Does Lakers forward Ron Artest want to be traded? "No. definitely not."
Artest said he was happy with the Lakers despite their recent funk and refuted that he wanted to be dealt before the Feb. 24 deadline.
"No. Definitely not," he said after the Lakers practice. "I feel good every day. We've got a chance to win multiple championships here...trying to work towards another banner."
Artest hasn't had an entirely seamless season. He and Phil Jackson had a well-publicized disagreement at practice late last year in which Artest told the Lakers coach to stop criticizing him publicly to reporters and also privately in front of teammates.
Artest was the last Lakers player to leave the training facility Wednesday, hanging around after practice for extra shooting.
"We're sticking together," he said. "We're moving forward. That's all that matters.
"I'm never frustrated no matter what happens out there. Same thing in the playoffs, we were losing, down, and we stay confident. People thought we were going to lose last year against Boston in the championship. Lost a couple games, things went wrong, the media started trying to pinpoint certain things. What did we do? We come out victorious."
Even if Artest wanted to be traded, it would be difficult to move the 31-year-old. He has three years and $21.8 million remaining on his contract after this season.
Jackson said he would be surprised if Artest wanted to be dealt.
"You guys know that's something we don't put credence in, those [media] reports that have very little to do with what's really going on," Jackson said. "I think Ron really cares about the team and his performance....I think that Ron enjoys being in L.A. I think he likes the Lakers and I think he likes the action. I think he likes the attention that we get as a basketball club. I think that feeds into who he is as a person."
Kobe Bryant didn't want to comment on the trade story but seemed agitated by it.
"I keep the train moving," Bryant said, before taking aim at critical media reports in general. "We're going to keep moving and in June, they'll say nothing."
Photo: Lakers forward Ron Artest battles the Celtics Paul Pierce for position in Sunday's game at Staples Center. Credit: Jeff Gross / Getty Images.