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Artest obsession

Ron Artest to the Heat?

Why not, right? If the Heat can somehow get its hands on Shaquille O'Neal, what's keeping them from adding Ron Artest and locking up the Eastern Conference title for the next two seasons?

This is so different than the Shaq situation. When Shaq demanded to be traded, he had leverage as to what team he went to because he was entering free agency the next summer, which meant he wouldn't re-sign with any team not on his list, taking the teams not on his wishlist out of the running.

With Ron, the Pacers have the entire league to sift through for offers, with basically no restrictions. So when you look at the Heat's best possible offer, it doesn't seem very enticing. The Heat would give up Antoine Walker and throw in Dorell Wright to sweeten the pot. But Walker plays the same position as Indiana's franchise player, Jermaine O'Neal, and his six-year deal is less-than attractive to a team like Indiana, who would prefer to remain flexible in case it has to pull another quick rebuilding job.

For those of you who believe Jason Williams should be offered... again, not enough to entice the Pacers. J-Will 30 years old, has chronic tendinitis in his right knee and certainly isn't a point guard who would want to play for Rick Carlisle. Plus, he's playing too darn well with Dwyane Wade to consider moving him at this point, even for Artest.

The Pacers would love to get a superstar back for Artest, but if that doesn't happen, they'll take an up-and-coming player, or players, with friendly salaries. The Heat doesn't really have either to offer Indiana.

So, believe it or not, it was actually easier to trade for Shaq than it is for Artest. By the way, when Ron goes to another team and causes problems you didn't think possible, you'll thank the basketball gods he didn't end up in Miami.




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