Ron Artest says he still wants to play for the Cheshire Jets
It's only been three weeks since he boasted to The Times, "I'm definitely playing for the Jets." But plenty of cold water has poured on that possibility. Artest postponed his planned trip to the U.K. from Aug. 18-23, his agent David Bauman said, partly because of the team's failure to offer insurance. Bauman has since said Artest won't join the Jets should they refuse insurance. And, oh yeah, it just became official that Artest will be featured on "Dancing with the Stars," beginning Sept. 19.
Artest maintains his plans won't alter.
"I'm going to be with the Jets after Thanksgiving," Artest said in a phone interview. "After Dancing with the Stars, I'm going to go with the Jets."
Those wondering how Artest can fit this in his schedule may have legitimate concerns on how he'll be able to juggle everything. But from a scheduling standpoint, Artest says it's still possible. He's planning to play in three exhibition games Sept. 7 - 11 with the Loimaa Bisons, a professional basketball team in Finland. That gives him eight days to prepare for Dancing with the Stars, which has 19 episodes running through Nov. 21, according to TV.com. Even though the Jets' schedule begins Sept. 30 and runs through April 22, 2012, Artest won't join the team after Thanksgiving on Nov. 24 or whenever he's eliminated from the show.
Of course, Artest's itinerary assumes the NBA won't reach a collective bargaining agreement before that time and the Jets can suddenly offer insurance.
"We're working that out," Artest said regarding the insurance. "That's why we have to wait on it. We're working that out. By Thanksgiving, it will be ready."
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Photo: Lakers forward Ron Artest goes for the steal against Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki in the first half of Game 1 on May 2 at Staples Center. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times