Thursday, July 2, 2009

Abstract Art-est On Display : In-depth Analysis on Ariza and Artest's Game of Musical Chairs

Fresh Out the Fridge (the Laker perspective):

Playing pool at Odom's crib. - Ron Artest's Twitter

Whether or not this was truly an update from the Tru Warier himself is irrelevant now, for right after seeing such a seemingly random tidbit on Artest's Twitter late last night, I instantly became certain that Lamar Odom had this particular 96 ball cornered in just the right pocket. Ok fine, so maybe there isn't any pool ball that's numbered 96, but as of tonight, July 2nd, 2009, there IS a new Laker that's numbered 96 (although knowing Artest, he'll probably choose a new 3.14), and we can all thank Odom, pool, and candy for that! In reality, Buss and Mitch reportedly sat down with Ron Artest for a cup of tea today and prodded him to eventually join the Purple and Gold. The Twitter story just sounded more interesting. Although I'm sure Lamar "The CandyMan" Odom, who Artest played organized ball with in Queens as a kid, played a crucial role in Artest's final decision - his sweet stash and Laker eye candy were probably too much for Artest to say 'No' to. That sounded inappropriate.

In regards to Trevor Ariza, Laker fans can only lament his sad fate and thank him for his hustle, hard work, and overall admirable services in helping the team get its 15th Championship. However, as is so often the case in these sorts of dealings, the business side of things had to come in and ruin all the fun. Enter Agent David Lee, who after hard-balling Buss and Kupchak for the past 24 hours and attempting to squeeze out as much payday from them as he could, now finds himself having to tell his client (who grew up in LA, loves LA, and supposedly "bleeds purple and gold") that he will have to settle for the mid-level offer and continue playing with a Chinese teammate...except this offer was not from the Lakers, and not with the Rising Sun Yue, but from the Houston Rockets, and the Fallen Tower Yao Ming.

(Ron Artest Owning NBA Forward David Lee. On this day, he also owned NBA Agent, David Lee)

Putting it simply, David Lee made a mess out of this entire situation and screwed Ariza over. If there is any similarity between the agent and the Knicks' curly-haired forward (also David Lee), it's that both love to scramble for rebounds. In Agent David Lee's case, the Houston Rockets became his desperate rebound option, and sadly for Trevor, it was his agent, not him, who let the ball slip with the Lakers. David Lee betrayed his client and ironically tried to pull a Trevor Ariza and 'steal' some extra cash from a Laker front office that simply wasn't going to budge. He should have known that the Lakers had an ace in the hole in Ron Artest and that he couldn't win in a bluffing game with Mitch and Jerry, one that he initiated. But who knows, maybe Trevor Ariza will get his chance to shine and see if he can become the cornerstone of a franchise - which is exactly the situation he'll find himself facing on a team with a deteriorating Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady headlining the Rocket Launch (or Failure to Launch, starring Matthew McConaughey).

In the end, I wish him the best and truly hope he can fulfill his utmost potential. Knowing Trevor's focus and strong work ethic, there's no reason to think he won't.

There's also no reason to think that the Lakers won't win their 16th Championship next year either. Provided that the Lakers ink LO7 soon, with the addition of Kobe's new German Shepherd Ron Artest, the Lakers have just gained a little more toughness, offensive power, and...insanity. The wild card. In what was essentially a two-way trade between the Lakers and Rockets for each of their respective forwards, the Lakers came out the glaring victors of this deal for at least the short-term. Artest instantly provides a more polished and reliable three point shot (when he decides to take good shots) and a rough, bull-dog tenacity on defense that will allow Kobe to conserve more energy on the offensive end and prolong his overall productivity for another 3-4 years. He's also just a weird, scary player that others don't really want to rub the wrong way. Translated - the Lakers are now a weird, scary team that hates back rubs (I don't know).

In the end, I'm ecstatic about the trade and ready for another exciting, if not unpredictable, title run in 09-10. For those with doubts about Artest, let's not forget that Phil Jackson was able to reel in a player by the name of Dennis Rodman, who once came to a book signing wearing a wedding dress. Nothing about Dennis Rodman, books, and wedding dresses sound enticing, but he sure did help get Phil some rings. Ron Artest hopes to do the same baby. LAKE TOWN, SHAKE TOWN.

The Fridge Is Closed, The Lights Are Out, The Butter's Getting Hard, and The Jello's Jiggling,
Jonathan Hernandez aka Chick's Fridge

Laying Down The Law (the Clipper perspective):

Imagine playing pick up ball with your buddies. It's point up, win by twos. The game has gone back and forth and the intensity is picking up with each play. Overly zealous players are fighting and shoving for position down on the block, bickering over calls and hard fouls. Finally someone hits the game winner. And just as everyone starts complaining about the shot, you see a friend of yours break off a piece of wood from a bench and shank the guy in the heart.

Such is the background of newest Los Angeles Laker, Ron Artest.

Well known for his hard-nosed play on Defense, Ron's only glaring weakness in recent years is his erroneous assumption that it is to his team's benefit that he should create shots for himself on his own and put up 15-25 FGAs per game. Such assumptions should be put to rest when playing with one who somewhat unerringly feels the same way in Kobe B.

Being on a team where Ron rarely needs to create his own shot, he should benefit greatly on the offensive end over the next few years. It'll be interesting to see how Trevor Ariza does the rest of his career without Kobe creating wide open jumpers for him.

Congrats to the Lakers on not overpaying Ariza, and upgrading to an All Star and former Defensive player of the year in Ron-Ron at the MLE. No doubt about it, they are top dog contenders for the NBA crown over the next 3 years.

This really has no relevance towards the Clippers except that the Lakers have once again stolen the little bit of thunder the Clippers had for a short while just as their fortunes seemed to have turned with Blake Griffin falling into their laps, and desperate enough teams like the Memphis Grizzlies taking on Zach Randolph's $30+ million over the next two years. Just as the Clippers had begun to see glimmers of light at the end of this elongated post-2006 tunnel, the Lakers once again have reminded us all that the Clips are still far off from being an upper-echelon team. But at least the pieces are falling in good places for both teams this offseason.

Lawler's Law Always Prevails,
Mike Whang aka Lawler's Bingo Card

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