LA HOOPS: Artest Not Likely
By Eric Pincus
The Los Angeles Lakers are very interested in Pacer small forward Ron Artest, despite the fact that he would alter the 2007 plan. Artest's contract expires the summer of 2008, assuming he uses his early termination option as expected. There are very few players the Lakers would make a mid-season trade for and Artest is one of them.
Unfortunately, a number of sources have verified that Indiana is not interested in a package centered on Chris Mihm.
It's not clear if the Lakers offered Kwame Brown or if the Pacers would be open to the idea, but the consensus seems to be that the Lakers are reliant on a third's team participation if they're to have any chance at Artest.
Although possible, three-team deals are tough to deliver. The Lakers have a few leads and are hopeful, but it wouldn't seem like there's any reason for optimism.
Don't be surprised to see the New York Knicks pull off a blockbuster to bring Artest to the Big Apple . . .
Rumored Offers (fill in players may be needed in some of the deals to balance contracts)
New York: Stephon Marbury, Trevor Ariza, Antonio Davis and the San Antonio pick for Artest, Jamaal Tinsley and a Pacer big man or two (Austin Croshere, Scot Pollard, Jonathan Bender's contract, etc).
Atlanta: Al Harrington and Josh Childress
Toronto: Joey Graham, Morris Peterson and Raphael Araujo
There are number of other deals being floated and certainly the rumor mill is never 100%, but clearly the Lakers are not the only team trying to land the former defensive player of the year.