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Artest in Miami? Reward beats risk

Aaaartest     [Updated Saturday afternoon, 8-25: The Heat losing stout defender James Posey today to the Celtics should make Artest that much more attractive ].

     Yeah, Ron Artest once showed up for a practice wearing a bathrobe. So what? The man could play better defense in a silk smoking jacket and slippers than most guys can play in shorts and sneaks.

     This originally posted on Monday under the headline, 'Heat seeking The Artest Formerly Known As Ron.' Refreshing it now after columnizing on the topic in today's paper; click here to read.

     We know Pat Riley has called Sacramento about Artest. Riles now publicly downplays the possibility, yet said just yesterday, when asked a hypothetical alluding to Artest: "I've been able to manage players with tough backgrounds who might be thought of as discplinary problems. I'll look at any situation."

     Getting Artest would mean giving up Udonis Haslem and more, but I'm for the deal. You?

     Artest turns 28 in November, is a 6-7 swingman who'd give Miami versatility, defense and also some offensive pop, after averaging 18.8 last season. He's a talent vs. trouble guy, of course. The baggage includes the infamous 2004 brawl and more recently a March domestic abuse arrest that has a seven-game NBA suspension awaiting him to start the 2007-08 season. Artest + South Beach could = a Molotov cocktail. Neverthless, I trust Riley handling him.

     After a Heat offseason whose big adds have been Penny Hardaway and Smush Parker, Miami needs to make a move that would earn the attention of the rest of the East. This would.