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Ron Artest to the Lakers, says Ron Artest

July 2, 2009 |  4:30 pm

UPDATE (5:00 pm)-'s Chris Broussard reports the deal would be worth "an estimated $18 million" over three years, which is a perfect length from LA's standpoint. Artest will be 30 in November.  BK

UPDATE (4:37 pm)- The LAT's Mike Bresnahan is also reporting the Lakers are close to a deal to bring in Artest.  He writes that Artest would likely want a full midlevel deal (in the neighborhood of $32 mil over five years), but it wouldn't surprise me in the slightest if the contract, once signed, was actually shorter than that. We'll have to wait and see. As Bres notes, Artest's arrival would almost certainly mean the end of Trevor Ariza's tenure in LA. BK

Ron Artest rubs Kobe's head CBS's Ken Berger reports Ron Artest is ready to sign with the Lakers.  (Note: Berger's original post has been updated with fresh information.  The Lakers are not commenting, but Berger writes he has additional corroboration.) No contract terms have been ironed out, Berger writes, but Artest told him he'll be playing in purple and next season:

"I'm definitely going to L.A. -- to sign, yeah," Artest said in a phone interview. "Lakers, Lakers, Lakers. I'm in L.A. right now."

Artest said he met with Lakers owner Dr. Jerry Buss Thursday and previously had spoken with Lakers coach Phil Jackson. He was en route to his financial manager's office, where he planned to huddle on the phone with his agent, David Bauman, to finalize details...

..."I don't really care about the money," Artest said. "I'll play there for nothing. ... L.A. was very interested in me, and they got me."

Until there's more concrete news, it's hard to say with certainty what's going on.  (If there's such a thing as a player being a bad source regarding his own negotiations, it would likely apply to Artest.)  If nothing else, Bauman can't like that whole "play there for nothing" part.  The man works on commission. As we talked about in this week's 710 ESPN Lakers PodKast (which also includes a nice interview with Shannon Brown- listen and you'll know that if Brown leaves for another city, it's not because Andy and I didn't try to keep him here), I have some concerns about how Artest fits with the Lakers. 

Still, he's an undeniable talent, no question, and in terms of raw ability would add a lot to the squad.  Plus, it's always more fun to rub a star player's head as a teammate rather than foe.    

More on this to come, I'm sure.  


(Photo: Stephen Dunn, Getty Images)