No, the Lakers have no choice but to ride the volatile Artest. The Lakers might be able to escape the West without him (although I’m sure Kevin Durant envisions a rematch with Artest almost every day he works out). If they do that though, Paul Pierce, LeBron James, or even Loul Deng (whose been playing LIGHTS OUT for the lurking Bulls) will be waiting, licking their chops. Artest killing himself on the defensive end lets Kobe save himself for the bigger moments. It’s best that way for the Lakers at this point.
I know the Lakers tried to fleece the Bobcats again by trying to ship Artest to Charlotte for Gerald Wallace or Stephen Jackson (the fact that the “trade” got beyond a “No” and a “*click*” on Charlotte’s end makes you realize what an inept franchise it is) but… Artest is damn near untradeable.
The Lakers knew when they signed Artest, the last 1-2 years of his contract would probably be brutal (until he becomes Ron Artest’s Expiring Contract), but by then, the Lakers window will more than likely be closed, so that simply leaves the Lakers to worry about the present with Artest.
I love Artest, I really do, so I simply refuse to kill the guy. (Plus, he could rip my esophagus out with his gigantic hands). He has killed the Lakers this year—but he plays hard every night—and I don’t know… he’s just a likeable guy. (I still think he got set-up in the Palace too). If this were Sasha Vujacic we were talking about, I would be calling the guy to be traded to Siberia for a bag of peanuts and some black-market caffeinated FourLokos.
The price of the contraband FourLokos have surged though, due to their increasing scarcity, so I’m not sure the Lakers could even get a case of them for Ron Artest at this point. Nobody is going to simply take this dilemma off the Lakers hands after Chris Wallace resurrected the Lakers dynasty. No GM wants to be the next Chris Wallace.