In what comes off like one of the more measured trade demands in recent memory (except for the fact he went to the media before talking to his coach or GM), Pacers F Ron Artest tells the Indianapolis Star’s Mike Wells that he’d like to leave.
“I still think my past haunts me here,” Artest said. “I think somewhere else I’m starting fresh. I’m coming in with baggage but people already know about it and how I’m going to be. Either they’re going to be for me or they’re not going to trade for me. Here I think my past haunts me.
“I think they will be a better team without me.”
Artest is second on the team in shot attempts and scoring at 19.4 points, but he thinks his style disrupts the offense.
“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.”
The Pacers run a structured offense in which Carlisle calls out most plays. That frustrates Artest, who has complained about the system in the past. Artest also took issue with practices. He thinks they’re too soft.
“Don’t get it twisted. He’s a very good coach,” Artest said. “He knows what he’s doing. I personally don’t like playing for him. I would not want to see him get fired for me after all the immaturity I’ve been through with this organization.”
“If I go to the West Coast, I would come back to New York after my contract is up,” Artest said. “I would go to Cleveland. I wouldn’t mind coming off the bench behind LeBron James. There’s a lot of players I wouldn’t mind coming off the bench behind. If it was a perfect world, I would be going to New York.”
“Here I don’t think I’m going to have a chance to maximize my opportunity for my potential,” he said. “When I first got here, all I wanted to do was play defense. I never really cared about offense, but what I see is players like Kobe (Bryant), Tracy (McGrady), (Gilbert) Arenas and Jermaine (O’Neal) getting the opportunity to maximize their potential on the court and to get paid. I’m out of my character a little bit here.”