Elster's World

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Artest Rumor

The latest Knick scuttlebutt, troubled Sacramento Kings forward Ron Artest to the Knicks in exchange for some combination centering around the expiring contracts of Jones and Dickau, is very interesting talk. And so what if there are currently 18 players on the Knicks roster?

On the one hand, Artest is insane - he was the key player in the Palace melee and he's been a cancer everywhere he's been. Teaming him with players like Randolph and Curry, with a little Marbury thrown in to simmer, is an absolute recipe for disaster. It appears that Isaiah has decided to make or break this year - throwing character out the window in exchange for as good a team, at least on paper, as he can put on the floor. And a player like Artest can easily cause a very volatile Knick team to implode in a truly spectacular fashion - practice fights, refusal to play hard, no one but David Lee talking to the media, nightclub "incidents" involving Randolph and Artest where thirteen people end up killed in posse drive-bys - the possibilities are endless.

On the other hand, isn't Artest exactly the player the Knicks need? He doesn't need the ball on offense, but he'll occasionally explode for 30 point nights. He can guard anyone defensively, he grabs tough rebounds and he protects the paint (you know, what the Knicks gave Jared Jeffries 30 million dollars to do last year). If the other players rally around him, he can glue a poor defense together. As for adding salary (Artest has 2 years and just under $16 million coming to him), this is the Knicks, what do they care? And therefore, why should we care? Dolan wants a winner so badly at this point, he'd rubber stamp this deal in a second.

And let's not forget the flexibility this deal would give Isaiah. He now can put out a front court of Curry, Randolph and Artest, with Lee, Q-Rich, Jeffries, Randolph Morris, Ronaldo Balkman and Wilson Chandler coming off the bench. So he has a.....let's see here..... 9 man rotation not counting any of the guards. Um.......

Obviously, a deal like this would make the Knicks an almost mortal lock to make the playoofs in the Eastern Conference (barring the Artest explosion factor) but also one of the most unlikeable teams in the entire league. Curry, Artest, Randolph, Marbury and Nate Robinson - it's just a dream team of players to dislike. But again flip-siding it, in one sense it will make the team a lot more competitive while we wait upon the Lee, Collins, Balkman, Chandler, Demetrius Nicholls, Morris nucleous to grow. And don't forget the Knicks will be signing Lebron James when he becomes a free agent in three (?) years.

UPDATE: The Post is reporting that in order for this trade to happen, the Knicks would have to package a young prospect, notably David Lee, to sweeten the deal for the Kings. I say, NO WAY. Not only is Lee the best liked Knick, he is one of the only likable players on the team. Sure he has limited upside, but he's a rebounding fool would will learn to be a better defensive player. And he's a model citizen. Why on Earth do you trade that for a trouble maker? The Artest deal only makes sense for the Knicks if they get him for 50 cents on the dollar. Packaging Lee in changes all that.

Other News:

I had been hearing all kinds of wild reports that Pedro Martinez had been throwing the ball in the mid-90's during his bullpen sessions. During last night's game (the tail end of an embarrassing sweep to the Rockies which I am simply not talking about) Keith Hernandez was telling over how his nephew hit against Pedro in a simulated game on Tuesday. According to the nephew, a low prospect in the Mets system, Pedro's pitches were moving like vintage Pedro....sadly, they were moving in the mid-80's. I think everyone needs to take deep breaths with Pedro - hope for the best but, despite his bravado, expect the worst.