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Posted by Jeff Dengate on January 27, 2006 8:30 a.m. ET


There's almost one full month before the trading deadline, but why wait? We're already witnessing player movement normally reserved for that late February day -- it falls on the 23rd this year, in case you're wondering.

Maybe it's the Ron Artest-for-Peja Stojakovic swap that has others thinking now's the time to shuffle their rosters. Or maybe it's the teams that lost out in the Artest-on-the-cheap bidding war thinking, now what?

Boston and Minnesota answered the latter on Thursday, sending seven players to new homes. The names involved in the trade, however, might not have been those you would have thought, but don't necessarily come as a surprise, either.
-- []

Wally's been mentioned in trade scenarios in recent months and Mark Blount's been mentioned in recent weeks.
-- [Boston Globe, Reg. req'd]

Ricky Davis? Well, he's just moved around an awful lot for such a talented player who entered the league in 1998.
-- [Boston Herald]

Now, fellas, just make sure you're passing to the right combination of colors, which might not prove an easy task considering both teams sport a variation of green, white and black. The matter could be further compounded when the squads face each other Monday night.

But before the players get on the court, we have to wonder, does this move help either of them there? (There are a few questions others want answered before that, but we'll let them ask.)
-- [Boston Globe and Minneapolis Star Tribune, Reg. req'd]

While the offensive and defensive production of those involved in the trade seems, at first glance, to be a wash, this trade may have had more to do with re-gaining some chemistry on a floundering Wolves team.
-- [St. Paul Pioneer Press and Minneapolis Star Tribune, Reg. req'd]

Something that was desperately needed after Sunday's fracas.
-- [New York Post, Reg. req'd]

But will Davis' ability to create his own shot help take some of the burden off K.G. in Minny? Or was the move one just to pacify K.G. and head off any trade demands he may make.
-- []

As for the C's, they get a shooter to pair along with Pierce. That is, if Pierce remains in Boston a month from now; Pierce's name has come up in trade rumors the past year nearly as often as any other player in the game, including speculation that he could have been the Garnett's sidekick when a deal between the teams went down.
-- [Boston Globe and, Reg. req'd]

Another new face will make a debut in Boston, but on the other side of the ball. The often-troubled Ron Artest gets to write, "Played first game for Sacramento," to his chronology of events tonight, a list we're sure will have a few more -- hopefully all positive -- entries added to it.
-- [Indianapolis Star]

The Pacers, meanwhile, play tonight against the Cavaliers, and while Stojakovic is set to become a Pacer, he'll probably make his debut when the team visits Washington on Tuesday.
-- [Indianapolis Star]

While Peja won't give you much, if any, real defense to speak of, he does provide the Pacers with a credible shooting threat, something missing since Reggie Miller hung up his sneakers.
-- [Indianapolis Star]

The Pacers are certain to need an extra gunner now that Jermaine O'Neal has taken a seat again. O'Neal, beleaguered by injuries the last couple years will need up to eight weeks of bench time to heal what's being termed as a "significant tear in his left groin."
-- []

The injury could have O'Neal sidelined until the playoffs, that is if the Pacers make the playoffs.
-- [Indianapolis Star]


Got plans for tonight?
-- []

I'll admit, I don't. And I couldn't be more excited. The League Pass subscription will be tested tonight as I flip through a full complement of games, but the nightcap is what I'm looking foward to most. Why? Kobe's back in action, of course, playing at the Staples Center against the Warriors.

Now, I'm no Kobe fan. In fact, some of the reasons I never liked the Bulls and Scottie Pippen are the same reasons why I was never a fan of anybody wearing purple and gold. Those feelings linger today. But I can't help myself from watching to see just what Kobe might do tonight. Or Sunday. Or Tuesday. You get my drift.
-- []

Maybe Kobe only goes out and drops 40 tonight? Just more of the usual for the man leading all scorers this season -- one that features three players averaging more than 30 a night.
-- [Los Angeles Times and, Reg. req'd]

And while many may criticize Bryant for his scoring explosion, they'll all be just like me: checking to see what Kobe's up to tonight.
-- [Los Angeles Times, Reg. req'd]

If not tonight, then Sunday when the Lakers travel to Detroit for a 6:30 p.m. ET matchup with the Pistons on ESPN.

Looks like I'll have to clear the schedule for Sunday evening, too.

Posted by John Schuhmann on January 26, 2006 10:45 a.m. ET


The trade that has been rumored for a long, long time has finally gone down. It's funny, as much as we have heard about this potential deal, it's still weird to imagine Artest in purple or Peja in blue and yellow. Thanks to this week's free League Pass preview, most of us will get to see the former when the Kings play in Boston at 7:30 ET Friday. Stojakovic will likely miss Friday's Pacer game against Cleveland (7 p.m. ET, ESPN), instead making his debut on Tuesday in Washington.
-- [Boston Herald]

So how did it finally go down? After Tuesday's hang-up of the deal, Artest met with Donnie Walsh and Larry Bird on Wednesday. Perhaps threatened with the potential of being suspended without pay, Artest let go of his "I don't want to go to Sacramento" sentiments. After that, the deal went through. Ironically, Artest says that his original trade request stemmed from an rumor that his team wanted to deal him to the Kings back in December.
-- [Indianapolis Star]

Not surprisingly, there has been plenty of reaction already.

The popular opinion seems to be that Stojakovic is not the player that Artest is, but the Pacers are better off with Peja. Both Donnie Walsh and Larry Bird say that they probably put up with Artest too long because of what he brought the Pacers on the floor.
-- [Indianapolis Star]

However, there are those that believe that Indiana hurt themselves by refusing to put up with Artest's behavior any longer, quite frankly.
-- [Philadelphia Inquirer]

Either way, the Pacers are happy to be getting a player who can open up their offense a bit, while the Kings believe that a change was needed.
-- [Indianapolis Star]

Some believe that trouble is heading to Sacramento. The Kings, obviously, are taking a big risk. Is it a move of a desperate team?
-- [Washington Post,, San Francisco Chronicle]

One former player believes that the fact that the Kings don't have to worry about a contract extension for Peja is a plus. Another believes it is potentially a great trade for both teams.
-- [Yahoo! Sports,]

One insider says that the trade was his idea all along.
-- [ESPN Insider (sub. req'd.)]

After stating earlier in the week that he wanted to stay in Sacramento, Peja now says that he is ready to make a fresh start in Indiana.
-- [Sacramento Bee]

One setback for the Pacers is Jermaine O'Neal's groin injury, which could have him out for a week or two.
-- [Indianapolis Star]

Posted by John Schuhmann on January 25, 2006 10:45 a.m. ET


Tuesday was certainly an interesting day here at headquarters: the trade is going down, pending league approval... then it's not. We prepared for a deal, analyzed it from every angle, and then the deal hit a snag. So is it completely dead? Not really. Let's go through what happened...

The Kings and Pacers agreed on a swap of Ron Artest and Peja Stojakovic in the morning. While the trade was pending league approval, Artest's agent, Mark Stevens contacted the Kings to tell them that Artest did not want to go to Sacramento.
-- [Sacramento Bee]

Meanwhile, Stojakovic stayed at the team hotel in Philadelphia as the Kings went to the Wachovia Center for their game against the Sixers.
-- [Sacramento Bee]

Reports came out that the Kings had backed out of the deal. However, Artest seemed to contradict his agent when he said that he didn't necessarily not want to go to Sacramento, he just wanted to meet with them first. Artest also denied a report that he was to meet with the Pacers today.
-- [Indianapolis Star]

So, at this point, the deal has not been completed, but it's not dead either. Kings owner, Joe Maloof says that they will sleep on it. So stay tuned...

Either way, you had to know this wasn't going to be easy.
-- [Indianapolis Star]

Stojakovic feels disrespected. He had said on Monday that he wants to stay in Sacramento, but he is not expected to exercise his player option for next season.
-- [, Sacramento Bee]

Tonight Bryant will hoist his first shot since connecting on No. 81.
(Noah Graham/NBAE/Getty Images)
Ron Artest, when asked if he had given thought to where he might end up:

"Right now I'm a Pacer. I've only been watching the Pacers and Kobe Bryant."
-- [Indianapolis Star]

2005-06 ARCHIVE
Jan. 23 -- Points a Plenty
Jan. 20 -- Give the King a Break
Jan. 13 -- Who's the Man?
Dec. 1 -- Welcome Back, Larry
Nov. 17 -- League Pass Surfing
Nov. 10 -- Setting OWGs Straight
Nov. 4 -- Season Underway
Oct. 27 -- The Central Is Stacked
Oct. 19 -- All Dressed Up
Oct. 14 -- LeBron Out Of Hospital
2004-05 -- Archive
2003-04 -- Archive