Artest’s Comments Don’t Sway Walsh

by Conrad Brunner

December 19, 2005

Ron Artest may have changed his mind. Donnie Walsh has not.


Walsh

The Pacers CEO and President said Monday Artest's recent statements of regret about his public trade request last week have not altered his stance.

Artest has been on the inactive list the past five games and the Pacers have gone 4-1 in that span. After going public with his trade request, Artest has since backpedaled. He told The Indianapolis Star he "made a big mistake" and said he would "love to play for the Pacers organization right now."

Asked if he was still actively pursuing a trade, Walsh said, "That’s correct."

Just exactly what kind of a deal can be constructed and when remains to be seen. The initial flurry of activity brought phone calls from more than half of the NBA's 30 teams and Walsh is in the process of prioritizing the potential deals.

"There's been a lot of activity in the last week in terms of interest," Walsh said. "This week I'm just trying to narrow it down to see what's do-able. I don't think there's a time pressure on this. … He could remain on the inactive list until we find a trade."

Walsh's preference is to evaluate the offers more on their future impact on the franchise than whether the talent balances out now.

"I'm going to assume I'm not going to get a player as good as Ronnie," Walsh said. "But I can't put the team in position where it eats up the cap for future years. … If we trade Ronnie, whatever we do for this year cannot hurt the future."

NOTES: Stephen Jackson and Fred Jones both should be able to play Wednesday night when the Pacers face the Los Angeles Clippers in Conseco Fieldhouse (7:00). Jackson sat out the second half of Saturday's 102-96 victory in New York after tweaking his sprained right thumb but will play with his hand taped. Jones sprained his right ankle Friday night against Utah and sat out Saturday night. Both players were at practice Monday and said they expected to play.