After the strangling of PJ Carlesimo, who would’ve bet on Latrell Sprewell becoming a fan favorite in NYC? The NY Daily News’ Frank Isola fantasizes about current Public Enemy No. 1, suspended Pacers F Ron Artest, ending up in a Knicks uniform.

Latrell Sprewell was rescued from NBA purgatory five years ago by the Knicks, who were willing to take a chance on a talented player with a troubled past. The risk was well worth the reward as Sprewell helped the Knicks reach one NBA Finals and two conference finals.

Next summer, the Knicks may try to take the same gamble on Ron Artest, who currently is serving a season-long suspension for his part in a brawl last month in Detroit. Sprewell sees plenty of similarities between himself and Artest and feels that New York would be an ideal place for Artest to get a second chance.

“With Ron, he would probably do well wherever he goes,” Sprewell said. “But he’d definitely fit in well here. He played here, he’s from this area and I’m sure New Yorkers would love him.

“Feeling wanted helped me. It gives you a sense that you’re welcomed. You don’t feel like everyone is against you. That was important.”

The Knicks essentially stole Sprewell from Golden State, acquiring him for John Starks, Chris Mills and Terry Cummings. Prying Artest from the Pacers will not be easy if for no other reason than president Larry Bird would probably be reluctant to trade Artest to a conference rival whose boss, Isiah Thomas, is Bird’s longtime bitter enemy.

Thomas and assistant coaches Mark Aguirre and George Glymph coached Artest in Indiana and the consensus among league officials is that Thomas will make a play for Artest.

“I don’t know why you’d get rid of him,” Sprewell said. “I don’t see Indiana trading him. I wouldn’t be looking to move him because of that incident.”