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Ron Artest's agent shoots down reports that he will play in Finland

June 28, 2011 |  2:01 pm


Amid various Internet reports indicting Lakers forward Ron Artest plans to play for a Finland professional basketball team, agent David Bauman said they aren't true and are nothing more than a "publicity stunt."

"I'm his agent and nothing has come across my desk," Bauman said. "Although Ron has asked me to explore all options over in Europe in the event of a prolonged lockout, there are several legal and business considerations that have to be addressed. The biggest one involves insurance. None of those have been addressed and I don't even know who this guy claiming to have an agreement is. Final thing is what if the league has a lockout for say two weeks and then end up getting a deal. It becomes a moot point."

Artest currently has a three-year, $21-million contract remaining with the Lakers, making the possibility to play overseas during a possible lockout even more difficult. NBA Commissioner David Stern has publicly maintained players are free to play overseas during a possible lockout, but International Basketball Federation rules require teams to honor contracts signed in other leagues.

"The whole notion strikes me as a publicity stunt," Bauman said. "Nothing has come across my desk. Ron has asked me to look into options in Europe, but certainly not with a small team in Finland."

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Photo: Lakers forward Ron Artest disagrees with a referee's call during a playoff game against the New Orleans Hornets. Credit: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times / April 26, 2011.