Pippen
NBA Legend, six-time World Champion and eight-time All-NBA Defensive First Team member, Scottie Pippen gave us his analysis of the Ron Artest-Peja Stojakovic trade.

This might have to be a wait and see deal because you don't know what Peja Stojakovic is going to do from a free agent standpoint after this season and Ron Artest is so unpredictable. But if you have to make a judgment on what's going on with just the trade as of today, Artest is probably a better player than Peja and Sacramento got the best of the deal. From a basketball standpoint, Artest brings more to the game than Peja.


Peja could flourish in Indiana.
Noah Graham/NBAE/Getty Images
When you look at a team like Indiana, they need a guy like Peja. He is a guy that they can continue to run a similar system but get the Reggie Miller sort of production – setting picks, coming off, giving them a little more action on the offensive end. Right now they are stagnant with Jermaine O'Neal being their only real offensive force. He is probably the one guy on the team that demands a double team. Some people might look at Peja and say that he is on the downswing of his career, as he has battled injuries and is currently posting his lowest scoring average, 16.5 ppg, since his second year in the league when he averaged 11.9 ppg. But you have to look at his numbers and realize that he isn't surrounded anymore by two of the best passing big men, Chris Webber and Vlade Divac, that have ever played the game. He was getting anywhere from five to six lay-ups a game just because of those guys and their ability to find him cutting in the Princeton offense. You just can't stick a body out there and get the same results. Webber is a great passer. Divac was a great passer. He doesn't have those guys out there. I like Brad Miller a lot, but he isn't the passer that the other guys are.

Peja should also have a bit of a comfort level being able to play with Sarunas Jasikevicius, a former European League player himself. A lot of Euro players tend to play better together. They have a very good understanding of basketball from a standpoint of playing in a zone offense and they're already familiar playing against that type of atmosphere, a lot more than NBA players.

This is a low risk move from Indy's perspective. They're trying to make something out of this season. They're sitting at 21-19 and don't want to give up on this season. They tried to sit Ron Artest, play hardball and hopefully get another team to come and do something foolish in terms of a trade. No one really wants to gamble on Artest. You don't know what you're getting and you definitely were going to have to give up quality for him.


Artest will bring toughness to Sacramento.
Jeff Reinking/NBAE/Getty Images
From the Kings perspective, Ron Artest can be a vital part of the present and the future. No matter what the situation or what his past has shown, this is definitely a franchise player. Artest isn't an average player. You're talking about a guy who can go out and defend probably four positions and can play offensively in four different positions. He is very strong in a lot of areas of the game, ultimately making any team better. If you're Sacramento and you've lost what they've lost and haven't quite gotten back to that contending level that you enjoyed when you were battling the Lakers perennially in the playoffs, Ron Artest can be the kind of boost that you are looking for. They still have lot of good pieces there in Mike Bibby, Bonzi Wells, Shareef Abdur-Rahim. They have some guys that can put the ball in the hole and I think Artest is going to bring something to them that we haven't seen – more toughness and a bad boy type of mentality.

The change of scenery from Indiana to Sacramento could be great for Artest. Maybe he can settle down a little bit. From a team standpoint he should be very familiar with playing with Brad Miller, who was his teammate with the Pacers from 2001-2003. That should definitely be an easy fit for him. From a basketball standpoint, Artest can really play with anybody. He's a big-time player, but is he going to be that with the Kings? That is the big question mark that hangs over him, but I think that both teams are getting what they want

At the end of the day, this deal works well for Sacramento because even if Artest decides he doesn't want to be a part of what they're doing, there are some teams that will be interested in taking him for one year and getting his salary off their cap if the Kings decide to turn around and deal him.

This was a great trade for both teams. I think Peja is happier than Artest because he can go play for a contender. Look for both players to come out and play well for their new teams. There always seems to be a honeymoon effect after a trade Peja is probably going to come out and play some great games. He will settle in and see what they're running for him and how they're going to stop him. At the end of the day, it will all balance out for them when it comes down to the playoffs and what type of production the Kings are getting from Artest and what type of production Indy will get from Peja. Sacramento is currently not one of the top eight teams in the Western Conference. Artest can change that --- if he wants to.