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Thursday August 21, 2008 4:55 PM

Welcome to Houston


It's official: Rockets acquire Ron Artest in blockbuster trade

Jason Friedman
Rockets.com Staff Writer

HOUSTON - The latest trend in the NBA is to assemble a talented trio of players skilled enough to bring home a title. It’s a blueprint which has raised banners in both Boston and San Antonio in recent years. And maybe, just maybe, Houston might be next.

Say hello to the NBA’s newest Big Three: Yao Ming, Tracy McGrady… and Ron Artest.

The Rockets officially acquired the mercurial forward Thursday in a blockbuster deal with Sacramento, sending rookie Donté Greene, Bobby Jackson, a 2009 first round pick and cash considerations to the Kings in exchange for the 6-7, 248 pound Artest, along with 2008 draftees Patrick Ewing Jr. and Sean Singletary.

"From hearing Ron's recent statements, it's obvious that he has an immense desire to win," said Rockets Owner Leslie Alexander. "We have a team of players who have that same immense desire and Ron will fit right in."

"He plays both ends of the floor at a significant level," says general manager Daryl Morey. "He's somebody who plays muliple positions to give coach Adelman the options and the players he needs to lead us to the championship."

Through nine years in the NBA, the 28-year old Artest has averaged 16 points, 5.1 rebounds and 2.1 steals per game. Known for his fercious, physical defense, the forward from Queensbridge, New York was named the NBA's defensive player of the year for 2003-2004, and has twice been an All-Defensive First Team selection.

"When you get a chance to play for same organization that had Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde [Drexler], you've got to appreciate that," says Artest. "This is definitely the high point of my career. It's the biggest opportunity I've ever had playing basketball.

"I should definitely make the team better. There's no ifs, ands or buts about it. I already know what kind of coach [Rick] Adelman is, and I definitely should be able to help out."

Have a comment, critique or suggestion for Rockets.com? Contact Jason Friedman via email at: jasonf@rocketball.com