Artest may not be the answer

The Clippers' Allen Iverson watch morphed into a Ron Artest watch last week with nary a savior on the horizon.

The Kings reportedly asked if they would take the brooding Artest for Corey Maggette. The Clippers would have done it on the phone but the Kings pulled back amid reports that owners Joe and Gavin Maloof still love Artest.

"He has a very large performance bank account," said Kings GM Geoff Petrie. "A lot of people have forgotten what it was like around here before he got here."

Translation: I know he's been awful but maybe we can ship out Mike Bibby and cheer him up.

Asked about a Sacramento Bee report that Artest had asked to be traded, Petrie replied, "That's a hypothetical question that you're going to have to save." Let's call that a "yes."

Artest staged a hypothetical no-show Friday in a loss to the Clippers, scoring five points and three rebounds, so let's call the situation "fluid."

Unfortunately for the Clippers, whose bad chemistry is only one of their problems, it may take until the Feb. 22 trade deadline to move Maggette and they don't have two months to waste.


-- Mark Heisler

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