Okay…seriously…would you want Ron Artest?

When I first wrote about Ron Artest’s desire to be traded and his statement that he’d love to back up LeBron James, I said there was very little chance that Artest would wind up in Cleveland. Not only did I doubt that Indiana would be open to trading the league’s most dominant one-on-one defender within their division, let alone their conference, I didn’t think they’d be open to trading him to anyone.

Now, Pacers CEO Donnie Walsh is trying to accomodate Artest’s trade request:

Walsh said Artest’s desire to move on wasn’t the only factor in the team’s decision.

“This is kind of the last straw of a lot of issues, and it’s at the point where we should look for a trade,” Walsh said.

So now that he’s available, do you want him? Do you think the Cavaliers even have a shot at landing him? I still say there’s no way the Pacers will shoot themselves in the foot by dealing Artest to a Central Division rival. The talk right now is coming out of Sacramento, with a Peja Stojakovic/Artest rumor floating around. That makes much more sense. I’d be shocked if Indiana didn’t deal him to a Western Conference team.

But for argument’s sake, let’s say the Pacers would be willing to talk to the Cavaliers. I love the idea of having a player with Artest’s skill set, but I don’t think I’d want the headache. You also have to wonder what Mike Brown’s opinion of Artest is, after spending the last two years as Indiana’s associate head coach and witnessing The Riot first hand.

Of course, beyond all of that, the most significant question is, what would Indiana want in return for Artest. He doesn’t make much money, so the Cavs would have to eat some salary in the deal, and who would they have to give up? Certainly, Luke Jackson would probably catch Walsh’s eye, but they’d need some immediate help too, perhaps in the form of Donyell Marshall or Drew Gooden. Larry Hughes, on the other hand, most likely makes too much money.

Still, it’s an extreme longshot but, if given the opportunity, I’d say the Cavs would be forced to pass on Artest.

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