There is of course the article on Indystar.com, figure most of you have read that.
Here is an article out of Detroit
Pacers might yet get Artest back
Indiana's suspended star could return for the end of the regular season or the playoffs.
By Chris McCosky / The Detroit News
AUBURN HILLS--Don't sleep on the Indiana Pacers. They might not be dead just yet.
They stopped a six-game losing streak Friday against Dallas, without point guard Jamaal Tinsley and small forward Stephen Jackson, and they play in Atlanta today.
With a victory against the dismal Hawks, they could ease back into the eighth playoff spot and get back on their feet with a relatively easy February schedule in front of them.
On top of all that, I have a sneaky suspicion that Commissioner David Stern is going to free Ron Artest and reinstate him before the end of the season.
Stern has been asked about Artest repeatedly, and he has never completely rejected the possibility of allowing him to come back.
"I refuse to reject (that possibility), but I don't accept it either," Stern told the Rocky Mountain News Friday. "I just (don't) want to say, 'Never, never, never.' "
He said the same thing in an ESPN interview. The window obviously isn't closed and sealed against Artest coming back. Why else would Artest be practicing with the Pacers?
My guess, and it's only a guess, is that Stern will work out some kind of compromise. Perhaps he will allow Artest to come back after March 1 and finish the regular season, but make him ineligible for the playoffs.
Or, he could go the other way and reinstate him for the playoffs, sort of rewarding the Pacers for their perseverance.
Either way, I think the guy is coming back this season.
Pacers President Larry Bird wisely refuses to speculate on that topic, but he believes, ever so cautiously, that Artest has been reformed.
"Oh, yeah," Bird said, unable to conceal a smile. "I've said that to other teams, too. They call about Ronnie and I say, 'Hey, man, we're over the hump now. We get through this year and we're over the hump.' "
Bird believes that the time away from basketball will make Artest more tolerant.
"Ronnie was always one of those guys who'd say, 'I don't need this, I can always go back to where I grew up and hang out and play ball,' " he said. "That's over with. He realizes he loves this league. He's like everybody. He took it for granted and now he doesn't have it. "It's not just the money part, but the actual basketball part, the competing. When people retire the thing they miss is the locker room and the competition. That's what he's finding out."
On the block
With more than a little help from my colleague Mark Montieth of the Indianapolis Star, here is quick list of players on the trade block as the Feb. 24 deadline approaches.
1. P.J. Brown, New Orleans: A quality big man still at 35, but he is owed $16 million over the next two seasons. Tough sell.
2. Nick Van Exel, Portland: At least five teams have been inquiring about him, and you have to believe Indiana is one of them. He makes $11.8 million this year, with a team option ($12.7 million) next year.
3. Dale Davis, Golden State: If you have $10 million in tradable assets, you can have him. He's on the last year of his deal.
4. Eddie Jones, Miami: The Heat have been trying to trade him for a couple of years. His $13.5 million could come off the books next season.
5. Toni Kukoc, Milwaukee: A perfect pickup for a late-season push. Hasn't played much all year and he only makes $3 million.
6. Donyell Marshall, Toronto: The Raptors are asking for a king's ransom in return for Marshall and Jalen Rose. But, as the deadline gets closer, his talent and his $5 million contract, on its final year, will become more attractive.
7. Gary Payton, Boston: He has made it clear he wants to move back to the West Coast, though league rules prohibit his return to the Lakers (which has been rumored). Boston isn't going anywhere, and they need to play Marcus Banks. So, they might as well use this chip while they can.
9. Shareef Abdur-Rahim, Portland: Elbow surgery has taken his name off the front burner, but he is expected back after the All-Star break. He is in the final year, making $14 million.
10. Glenn Robinson, Philadelphia: Just have a feeling somebody might take a flier on him (maybe even the Sixers). He's in the last year, making $12 million.
Wizards coach Eddie Jordan, on his team ranking 30th, last, in team defense: "We're not 31? Sometimes, I think we're 31. I don't know, there may be an NBDL team that might be better than us right now."
Utah coach Jerry Sloan, confronting rumors that some of his players wanted out: "I asked them if anybody wanted to be traded. If they did, we'd try to get them out of here. If they thought it was too tough, if there was something we needed to do, we can take care of it. ... They have to decide who they're going to listen to -- their agents, their mom and dad. Who's going to coach them?"
Chris McCosky's quick hits
Shaquille O'Neal always gets the last laugh. Last year, Mavericks coach Don Nelson one-upped him. After Shaq had told Nelson he would never get the best of him because "when it's all said and done, I'll have five (championship rings) and he'll have none," Nelson promptly reminded Shaq that he won five rings with the Celtics. Undaunted, Shaq fired back, "He did win five? I didn't know that. He's the Jack Haley of his era." Jack Haley, of course, was the bench-warmer and Dennis Rodman caddie on Bulls and Lakers title teams.
Grant Hill has a little surprise in store for All-Star teammate Vince Carter. He's going to do to Carter what Scottie Pippen used to do to him -- make him guard the toughest assignment. "When I was young and Scottie (Pippen) and I were both the forwards, the West starters were Shawn Kemp and (Charles Barkley)," Hill said. "Neither of us wanted to guard Kemp because he was a beast, and Barkley was usually hung over. So Scottie would stick me on Kemp. I'm the veteran now and I'm going to put Vince on the other man I don't want." Well, it's pick your poison, Grant. The choices are Tim Duncan or Kevin Garnett.
Don't be surprised, though, if Duncan opts to skip the All-Star Game. His body is banged up, and mentally, he's drained. "It would be an exceptional time for me, not only physically, but, oddly enough, also mentally to just get away from the game," Duncan said. "I've been playing basically for three, four years straight, so it would be great to get away from it for a little bit of time."
Detroit Mercy's Willie Green is really going through the NBA roller-coaster in Philadelphia. Over a 16-game period, he started four games (including a career-high 32-point effort), came off the bench in seven games but playing less than 10 minutes in four of those, and had five games where he didn't play at all. On the year he has 18 starts and seven DNPs. "It's been like that so I'm kind of numb to it," he said. The problem is, Green and Allen Iverson don't play well together -- they are both undersized and both have to dominate the ball to be effective. So, Green's minutes come when Iverson is down -- which isn't very often.
Get this. Long-time NBA scholar, Bulls second-year point guard Kirk Hinrich (you catching my sarcasm?), thinks Eddy Curry should be an All-Star. "At the center spot in the East, who else is better than him besides Shaq?" Hinrich said. Hmm, Ben Wallace? Ever hear of him? Zydunas Ilgauskas, Chris Bosh, Emeka Okafor -- any of those guys ring a bell?
Sounds like free agent-to-be Michael Redd is doing some serious stumping to be in Cleveland next season. The Bucks star is from Columbus, and he wasn't shy about his desires. "Being from Columbus, that's why I went to Ohio State because it was close to home," Redd said. "The pros are different because it's about my livelihood. Life throws you curveballs and throws you into different situations. (In terms of where I'll play next year,) we'll see what happens. I love Columbus, and I have family in Cleveland." Redd is not a maximum-contract player, in my estimation, but Cleveland will probably have to offer him that to pry him away from the Bucks. The Cavs are one of only three teams expected to be able to offer a max deal (the Hawks and Warriors are the others).
Seems that when Carlos Arroyo was traded to Detroit, he left the local Jiffy Lube folks in Utah in a bad spot. Just a couple of days before the trade, Jiffy Lube launched its winter promotion campaign -- Carlos Arroyo lunch boxes. The company is now stuck with 6,800 lunch boxes. Ouch.
According to his agent, Cliff Robinson didn't fail a drug test. He was suspended for five games because, agent Bradley Marshall said, he missed a phone call check-up during a Warriors road trip in January. He is on probation because of a Feb. 5, 2001 arrest for driving under the influence and marijuana possession in Scottsdale, Ariz. Marshall said Robinson is appealing the suspension to get back the money ($65,000 per game).
The details of Rudy Tomjanovich's stress-related resignation from the Lakers are sad and scary. He was apparently so stressed that he was on medication that was potentially addictive. He said he tried an anti-depressant. When that didn't work, his doctors put him on something "stronger than that." The medication left him so groggy, he said he was stopping to get big cups of coffee twice on his way to work. No wonder his body, and mind, broke down.
Timberwolves coach Flip Saunders sees a trend with the departures of Tomjanovich, Lenny Wilkens, Hubie Brown and with Don Nelson missing numerous games this season. "What I wonder, it seems like a lot of the basketball purists are the guys that are leaving," he said. "Whether it's Lenny Wilkens, Hubie Brown, the guys you consider purists, teachers. ... when you're a coach and that's all you've done, you're in it for the camaraderie, the teaching, all those factors. And that's what makes it all worthwhile. When some of those things start to be compromised, you lose a little bit of your passion." I think Larry Brown can relate to that.
Most coaches don't feel comfortable campaigning to get their players reserve spots on the All-Star team. Brown won't do it, for example. None of the old-school coaches will. But, as we know, Rick Carlisle has. Now Magic coach Johnny Davis is doing it. He has sent letters to coaches asking them to vote for Steve Francis. Weak.