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Ron Artest, On Contract Extensions and What Yao Ming Knows About the Ghetto

by November 30, 1999 @ 12:00 am

Jul 30th 2008 11:41PM by Tom Ziller (author feed)
Filed under: Kings, RocketsLike 12 hours after news broke that the Rockets had traded for Ron Artest, our beloved enigma is making waves in the media, responding to some anxious comments from would-be new teammate Yao Ming. Sam Amick of the caught up with Ron-Ron this afternoon to talk about the trade and Yao. A couple key excerpts:
We’ve still got to make sure there’s still a commitment. That’s the main thing, is to make sure there’s still a commitment. When I speak to the powers-that-be of the Houston Rockets organization, we’re going to find out how much they really want me there. We’ll find out. I’m still waiting to find out if this is just a trade or if this is like a long-term commitment type thing. […]

I understand what Yao said, but I’m still ghetto. That’s not going to change. I’m never going to change my culture. Yao has played with a lot of black players, but I don’t think he’s ever played with a black player that really represents his culture as much as I represent my culture. Once Yao Ming gets to know me, he’ll understand what I’m about. Sometimes it’s hard to get to know Ron Artest because I’m so down to earth to a fault. … I can’t wait to be putting on that jersey and be standing next to Yao Ming. I can’t wait. I guess once Yao Ming approves it, I’ll be a Houston Rocket.
On the first point: Artest can’t block the trade if Houston won’t talk extension, but that’s not going to stop Ron from talking about it. He’s completely unfiltered, as we all know, and while you wouldn’t think he could say anything that would change Houston’s collective mind, we do have 15 days before the deal can become official. If he gets too aggressive with the ‘pay me’ talk — this is relatively mild — the Rockets could get cold feet.

The Yao stuff is interesting if only because Ron talks as if he needs to impress Yao, to convince him he’s OK. Honestly, Artest has reason to feel miffed that Yao brought up the Brawl today without prompting. Instead of popping off, it almost reads like Ron completely understands Yao’s fears and wants to reassure him everything will be OK. It’s an odd pose for a guy who, for the last four years, has done everything in his power to assert to those around him that he (Ron) is better than everyone else. Deferring to Yao, even at this early stage, is a big step.

Sacramento, of course, wishes Amick would choke on his word processor until this thing is final. No more drama!

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Ron Artest Found Out About His Trade While Live on Sports Talk Radio

by @ 12:00 am

Aug 4th 2008 2:50PM by Brett Edwards (author feed)
Filed under: Rockets, NBA Gossip, NBA Media Watch
Plenty has been said about the many, um, idiosyncrasies of Ron Artest. But no matter what your opinion is of the man, no one should have to find out about being traded to another team while live on the air on a national sports talk radio show. That’s exactly how Ron-Ron discovered he was headed to Houston though. As he called in to wish Sirius radio host Scott Ferrall a happy birthday, he was given the news, and seemed relatively unfazed, all things considered.

I love how, once Artest realized what had happened, he immediately focused his attention on the primary reason for the call: the host’s birthday. This proves one of two things: either Artest isn’t as self-centered as some people have perceived him to be, or that he’s not all there mentally. You make the call.

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In Completely Stunning News. An NBA Player Got Busted for DWI

by @ 12:00 am

Aug 12th 2008 1:29PM by Matt Moore (author feed)
Filed under: Rockets, Western, NBA Police BlotterYou know what the Houston Rockets need, now that they’ve been bounced from the first round again, Yao Ming is recovering from a severe foot injury by playing in the Olympics, and they’ve added one of the most volatile players in the NBA in Ron Artest?

Drama. And that’s exactly what Rafer Alston is here for.

Alston was busted for driving while intoxicated on Friday, and posted a $500 bond. This comes almost exactly one year after he was arrested for public intoxication and assault, though he was cleared of those charges. He was also cleared of charges from August 28th last year stemming from allegations he slashed the throat of someone. Now, Skip To My Lou is the only truly competent point guard the Rockets have, and they’re going to need him. But someone might want to tell him not to leave the house during August. At all. Just stay indoors, Rafer!

Take a look. It’s in a book. It’s Reading Rainbow.

(HT: Dream Shake)

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Shane Battier, Overrated NBA Player?

by @ 12:00 am

Aug 18th 2008 1:05PM by Tom Ziller (author feed)
Filed under: Rockets, NBA Media WatchSkeets at Ball Don’t Lie took FOXSports to task for its absolutely absurd “Top 5 Overrated NBA Players” slideshow, which is attributed to no writer but is mentioned as being supplied by Yardbarker. Dwyane Wade checks in at #5 and Yao Ming places #3. Those are ridiculous enough to not warrant dispute. Anyone who watches basketball will know to ignore those assertions.

But Shane Battier at #1, with the following justification, that really chafes my soul:Battier is as consistent as winter rain in the Northwest - if by consistent you mean consistently mediocre. Despite playing nearly 37 minutes per game, he averaged only nine points and five rebounds last season.You can tell a of research was involved here. I mean, citing both points per game minutes per game? Heavy, heady stuff. Battier’s role is not as a scorer or rebounder, of course. He’s a defender, and a role-playing shooter. Houston happened to be the second best defensive team in the NBA, as it was in Battier’s first year with the Rockets. Memphis, when Battier played there, also regularly ranked high on defense consistently. Battier has been his team’s predominant “stopper” since he entered the league.

FOX also mentions his shooting percentages, which on first glance look poor. This is why we take more than one glance! Battier is #99 in career True Shooting percentage, a figure that accounts for threes and free throws in adjusting raw field goal percentage. Only 98 players in the history of the NBA and ABA have shot more efficiently than Battier. As for consistency: Battier has missed 14 of a potential 572 regular season games in his NBA career. He’s among the most durable wings in the game.

He has never made so much as an All-Star team, and has been voted onto the All-Defense second team once despite a reputation among those who know as an elite stopper. Who exactly is overrating him? Back to the drawing board, fellas.

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NBA Essentials: Redd’s Own Best Friend

by @ 12:00 am

Aug 26th 2008 9:05AM by Tom Ziller (author feed)
Filed under: Pistons, Rockets, Suns, USA Basketball

On Michael Redd: “THIS MAN WAS TALKING TO HIMSELF DURING THE MEDAL CEREMONY. IF ANYONE READS LIPS, TELL ME WHAT HE WAS SAYING. I THINK HE MIGHT’VE BEEN SINGING THE SOMALI NATIONAL ANTHEM. NO WONDER HE DIDN’T PLAY.”
The shocking statistical answer to the absurd question: Dream Team or Redeem Team?
Carnival of the NBA #59.
Salim Stoudamire’s Team USA jersey is the hot fall fashion.

The odd investigation of Lindsey Hunter.

Trraaaade! Suns send D.J. Strawberry to Houston for Sean Singletary. Jersey maker rues the needless extra work.

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NBA Top 50: Ron Artest (No. 43)

by @ 12:00 am

Aug 28th 2008 3:00PM by Tom Ziller (author feed)
Filed under: Rockets

When Houston traded for Ron Artest, the bulk of the talk centered on how he’d fit in behind two megastars in Tracy McGrady and Yao Ming. Would he be comfortable being a third option? As an experience Artest voyeur, I can comfortably say no, no he will not be comfortable as a third option. You see, Ron-Ron doesn’t view the world in terms of hierarchies. In the heat of a possession, he doesn’t care about point guards or set plays or working within The System.

He wants the ball, and he wants to score.Continue Reading

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Shane Battier Gets a Hero’s Welcome in China

by @ 12:00 am

Aug 29th 2008 2:30AM by Matt Watson (author feed)
Filed under: Rockets, Western, NBA Videos

I can’t understand a single syllable of Chinese, but I do know that if you make it through the first 45 seconds you’ll see Shane Battier arriving in China to a throng of adoring fans sometime during the Olympics.

What’s with the beauty pageant treatment? Being a teammate with Yao Ming has its perks, one of which is that Battier is practically a TV star over there: back in April we told you how his commercial for Peak, a Chinese shoe company, was on non-stop rotation on Chinese television, and as of late July, things hadn’t changed. From Daniel Oshinsky of the Rocky Mountain News:I’ve seen this ad so often now, I’ve been forced to turn off the TV. I’m terrified to hear its faux Brian McKnight soundtrack one more time, to see this former Duke star splashing through a muddy rice patty again. Other ads for Yao Ming or Liu Xiang or even the Fuwas are on frequently, but it’s this Peak ad for Shane Battier that’s running on all of CCTV’s channels at all hours of the day. Even worse: it’s the only ad in the entire Peak campaign. Is this what Jason Kidd can look forward to? It’s not a bad way to live.

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Hardwood Pundits: NBA Players Weigh In On Obama vs. McCain

by @ 12:00 am

Aug 29th 2008 1:00PM by Elie (author feed)
Filed under: Hawks, Heat, Kings, Lakers, Nuggets, Rockets, NBA Videos

In this exclusive video NBA players like Grant Hill, Derek Fisher and Carmelo Anthony talk about who would they want to see in the White House, Barack Obama or John McCain. We also hang out with Sacramento’s Spencer Hawes, one of the biggest political enthusiasts in the NBA. Hawes, who is originally from Seattle, tells us how he became a Republican and why he won’t watch CNN.

AOL Video link. Youtube link.

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NBA Top 50: Shane Battier (No. 42)

by @ 12:00 am

Sep 2nd 2008 10:30AM by Tom Ziller (author feed)
Filed under: Rockets

The case for Shane Battier was made quite recently on this blog. I’m not nearly conceited or drunk enough to quote myself, so a paraphrasal: Battier is among the best defenders in the league, he is quite an efficient offensive player, and he never misses games. He is one of the most underrated players in the NBA, and he deserves your baklava. (Come on, the dude’s hungry. Hook him up.)

David Berri and I have had some fairly serious disagreements over recent times. However, I do respect Berri’s system and what he does. One of my favorite Berri analyses came in his dissection of Battier. The piece focused on Battier’s ability to limit mistakes and get a good number of steals. Well worth the read.Continue Reading

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Bonzi

by xerova @ 12:00 am

Sep 4th 2008 10:35PM by Tom Ziller (author feed)
Filed under: Hornets, Kings, RocketsWithout question, the biggest NBA free agent debacle of this decade was Bonzi Wells’ decision to reject a $37 million, five-year offer from Sacramento two summers ago. The Kings moved on, signing John Salmons to a cheaper contract. Wells moved on … eventually. He took a two-year, $4.5 million deal with Houston. He played rarely, and was mercifully traded to New Orleans this February. He is currently chillin’ on the vine, waiting for some nominal contract.

During that uncomfortable three-month interlude in 2006, Bonzi canned his agent, William Phillips. Phillips apparently no longer has any NBA clients. (Go figure.) … he is still in the representation business. And he’s still turning everything he touches to gold, as the ’s Sam Amick points out:
[H]e has lost yet another high-profile client. This time, however, it wasn’t his own doing. Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, who has used Phillips as his representation for quite a few years, resigned today amid a cloud of controversy that just wouldn’t go away.
Not a good batting average there, Mr. Phillips.

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