As of July 8th, Ron Artest will be a Laker. He will sign for 3 years of the full mid level exception – approximately $18 million. But what will this mean for the Lakers and where will Ron Artest fit?
It’s a potential high risk/high reward situation…or it could just be all risk. My gut reaction is that it will take a while to work the kinks out. Ron Artest doesn’t strike me as a perfect fit for the Lakers. He is a lock down defender, but offensively, he needs to have his hands on the ball quite a bit. The Lakers already have someone who needs his hands on the ball – his name is Kobe Bryant, maybe you’re familiar with him. The Lakers famous triangle offense is not a good fit for someone like Artest who needs a lot of touches in order to be effective offensively.
Still, Ron Artest is invaluable on defense. He will be able to match up and defend dominant small forwards like Lebron James and Paul Pierce, which is likely a large part of the reason the Lakers decided to sign him.
Still, Artest is quite a controversial figure. He was suspended for almost an entire season for his starring role in the famous Detroit vs. Indiana brawl in November of 2004. He’s known for his crazy antics on and off the court. If Phil Jackson and Kobe Bryant can keep him in line, he could potentially wind up being a very valuable piece for the Lakers.