The Lakers lose an A only to get an A+

10-year veteran Ron Artest is heading to the Los Angeles Lakers, and he will surely be paying some fees for his extra baggage. The move comes after Trevor Ariza, an important part of the Lakers championship run, turned down the team’s multi-year offer. In basically performing a trade without the trade, the two free agents will swap jerseys as Ariza has agreed in principle to a deal with Houston worth $5.8 million for next season, with long term talks on the table. So what does the Artest move mean for the defending champions, and which Artest will they be paying those millions to?

Coming to Hollywood with a shady and checkered past, Artest unfortunately will always be rememkobe_artest_400bered by his participation in the Auburn Hills brawl on November 19, 2004 when he played for the Indiana Pacers. However, I would like to argue that last year with the Rockets was a huge step forward in the maturation process of the forward, who meshed well with his teammates and showed leadership qualities as Houston pushed the Lakers to a game seven in the second round of the playoffs. The Lakers are not only getting the 2004 NBA Defensive Player of the Year who, for his career, has averaged 2.1 steals per game, they are getting the “I have learned from my past mistakes Artest”.

In an interview with ESPN, Artest was asked about why he decided to take less money and play for the Lakers. His response: “I am playing to win; I am not playing for the money anymore”. If you just had a Karl Malone and Gary Payton flashback, you are not alone. However the difference here is that Artest is only 29 and coming off a stellar season. The next big question is what will happen to Lamar Odom? In an ESPN interview, expert NBA Analyst Ric Bucher reported the chances of Odom signing with the Lakers is “good”, stating that the two sides can focus on the contract now that Ariza is out, and that there are limited suitors for Odom around the league. If Odom stays on board, I’m putting my money on the Lakers for a repeat.

An article by David Peterson- our most recent addition to our committee will be found under the writing name: Davepete starting tomorrow

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What does this Lakers Championship really mean?

An article by David Peterson.

I have heard it over a hundred times…”Kobe can’t win a championship without Shaq“. ESPN made sure to tagline this past finals series between the Lakers and Magic as Kobe’s quest for a ring of his own. But can the Lake87746142AB051_LAKERS_NUGGETSrs recent title be watered down to simply acknowledging that Kobe led the re-built Lakers back to the top of the NBA world? I would like to argue otherwise.

There is no doubt that Kobe Bryant was dominating in the playoffs and deserved finals MVP honors. However, without the addition of Trevor Ariza, the stronger play of Lamar Odom, and a healthy Andrew Bynum, the Lakers would have been in the same spot as last year, when they walked out of TD Banknorth Garden with green and white confetti falling to the court. The fact is this: Kobe is Kobe, a dominant, consistent, top 5 player in NBA history. However, he alone cannot win an NBA title. Jordan had Pippen, Rodman, Harper, and Kukoc. Kobe now has Pau Gasol, whom Magic Johnson calls “the second best skinny big man in the NBA behind Kevin Garnett“, as well as Trevor Ariza, who is the most athletic player on the team and who came up with some of the biggest steals in playoff history. Throw in strong play from Lamar Odom and an emerging star in Andrew Bynum, and you have a team with no visible weakness or flaws.

This Lakers team, and this championship season, is much more than Kobe getting the Shaq monkey off his back, it’s the beginning of another Lakers dynasty. This team is built to win two more titles within the next three years. Now it’s just up to Mitch Kupchak to keep the team together and Phil Jackson to somehow find another finger for his next ring. Parting words of wisdom: WARNING-don’t ever leave Fisher open for a crucial 3, you will get burned!