Marty Burns of Sports Illustrated looks at Ron Artest's possible future destinations, with mentions of Miami, New York, and San Antonio.
Burns says he wouldn't go out and get Artest if he was any of these teams:
That seems like a fair assessment. Still, I think with either some very strong personalities around him (Miami, San Antonio) or a complete vacuum of leadership (like last year's Kings), he could keep up the good face until his contract runs out next summer.
He's clearly tradeable - that whole Clippers rumor seemed driven solely by Elgin Baylor's desire to land Ron-Ron after missing out last season. Some team a step below contention will roll the dice. I doubt San Antonio will do it - they need an offensive spark at the wing position, not another strongman. The Clippers remain a possibility if they pass on Mike Dunleavy Jr. and Geoff Petrie lowers his demands. (I have a feeling Petrie was pushing for a draft pick or a second player, thus killing the deal in December.)
The Heat still make the most sense. Adding an inefficient offense players won't matter when you run Dwyane Wade, Shaquille O'Neal, and Udonis Haslem. I mean, Antoine Walker played a big role on this team. Ron wants to be a perimeter player, and he'd have to be on the Heat, with Shaq clogging the paint and Wade getting in there at every opportunity. There'd be no choice but to rain
There are two major issues with any Ron-to-Miami deal, though.
- What would the Kings take back from Miami? Dorell Wright seems to be the bounty. Wright is intriguing - he's a more athletic John Salmons with flashier handles and an incredible knack for rebounds. In fact, among Kings regulars, only Kenny Thomas has a better rebound rate than Wright this year. And Wright is a small forward. Very intriguing. The problem? John Salmons. Unless the Kings think they can get away with slotting Salmons at the point in the future (it's possible), I can't see them bringing in another young wing player. However, if a draft pick were included with Wright and James Posey's expiring contract, I could see Petrie taking the bait. I wouldn't blame him. Getting something for Ron-Ron is important, and Wright is a nice piece. (If Ron-Ron for Haslem straight up could happen, I would be to ecstatic to react. This team needs a Haslem.)
- Will Pat Riley come back to coach the Heat again? That has to happen for him to bring Ron to town. Case closed. He won't think about it unless he's serious about returning to the sidelines. Why? He's a glory hound - he won't let Ron Rothstein contend for a title if a title is so much as thinkable - and he'd be needed to help get Ron-Ron into the program. So unless Riley is ready to work this team over for the next few months, it's not happening.