Walsh: Pacers Will Pursue Artest Trade

by Conrad Brunner

December 12, 2005

After going public with his desire to be traded during a weekend media tour, Ron Artest made his wishes known to Donnie Walsh. The Pacers CEO and President said Monday he will endeavor to meet Artest's request to relocate.


Walsh

"We will look to see if there are any trades out there and we will pursue them," Walsh said.

Artest will remain on the team's inactive list for the time being and will not attend practice.

"It's time to break apart and see if he can get a new start someplace else," said Walsh. " ... Ronnie made a statement and asked to be traded. Now, we're in charge."

After reports of his unhappiness surfaced on TNT last week, Artest confirmed to the Indianapolis Star in Sunday's editions his desire to play elsewhere. He affirmed his stance on WXIN television Sunday night. Artest told The Star he was unhappy with his role in Coach Rick Carlisle's offensive system, that he feels he's carrying too much baggage because of his troubled history and that he wants to start fresh.

"Here, I think my past haunts me," Artest said. "I think they will be a better team without me."

Artest said he wants to go to a situation where he can play a bigger offensive role.

"I'm so demanding of the ball, it's not my fault," he said. "Every time somebody is on me, it's a mismatch. It messes up the offense. I like Coach (Carlisle) as a person but I don't like playing for Coach. I like my team, though."

Artest named his hometown Knicks as his team of preference, indicating he'd sign with New York when he becomes a free agent. His contract reportedly runs through the 2007-08 season with a player option for 2008-09.

Despite the avalanche of rumors launched by the reports of Artest's unhappiness, Walsh said the Pacers have nothing on the table.

"We haven't got any trades online," he said.

Artest sat out his second consecutive game with lingering pain in his right wrist. He originally was injured when fouled hard by Cleveland's LeBron James on Thanksgiving and sat out the next game. After playing six more, he aggravated the injury earlier this week against Dallas.

History indicates Artest's days with the Pacers are numbered. Walsh has made a habit of granting the wishes of players who have made trade requests, most recently Al Harrington (to Atlanta for Stephen Jackson in 2004), Dale Davis (to Portland for Jermaine O'Neal in 2000) and Antonio Davis (to Toronto for Jonathan Bender in 1999).

Artest told WXIN he already has closed the door on his Pacers career. Asked if the situation could be resolved without a trade, he replied: "No. Not at all."