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More Artest-Knicks Rumblings

Now that Isiah Thomas has landed Zach Randolph, filling the hole at small forward has become the talk of the town.

Rashard Lewis is off the table (if he was ever even on it) and Thomas has said he won't used his midlevel exception, which is how some team is going to pay Morris Peterson. (Toronto isn't taking salary back.)

So of course Queensbridge's Ron Artest's name is back in the rags.

From the Daily News:

Thomas, the Knicks' president and head coach, already has had discussions with Seattle free agent Rashard Lewis. Toronto's Morris Peterson is also a free agent and there is a possibility that Thomas could make a run at Sacramento's Ron Artest.

And from the Post's Marc Berman:
While free-agent Rashard Lewis is their pipe dream, on-the-block Ron Artest is more attainable. Thomas had stayed clear of his former player because of his list of violent transgressions that soured owner James Dolan. With the acquisitions of troubled Zach Randolph, the character issue is dead.

Artest, whose fallen out of favor in Sacramento, makes sense. Small forward is the hole in the lineup, and Artest would make the Knicks a solid perimeter defensive team that would cover up their shot-blocking woes. [...] Thomas has 17 players on the roster - two above the max, so another trade is coming - even if it's lateral. The new players can't be dealt for 30 days.

Commenter cwebb offered up Artest for Dan Dickau, Fred Jones, and David Lee. It works under the cap rules.

Lee is a prize you can't pass up. One of the best rebounders in the league, an efficient scorer who doesn't take many non-layups. All that on a rookie contract. With Jones and Dickau being serviceable vets whose contracts are up this summer, it's a no-brainer... if Isiah complies.

And unless he is deeply in love with Lee, why wouldn't he? Zach Randolph is a great rebounder. Artest is the elite perimeter defender he thinks he needs. Combining those two with Eddy Curry -- that's a vicious offensive post team. Do it, Zeke.

If this deal actually hits the rumor mill but doesn't happen, you'd have to think it's Isiah's call, right? Petrie couldn't pass up Lee considering all the slop he's been offered.