Update [2006-1-25 13:43:39 by TZ]: Forgive me if quotes like this make me less than thrilled about the new possibility of The Ron Artest Era:
?Basketball is Ron Artest?s passion. In order for Ron to fully demonstrate his natural skills and abilities, to the best of his abilities, he not only must be in an environment that is conducive to his growth an development as a player, he must also ensure that his family is happy and content as well. Ron does not believe that will be the case if he were in Sacramento. Period.?
We'll keep this updated.
This thing could still happen.
ESPN is reporting that Ron Artest and agent Mark Stevens will meet with Larry Bird and Donnie Walsh this morning in Indy to figure out what the hell is going on.
The Indianapolis Star says that the meeting was scheduled for 10 a.m. Eastern, which means we could start hearing things any time now.
The Bee is reporting that it could still happen, though Geoff Petrie hasn't been able to be reached.
I have little doubt that Ron-Ron will come out and say that he wants to play anywhere, including Sacramento. I have zero doubt that Indiana still wants to do this deal.
It would seem the only stumbling block would be Geoff Petrie and the Maloofs. Is he still confident in his apparent decision? If he didn't like the deal in the first place, did the Maloofs force his hand? Why did it take until Jan. 20 to get something going on this?
I believe that if Petrie really wanted to ship Peja out for Artest, this could've been done a month ago. You have to assume the Maloofs pressured him to do something with this sinking ship.
If this is the case, was Petrie just looking for a way out? And when the agent called - and who knows what the guy said - did Petrie just throw up his hands, secretly thrilled it didn't go down?
After all, it was the Maloofs essentially breaking the news on ESPNews Tuesday afternoon, not Petrie (who has been silent).
If this a Maloof deal and not a Petrie deal, we could lose our G.M. at some point.
The question right now is, do Petrie and the Maloofs still think Artest in Sacramento works? Whichever one pushed for the trade - the GM or the owners - do they still believe in their gut that this is the right deal?
We should find out sometime today.