show colleague George Karl probably won't appreciate being lumped into the same sentence with Ron-Ron, I could see them co-existing.

It would certainly be volatile, probably wilder than Furious George and Gary Payton in Seattle, but it's a pairing with potential, as is Carmelo Anthony and Artest.

The Nuggets, though, have already seen an offer of Earl Watson and Voshon Lenard turned down, sources say. Like the Lakers, Denver would likely need a third team to facilitate a trade. That's unless the injured Nene is included, which the Nuggets don't want to do. And if they did change that stance, Nene's forthcoming restricted free agency in July is bound to give Indy pause, without a guarantee of being able to re-sign him.

The more desperate team in Denver's division is Minnesota, with the Wolves -- not unlike the Lakers with Kobe -- knowing they need to manufacture a splashy roster upgrade in the short term to keep Kevin Garnett engaged. This, then, is an opening to try to do just that, assuming that the Wolves are A) willing to believe that Artest could really be more reliable for them and B) willing to gamble again so soon after the Latrell Sprewell era.

If they decide to make that leap, imagine KG and Artest together. The Wolves would have two of the three or four best two-way players in the league on the same team. With Michael Olowokandi's expiring contract, a reasonably priced defensive specialist (Trenton Hassell) and an intriguing rookie (Rashad McCants) on its roster, Minnesota also has some pieces to bid with.


One big reason why the Mavericks are hesitant to make a bid for Ron Artest is that Indiana wants swingman Josh Howard or point guard Devin Harris to headline the package. Dallas is thrilled with its youngsters' progress and rates both as untouchable. When you ask about Howard specifically, the impression that the Mavs give you is that it would probably take Artest and Jermaine O'Neal to pry him away.

Yet there's another reason that the Mavs are unsure about pursuing the unpredictable stopper, even though Artest recently told our ESPN colleague Stephen A. Smith that they're one of the teams on his short list along with New York, Cleveland and Miami. Reason No. 2: Dallas is wary of chemistry problems after an unpleasant experience with Doug Christie.

Christie's career with the Mavericks lasted only seven games, but sources close to the situation say that the 35-year-old's chronic ankle problem is not the only reason they parted company. Christie and wife Jackie, sources say, proved even more high maintenance than expected, and the resultant discord that caused for various members of the staff created a tension that Dallas decided it didn't need.

A left ankle still healing from April surgery clearly limited the former defensive ace's effectiveness and frustrated the ex-Sacramento stopper, but Christie was also suspended briefly by coach Avery Johnson after one blowup before the sides mutually agreed to part.

With the Christies also unhappy with the arrangement and apparently wanting out as well, they came to a fast agreement on an annulment of the four-year, $14 million contract that was only guaranteed this season at $3.15 million. Christie's roster spot has since been claimed by veteran lefty Adrian Griffin, who was signed in part because he's a proven team guy, having already spent two seasons in Dallas (2001-02 and '02-03).

It's difficult to imagine the Mavs diving into the Artest mix after all that, for all his potential to finally give Dallas an enforcer. If Artest could be pried away from the Pacers for Jerry Stackhouse, maybe. Even then, though, it seems unlikely given that second-year coach Avery Johnson has not forgotten the damage inflicted on Johnson's Spurs in the mid-1990s by Dennis Rodman.

12-16-2005, 07:53 PM
That's too bad the Mav's aren't biting. Josh Howard would be great for the Pacers.

12-16-2005, 07:54 PM
One big reason why the Mavericks are hesitant to make a bid for Ron Artest is that Indiana wants swingman Josh Howard or point guard Devin Harris to headline the package.

Ummmm a 5th PG, huh?

What my comment means-
Assuming the report is true then that is our signal that this deal (moving Artest somewhere) is bigger than Artest alone.. or DW is certainly willing to make it bigger. We're not going to have 5 PG's. IMHO


12-16-2005, 07:55 PM
Ummmm a 5th PG, huh?


Think the Pacers are sold on Tinsley?

Me neither.

12-16-2005, 07:59 PM
I think its more along of the lines that the pacers r sick of his near constant state of being injured...

Naptown Seth
12-16-2005, 08:18 PM
Man, some of these trade offers are jokes. It makes me sick to think that teams want Artest, yet deem unproven crap like Devin Harris and Nene as "untouchable".
Untill Devin Harris learns to pass, and Nene learns to rebound, they're both gonna be major underacheivers constantly overhyped because of their "potential".
The more I read this stuff, the more I really wish the Pacers would just keep Artest.