So this story in today's Indy Star sort of ruined what was supposed to be a quiet Sunday for me. If you don't want to read the link, Ron Artest demanded a traded from the Pacers via the media (ain't that grand). Also, just to spice things up, he said one of he places he wanted to be traded was Cleveland. Also he said he wanted to go to the New York Knicks, which you will now read and hear about until: a) Artest is traded; b) The Feb. trade deadline; c) Whenever a New York writer/ESPN gets bored.
So where does this leave the Cavs? Well, I try to sum it up in my story for Monday's paper. Please do read the link and don't e-mail me trade scenarios, because I really don't think it's going to happen. I have it on pretty high authority that the Cavs will pass on this chance, for a number of reasons. Reason No. 1, of course, is that he's a freakin' wacko. But then, he's also a freakin' defensive wizard and maybe toughest guy in the NBA. Also, apparently, he plays the cello.
Now, many of you know I'm a huge Artest fan. He's the only guy in the league who can match LeBron James' size (6-foot-8, 260) at his position. He's fearless, he delivers in the clutch, and he genuinely wants to play defense and can get into the head of the opposition. I've said it many times, I believe he's one of the top 10 players in the NBA.
I also watched him ruin the Pacers last two seasons, first with a stupid flagrant foul in a playoff game in Detroit in 2004. Then, of course, last season he went AWOL in Detroit again. He shaves things in the back of his head, etc., etc. But what is most troubling to me is in this latest rant, he rips Rick Carlisle and says he wants to focus more on offense so he can get a bigger contract in three years. That is cancerous.
Frankly, if I were the Cavs, I wouldn't want him even though he may be exactly what they need. The risk is just so high. Especially if you have to give up Ilgauskas or Hughes for him, which I think it probably what it would take. But it is all probably moot, even if the Pacers are forced to trade him there's no way you trade him to a division rival.
But I'm sure it will be hashed out on plenty of message boards and talkshows, though.
For your reading pleasure, check out my Sunday column, which gives little nuggets about the Cavs' defense, Usher, Eric Snow's wallet, Larry Hughes' unflattering closeup, and Mike Wilks' dunking ability. Also you can read my prose from LeBron's 52-point loss, if you wish.