While some will doubtlessly maintain the Tru Warier was a ticking time bomb, such as Fox Sports Radio’s own judge-jury-and-executioner, J.T. Brick, who strongly repeated his “zero tolerance” policy for spousal abusers (because we were all dying to know), the Sacramento Bee’s Ailene Voisin stresses that aside from that unpleasantness with a dog named Socks, Ron Artest hasn’t been so hard to handle for the Kings. Until now, anyway.

While Kings officials often referred to Artest as “high maintenance” in the 14 months since he was obtained from the Indiana Pacers, until the past several weeks, there were none of his previous on-court issues to report. The eighth-year veteran had even seemingly morphed into the average pampered NBA player — inclined to complain about his coach, his touches and his teammates, along with the usual assortment of injuries and ailments.

If anything, Artest, whose NBA rap sheet includes a 73-game suspension that helped precipitate his trade for Peja Stojakovic, exceeded virtually everyone’s expectations. For the most part, he not only comported himself like a professional, resisting opponents’ nightly efforts to incite one of those familiar outbursts, he introduced Sacramento fans to defensive intensity, propelled the once-slumping 2005-06 Kings into the playoffs, and the past several weeks was healthy again and playing his best basketball of the season.

“I’ve said this to a lot of people,” Geoff Petrie noted. “There have been no physical confrontations in practice. He has not been destructive. He has not destroyed anything in here, like thrown a TV, or anything that might indicate he was on the verge of going off.”

Rebuilding Year shows typical sensitivity towards this crisis, musing “the incident got us thinking how hard it must be for a woman to break up with an athlete like Artest and not fear for your life. What exactly are the right words?”

œRon-Ron, we should see other people.

œS-Jax, I still want to have sex but I also want to be with other Golden State Warriors.

Or œPac-Man, I like you a lot (and think it™s really cool how you make it rain and then sweep up the rain really fast) but I™m just not attracted to you.