Lakers Trade Rumors: Moving Ron Artest Now Is a Move They May Regret Later

Yesterday Los Angeles Lakers forward Ron Artest denied rumors that he was seeking to be dealt from the team, but according to Lakers' general manager Mitch Kupchak and former Lakers' great Magic Johnson, the decision may not rest in Artest's hands.

Both Kupchak and Johnson recently let it be known in a very public manner that they are disappointed in the Lakers' performances thus far, and Kupchak, whose opinion holds the most weight, said the team would possibly be seeking a trade before the NBA deadline.

Most speculation has centered around Artest, and considering his career-low scoring average and his inability to adapt to the Lakers offense, most of the speculation seems justified.

Artest is averaging a mere 8.1 points per game on 35.5-percent shooting from the field, and he seems even more befuddled by Phil Jackson's triangle offense than he did in his first season.

I'm sure everyone remembers how that season ended.

If not: The Lakers defeated the Boston Celtics in Game 7 of the 2010 NBA Finals to capture their second consecutive championship, and the beleaguered Artest was very much an integral piece of their title run.

Artest's defense on players such as Kevin Durant and Paul Pierce was exemplary, and let's not forget the big shots against the Phoenix Suns in Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals and his three-pointer in the closing minutes of Game 7 against the Celtics.

Both shots could stand alone as pivotal moments in the Lakers' title quest last season, which brings me to the air of panic permeating through Lakerland today.

The Lakers' 34-15 record has been used as proof of their collapsing dynasty, and their inconsistent play has led some to believe that their championship window has already closed.

Sound familiar?

At this point last season, the Lakers were 37-13 and subject to the same criticisms they are facing right now.


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