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Thread: Bird agrees Artest must go

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    Default Bird agrees Artest must go

    Pacers president says team's disgruntled player should not have gone public with his complaints

    By Mike Wells
    mike.wells@indystar.com


    DALLAS -- Like everybody else in the organization, Indiana Pacers president Larry Bird stuck by Ron Artest through his trials and tribulations.

    But no more. Bird, who recently returned from a 10-day scouting trip in Europe, made his first public comments since Artest told The Star he wanted to be traded. Bird said Monday he "felt betrayed," and though Artest has since said he wants to return, Bird insisted that's not possible.

    "I think enough is enough," Bird said. "I think Ronnie will do fine but not here."
    Bird said he thought Artest had turned the corner emotionally after his seasonlong suspension last year and would be an MVP candidate.

    "But I don't know what goes on in Ronnie's world when he leaves (Conseco Fieldhouse)," he said.

    "Ronnie needed support after everything he's been through. Who better to give it to him than the people in this organization?"

    Bird recalled an offseason conversation with his three star players, a meeting that no longer matters.

    "They thought this was their year as a team," Bird said. "Stephen (Jackson), Ronnie and Jermaine (O'Neal) came up to me and asked if I would keep them together for one more year and see how it goes. I was behind it 100 percent."

    Now?

    "I don't know if this is the right wording, but I felt betrayed," Bird said. "We're disappointed. Things happen, maybe it's a good thing. He's a very talented player. I always liked working with him and how he went about things on the basketball court. He's a top-12 player in the league, but we're in a situation where we have to move on."

    Bird, who said he has yet to talk to Artest, said he took exception to Artest going public with his unhappiness.

    "He was clearly frustrated," he said. "Ronnie thinks if we lose, we would have won the game if he had the ball every time. The offense bogs down at times, but it's still a great offense. He held the ball a lot at times. Nothing frustrated me more than him not rebounding. But I didn't go out in the public and say anything."

    While in Europe, Bird said he spoke to CEO Donnie Walsh daily. Bird wondered whether he needed to return early but decided against it because he and Walsh weren't going to make a quick trade.

    Artest, who did not return a phone message Monday, remains on the inactive list. His agent, Mark Stevens, said he spoke Monday with Walsh and "everything stands in the same place."

    "(The trade) could happen tomorrow; it could be two weeks from now," Stevens said.
    Bird and Walsh will continue to seek a trade this week. Bird said they prefer to trade Artest to a Western Conference team. Denver, the Los Angeles Clippers, Minnesota and Golden State have been mentioned.


    "Any time you deal a player you would like him to go out of the conference," Bird said. "We're looking at the West, but if it's the East, that's how it's going to be. Whether we get a draft choice or a player, we're going to make sure it's the right deal. We've done enough to back Ronnie. We're in a position where we have to protect the franchise now."

    Bird knows losing Artest will hurt, but he said the team chemistry will be better without the constant distractions.

    "I'm not going to say we're better, that's not going to happen when you lose a player like Ronnie," he said. "As far as chemistry goes, we're a lot better. We're still deep. We have some emotional guys, but we'll be fine."

    Call Star reporter Mike Wells at (317) 444-6053.

    http://www.indystar.com/apps/pbcs.dl...TS04/512260410

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    Rebound King Kstat's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bird agrees Artest must go

    I'm surprised he's speaking on this at all. He has a ton of egg on his face from this ordeal.....

    The guy even posed with Artest on the cover of Sports Illustraded. Bet he wishes he hadn't done that.....

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    Default Re: Bird agrees Artest must go

    I'm not going to say we're better, that's not going to happen when you lose a player like Ronnie," he said. "As far as chemistry goes, we're a lot better. We're still deep. We have some emotional guys, but we'll be fine."


    Ey, didn't everyone get all up in a tiff when I said this a few weeks ago? =/
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    Default Re: Bird agrees Artest must go

    "I'm not going to say we're better, that's not going to happen when you lose a player like Ronnie," he said. "As far as chemistry goes, we're a lot better. We're still deep. We have some emotional guys, but we'll be fine."
    I can't wait until Ron's gone so we can start to hear about some of the things going on behind the scenes with him the last few years.

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    Default Re: Bird agrees Artest must go

    Quote Originally Posted by Kstat
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    I'm surprised he's speaking on this at all. He has a ton of egg on his face from this ordeal.....

    The guy even posed with Artest on the cover of Sports Illustraded. Bet he wishes he hadn't done that.....
    Bird is not a politician. He says what he thinks and moves on, whether or not thigns went how he wanted them to go.

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    Default Re: Bird agrees Artest must go

    Quote Originally Posted by Kstat
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    I'm surprised he's speaking on this at all. He has a ton of egg on his face from this ordeal.....
    I am not.

    We all know it was Bird who took the calculated risk and stuck his neck out for Artest, in what now was the wrong move to do.

    I am sure he is smart enough now and then to realize that he and he alone was going to be the front office Goat or Hero, all hinging on how the Artest experiment panned out... I think that much is clear..

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    Default Re: Bird agrees Artest must go

    Quote Originally Posted by Hicks
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    Bird is not a politician. He says what he thinks and moves on, whether or not thigns went how he wanted them to go.
    All GMs are politicians, wether they like it or not. They stake their reputations when they go out on a limb like Bird did for ARtest.

    It's not as if Bird's in any trouble, but his reputation (and certainly his pride) took a huge hit over the last 2 weeks.

    In some ways I feel sorry for Bird, but he knew better than anybody else here what a huge risk he took, so there's a limit.

    It wasn't about being the team everyone loved, it was about beating the teams everyone else loved.

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    Default Re: Bird agrees Artest must go

    Good to see Larry speaking, out.

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    Default Re: Bird agrees Artest must go

    Quote Originally Posted by Kstat
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    I'm surprised he's speaking on this at all. He has a ton of egg on his face from this ordeal.....

    The guy even posed with Artest on the cover of Sports Illustraded. Bet he wishes he hadn't done that.....
    I'm not convinced none of that was anything other than attempts at raising Ron's trade value...

    Maybe there was a mixture of hope that he had learned his lesson and would succeed here BUT IMHO there was something on the other side of the scales and that was raising his trade value and keep an ear to the tracks for a chance to move him for the right opportunity.

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    Default Re: Bird agrees Artest must go

    Anyone get the feeling the Pacers have received an offer they find acceptable (if not accepted already) based on some of the statements coming out?

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    Default Re: Bird agrees Artest must go

    It's great to finally see Bird talking. Now we can put to rest those rumors about him being dead or in therapy.

    KStat, you said Bird's reputation took a hit. I'm not so sure it did though. Obviously, everyone knows the talent that Ron has, as well as a hard-working attitude. Therefore, taking the chance on him gains him respect, IMO. Getting burned like this is worse for Ron than Larry because it shows once again that Ron has not, or will not, mature.

    As far as the SI article being something to raise Artest's trade value...I dunno. I think Bird really likes Artest the player. Honestly, any basketball fan should like the basketball player that Artest is. And, if he was really concerned about Ron's trade value, I doubt the word "betrayal" would've been used. That's an awful strong word if you're trying to paint a pretty picture.
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    Default Re: Bird agrees Artest must go

    Any worthy GM will defend his players. Bird was showing loyalty, and it ended up biting him in the behind. I'd rather have that then have a GM who wont support his players.

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    Default Re: Bird agrees Artest must go

    Quote Originally Posted by pizza guy
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    And, if he was really concerned about Ron's trade value, I doubt the word "betrayal" would've been used. That's an awful strong word if you're trying to paint a pretty picture.
    This is one of the reasons I think the Pacers now have an acceptable deal.

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    Default Re: Bird agrees Artest must go

    good point
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    Default Re: Bird agrees Artest must go

    Quote Originally Posted by BlueNGold
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    Anyone get the feeling the Pacers have received an offer they find acceptable (if not accepted already) based on some of the statements coming out?
    Yeah I have a gut feeling we'll hear something by Wed/Thurs...
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    Default Re: Bird agrees Artest must go

    Quote Originally Posted by BlueNGold
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    Anyone get the feeling the Pacers have received an offer they find acceptable (if not accepted already) based on some of the statements coming out?
    Man I was thinking the same exact thing after reading the article.

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    Default Re: Bird agrees Artest must go

    Quote Originally Posted by Diesel_81
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    Man I was thinking the same exact thing after reading the article.

    Same here. The only thing that might be slowing it down is a multi team deal, or DW giving the #2 bidder a chance to sweeten the offer.

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    Default Re: Bird agrees Artest must go

    I wouldn't put any statements out until the trade were done and league approved. Nothing is final until ink is on paper.

    I think Bird took a huge hit from the standpoint of his own ego. I don't know what would make anyone think that this doesn't hurt him personally, what all has transpired with Ron-Ron. Politics aside, I think that that SI cover was a mistake that Larry made in hindsight (20/20 and all), and I think LB knows it.
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    Default Re: Bird agrees Artest must go

    So therefore, NO, I don't think anything is close to finality. When a trade gets close to being final, I think you try to protect it sooo much that you wouldn't even talk about the parties involved.
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    Default Re: Bird agrees Artest must go

    Finally....Bird speaks. Took him long enough to tow the party line.
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    Default Re: Bird agrees Artest must go

    Quote Originally Posted by Hicks
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    [I]We're still deep. We have some emotional guys, but we'll be fine."

    Watch out SJax!

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    Default Re: Bird agrees Artest must go

    Quote Originally Posted by Hicks
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    Bird is not a politician. He says what he thinks and moves on, whether or not thigns went how he wanted them to go.

    Amen to that! I have never seen a more candid NBA GM/President. He does not sugar coat anything and speaks his mind. He does not beat around the bush. While I agree that all GMs are politicians, he definitely is an exception.

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    Default Re: Bird agrees Artest must go

    Well at least this makes me feel a little better.

    I won't be at ease until he is gone, but it does now sound like there is no going back.


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    Default Re: Bird agrees Artest must go

    Quote Originally Posted by Hicks
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    [I]

    Bird recalled an offseason conversation with his three star players, a meeting that no longer matters.

    "They thought this was their year as a team," Bird said. "Stephen (Jackson), Ronnie and Jermaine (O'Neal) came up to me and asked if I would keep them together for one more year and see how it goes. I was behind it 100 percent."

    No one has commented on what I thought was the most interesting part of the article.

    This is why Artest was kept.

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    Default Re: Bird agrees Artest must go

    Quote Originally Posted by Unclebuck
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    No one has commented on what I thought was the most interesting part of the article.

    This is why Artest was kept.
    I doubt that.

    Seems like an odd mis-direction to JO's comments that the public only knows "about 10%" of the team's problems with Ron.

    I still think the only reason Artest has been here for the past two seasons was because Bird was being "greedy" in his trade demands. So he made the rest of the team suffer while his ego allowed him to overvalue the malignant tumor spreading its destruction like a wildfire.
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