Cheshire Jets official: Team has offered Ron Artest a stake
Amid all the tweets from Ron Artest suggesting he may play with the British Basketball League's Cheshire Jets during the NBA lockout, an official told the team website that the organization has offered him a "stake" in the team.
"We are honored that Ron has even mentioned the prospect of joining the Jets," said Peter Hawkins, the director of the team. "Financially we have nothing to offer him, but it would be so significant for U.K. basketball. We have offered him a stake in the club and all the love in the world! To have a genuine NBA superstar even considering coming to the BBL is massive news for our sport and could be the launch pad we need in this country to give the sport the profile it deserves; it might even get the BBC interested in showing the sport!"
Artest's publicist, Courtney Barnes, told The Times on Tuesday that Artest plans to be in Britain from Aug. 18 to Aug. 23 to talk with team officials about possibly playing overseas. However, Barnes added that he hasn't made a concrete decision on the matter. The Jets' website indicates that their season begins on Sept. 30 and runs through April 22. Should Artest join the team, FIBA rules would require him to rejoin the Lakers as soon as the NBA lockout ends.
The Times previously reported that Artest would play with the Jets, although it wasn't clear when he would first put on the uniform, according to a person who was familiar with the negotiations but wasn't authorized to speak about the matter publicly. That person has since said they misunderstood the question and that the deal has not been finalized.
On Tuesday afternoon, Artest noted the possibility of playing with the Jets on Twitter. He posted a picture of Jets center Matt Schneck holding a jersey that referenced the Lakers star's proposed name change to Metta World Peace. He also tweeted the following message: "Go Jets!!!!! Uk , here we come!!! Jets are the best!!! Jets are the best!!! New chant!!!!!!!!!"
Below the jump are more Lakers-related links
--The Times' Victoria Kim reports that a judge has dismissed charges against gang members accused of kidnapping a music producer who claimed to have a sex tape of Shaquille O’Neal.
--The Times' Steve Lopez argues that the case against Shaq appeared flimsy right away.
--The Orange County Register's Janis Carr highlights the possibility that Devin Ebanks might get a tattoo.
--Ball Don't Lie's Eric Freeman wonders if it really matters that Matt Barnes served a one-game suspension in the San Francisco Pro-Am summer league.
--Pro Basketball Talk's Kurt Helin says he believes that Artest would have fun playing basketball in Britain.
--ESPN Los Angeles' Brian Kamenetzky shares his Lakers-dominated L.A. Hall of Fame nominees.
--Sports Illustrated's Zach Lowe ranks Lakers center Andrew Bynum and forward Lamar Odom as the 38th and 33rd best players in the NBA, respectively.
--Bulls.com's Sam Smith profiles Tex Winter and what he brought with the triangle offense.
--Lakers.com's Mike Trudell looks at Chuck Person's ratings in NBA Jam.
--Forum Blue and Gold's Darius Soriano says he believes that the Lakers need better production from their point guard spot. But that doesn't mean, he argues, that the Lakers need new players.
--Silver Screen and Roll's DexterFishmore ranks the greatest Lakers of all time by jersey numbers 40 to 49.
--Lakers Nation's Tim Harvey argues that Odom can become an all-star.
Tweet of the Day: "Thinking about gettin tatted today after workouts what u think" -- devinebanks3 (Lakers forward Devin Ebanks)
Rick Friedman Reader Comment of the Day: "it will only be a "confidence booster" to pau.......if he plays well. hopefully last years "meltdown" was an ABERRATION! we need him to be the PAU of 2009, 2010!" -- Steven Paul Martinez
-- Mark Medina
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Upper photo: Ron Artest in action. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times
Photo: Artest disagrees with a referee's call during a playoff game against the New Orleans Hornets in April. Credit: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times