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able
12-14-2004, 07:58 AM
some interesting questions this week, I highlighted a few that "spoke"

http://www.indystar.com/articles/8/025639-4458-116.html


Question: What are the chances Ron Artest will be traded (or at least heavily shopped) this off-season? Regardless of our personal opinions of his progress and personality he is officially a cancer. Trouble finds him or he finds it, both little and small. Detours and Distractions for a team with "One Goal".

If so, what is his value now? Who would be a quality choice? What about Artest and Scot Pollard (maybe a little more if needed) for Brad Miller? What are the chances? (O'Hara from Kansas City)

Answer: Detours and Distractions. That's not a bad slogan. I don't think the Pacers' marketing department would approve, but nobody can deny the accuracy, so far at least.

It's certainly possible the Pacers will try to trade Artest in the off-season, but they aren't going to worry about that until the off-season. They're still hoping he is allowed to play this season. Who knows? If he does, things could change dramatically for him. He was playing his best basketball ever before the suspension.

It's impossible to guess what his value might be. It's highly unlikely he would bring fair value. He's already "underpaid" for his talent and his recent troubles would make it even more difficult to obtain a player nearly as good as him.

Peja Stojakovic was mentioned over the summer as a possible target, but most NBA people believe (and I agree) that Artest is much better than Stojakovic. Pacers fans have seen Stojakovic twice in the last two weeks and he hasn't been much of a factor against them. He's a great shooter, but on nights when he's not shooting well he has little to offer.

The deal you mention wouldn't work because Artest and Pollard make far more in salary than Brad Miller.

Question: I went to the Sacramento game and it's obvious the Pacers miss Jamaal Tinsley. When will he be back and who might be back next, considering injuries and those suspended? It looked like Sacramento was going only hard enough to win. (Mike from Fort Wayne, Ind.)

Answer: Tinsley is expected to play at Atlanta on Tuesday. You're right, the offense doesn't run nearly as smoothly when he's not playing.

Who will be next? If you mean the next injured player, that would be Austin Croshere, who sprained his ankle in that game. He didn't make the trip to Atlanta, but hopes to play Friday against Toronto.

Sacramento had played the previous evening in Minnesota, and was a little sluggish in the first half. I don't think it's accurate to say they were only going hard enough to win. They had to go overtime to win the game, and I don't think any team can calibrate its effort that exactly.

Question: I know this is more of a legal question, but I would still like to hear your thoughts on it. It seems to me that the NBA has a legal obligation to provide a safe environment for the players, as does any employer for their employees. Wouldn't it make sense for the players' union to sue the NBA over this issue to at least get David Stern to address the situation and possibly gain some leverage in getting the players' suspensions reduced? (Steve from Fort Wayne, Ind.)

Answer: I think it does make sense, and it could come to that. Some have argued the Pacers could sue the Palace of Auburn Hills for the same reason, but that would be an extreme measure. The NBA, of course, could argue that the players helped create the environment that brought about the brawl, but the prosecutor in Oakland County was clear that the fans were mostly responsible. First, however, the union will want to see if their appeal succeeds.

Question: Hey Mark, I enjoy you column way up here in Alaska. I'm writing in regards to "Russ from Warren, MI" and your reply. First, players have leaned on the scorer's table many, many times before Artest and have not had a cup thrown on them (at least to my limited knowledge).

Second, "passive provocation?!?!?" That is way too similar to claiming that a woman got raped because of what she was wearing! Artest's leaning on a table gives no one the right to throw a cup filled with a beverage upon him. That is nearly as idiotic, meaning one without knowledge, as Stern's lack of sanctions against the Pistons organization for their numerous failures in the brawl.

I doubt that your editor will choose this email to print, but if you'd reply to me I'd be appreciative of your response. Thanks again for all of your information. It really helps me to get a balanced opinion up here. (Tony from Sitka, Alaska)

Answer: Tony, how does someone wind up in Sitka, Alaska?

You make a very good point about "passive provocation." Artest's actions didn't justify a fan throwing something at him. But I've said before, he was asking for trouble by putting his arms behind his head and crossing his legs, putting on a show of relaxation while Wallace ranted and raved. Sitting 15 feet from him, I had a feeling something bad was going to come of it. Little did I know ...

Usually, players sit on the scorer's table. Technically, Artest did nothing wrong by stretching out on the table, but if he had not done so, he probably wouldn't have been hit by anything. But there are a lot of other issues here, too. Like Wallace's wild over-reaction and the referees' absolute failure to control the situation by ejecting Wallace as soon as he shoved Artest.

Question: On the Pacers board there has been a lot of arguing regarding Reggie Miller and Fred Jones. Basically the argument is over which one of these guys should be starting when everyone is back. What do you think? (Michele from Denver, Colo.)

Answer: I understand the arguments for both, but it makes more sense for Miller to start. He pairs better with Tinsley because he needs a good passer to get shots. Jones is more of a one-on-one player and can score regardless of who he's playing with. Bringing Jones off the bench helps balance the lineup, too. He adds a strong defender to the second unit and some scoring punch as well.

Also, it would be a major disruption to everyone (as if this team hasn't had enough disruptions) to bring Miller off the bench when he's started every year of his career but his first.

Remember, starting is nearly irrelevant. The least important part of a game is the first few minutes. It's all about playing time and finishing. Many games, both Miller and Jones will be on the floor at the end of the game.

Question: If throwing a drink in someone's face is assault and battery, then wouldn't aggressively shoving your hands into someone's neck and face be considered the same? The prosecutor says the fan "started" it all, but didn't this all "start" with the outward assault on Ron Artest by Ben Wallace? How come he wasn't charged? Do you get a free pass if you're on a playing field to assault others? (Scott from Suttons Bay, Mich.)

Answer: Another very good question. I would guess the prosecutor was ruling on the brawl itself and taking into account that Artest would never have gone into the stands if a drink hadn't been thrown at him. Also, Artest wasn't injured by Wallace.

It's interesting to see how public opinion has emerged now that time has passed and the issue can be reviewed more objectively. It's also interesting that the media either hasn't caught up to public opinion or happens to disagree with it. Certainly some fans still believe Artest is more to blame than anyone, but I sense that the widespread opinion among the general public is that he got a bad deal.

The prosecutor's ruling was direct rebuttal of David Stern's, I believe. While Stern acted out of anger, after having viewed the replays a thousand times (and no doubt worrying about what the league's sponsors were thinking), the prosecutor took a cooler and more legal approach.

sixthman
12-14-2004, 11:30 AM
Montieth's Q and A's have emerged as his best work. This vehicle allows him to step out of his role of reporter. Thanks for posting.

Hicks
12-14-2004, 03:33 PM
If I had to sum up Ron Artest in one line...


He was playing his best basketball ever before the suspension.

That would be it.

Unclebuck
12-14-2004, 03:36 PM
When we acquired Ron aAtest I had no idea he would ever turn into as good a player as he is. I just did not think he had that type of talent

Los Angeles
12-14-2004, 03:47 PM
I was living in Chicago when he played there and certain local media guys couldn't get enough of him, so I had a sense he had plenty of potential.

Still, the legal issues brought up by the Q&A are a weak/false hopes for us. I've worked in the legal feild for years now. nothing happens quickly in law, and even if you win, you don't because everything goes to appeal. It will be 2008 before the legal issues are over. :(

ChicagoJ
12-14-2004, 04:35 PM
Answer: Detours and Distractions. That's not a bad slogan. I don't think the Pacers' marketing department would approve, but nobody can deny the accuracy, so far at least.

That's funny.

fwpacerfan
12-14-2004, 04:59 PM
I agree that the legal issues won't be wrapped up for a while. I also agree that the player's and the Pacers have a basis for a lawsuit because the NBA & the Palace did not provide adequate security to provide a safe work environment. I think that type of lawsuit will be a last resort but I see it happening.