Pacers CEO Donnie Walsh reiterated this week that he's prepared to keep Ron Artest past the Feb. 23 trading deadline if he feels the need.
But he doesn't think he'll need to.
Walsh told ESPN.com that he remains confident that the Pacers can find a suitable trade partner in the final month of trading season -- as opposed to waiting for the offseason to move Artest -- after an all-but-done deal for the Clippers' Corey Maggette collapsed.
"I do think we're getting closer," Walsh said. "I do think we'll have something in the next week or so."
Walsh adds that the Pacers' preference remains a trade involving only one other team and involving as few players as possible. Without discussing specific scenarios, he acknowledged that "we'd also look at cap savings."
Artest, according to Walsh, has not asked to be reactivated by the Pacers since the initial withdrawal of his trade demand. Walsh also said he won't consider allowing Artest to play for the Pacers again if no deal is struck before the deadline.
"Our plan is to trade him," Walsh said. "We have no plans to bring him back."
Golden State, Minnesota, Denver and both L.A. teams have all maintained strong interest since Artest was made available in mid-December. As outlined here last week, New Orleans/Oklahoma City is a below-the-radar option in the cap-savings category, because the Hornets can build an offer around fellow swingman Desmond Mason and his expiring contract in ($7.2 million) in a virtual salary match with Artest ($6.8 million).