From today's mailbag:
Q: Can you please break down some Artest trade scenarios. It's been days since the trade demand went down and I'm tired of seeing Peja for Artest talk. I need something fresh; Odom, Maggette, Igoudala. You can play the GM game with real salary cap dollars.
--Zach D., Fort Collins, CO
SG: I'm glad someone asked me this. I keep reading these Artest trade scenarios that make no sense -- really, is he more crazy than some of the other lunatics in the league? For instance, I still maintain that Stephen Jackson was the craziest guy on the court that night -- he challenged the entire Pistons team to a fight, charged into the stands throwing haymakers like he was fighting the Baseball Furies in "The Warriors," then left the stadium shirtless and waiving fans to dump beer on him. That was less crazy than anything Artest did? Throw in how he's only 25 years old, as well as one of the top-25 players in the league, and I can't imagine why Indiana would give him away.
So where could he go? Remember, they have a genuine chance to win the championship -- they need to get someone back who can score from the swingman position. They're not getting Jefferson, Igoudala, Lewis, Maggette or Deng for him, and they would never take on those Antwan Jamison/Wally Szezcerbiak-type contracts. The Kings don't work because Peja is a free agent this summer (too big of a risk). The Rockets and Suns don't match up. Cleveland would never risk inadvertently sabotaging the LeBron Era when he could bolt in 2-3 years. The Knicks would only work if they included Channing Frye -- even Isiah isn't dumb enough to do that. Lamar Odom is too much for Artest; Ricky Davis, Josh Howard or Shane Battier isn't enough. Any non-playoff team knows that Artest would flip out in a losing situation.
Anyway, here's the team that makes sense: Milwaukee. They have Bobby Simmons, who could be best described as Ron Artest Lite -- good teammate, good defender, reliable shooter, plays 3 positions, and he's decidedly un-crazy. They also have two big men (Dan Gadzuric and Jamaal Magliore) who could be intriguing for the Pacers -- possible upgrades over Scot Pollard and Jeff Foster. Just feels like something could work here. Plus, the city of Milwaukee has already survived Jeffrey Dahmer -- Artest would be a breeze by comparison. I think that's where he ends up. And if that gives him a chance to hang out on Latrell Sprewell's yacht during the summers, all the better.