Look up the word conundrum. Or contradiction. Or Enigma. Chances are, Ron Artest’s mug will be sitting right alongside their phonetic pronunciations.
It seems the Sacramento Kings think they’ll be better off with Donte Green, a raw rookie, than with Artest, a multi-faceted dominating forward. Sac is reportedly sending him to Houston in exchange for Green, the 28th pick in the 2008 draft, veteran backup point guard Bobby Jackson, an ’09 first-round pick and about $1 million.
I like the deal for Houston. If the deal is finalized, Artest becomes the old-school enforcer Tracy McGrady’s never had. The Rockets don’t need kids; they need men if they are going to win the Western Conference.
Artest gives Houston: a legitimate 1-2-3 punch (T-Mac and Yao Ming being the 1-2); and the kind of hardcore, intimidating presence the Rockets have not had since Hakeem Olajuwon if …
If the conundrum that is Ron Artest doesn’t manifest itself.
Artest is a true enigma. He may be the the most intriguing personality in pro sports. He’s gifted athletically. And pretty charming (at least he’s always been so to me). He’s smart. He’s entrepreneurial. (His TruWarier record label is fledgling, but still breathing).
He’s also volatile. Combustible. And potentially, well, almost anything.
But he’s worth the risk – especially for a team on the verge, such as the Rockets.
The timing is right. San Antonio no longer has a lock on the West. Utah is still trying to see over the proverbial hump. And the Lakers proved they could be had, even with the best active player on the planet.
In “The Dark Knight,” the Joker offers a telling assessment of why he can, but won’t, kill Batman. “Because,” he says, “you’re just too much fun.”
We can’t rid ourselves of Artest, either, because he’s just so much fun.