New Year’s Greetings from Ron Artest, who describes the nature of independent music distribution as “like trying to find a tic tac in the ocean”.

“I need to get with a major label,” stresses Artest, who could probably use an updated copy of this. From Hip Hop :

I know there™s some trade rumors out there about me. Those are just rumors. That™s not going to happen. We have a loyal organization and if you don™t hear any rumors from them, it™s not going to happen. People know I rep the ghetto, but I™m not a bad person. Inside, I™m really a good person. People leak it out there that Sacramento wants to trade me, but that trade is not going to happen. In order for me to be traded, my team has to want to trade me, and they don™t want to. They want to keep me.

For everybody reading this, I want you to know that I™m a positive person. The only time I can get a little bit unpositive is when the haters out there want Ron Artest to be how they want him to be. That™s never going to happen. I™m going to be how I want to be. To all the people who respect other people™s personalities, one love. To everyone else, I want them to smack the shit out themselves with their own hand.

Artest’s Kings were torched by a 42 point performance by Kobe Bryant in the Lakers’ 132-128 OT win last night. Much as I dislike acknowledging no. 8 no. 24’s dominant status, there’s a bit of a tight-rope walk in his having to carry L.A. in Lamar Odom’s absence, while still keeping his teammates involved in the offense. I think Phil Jackson can live with 20-25 shots a night from Kobe, especially if a) half of ’em go in and b) he goes to the line so damn often.

A few nights after being tossed by Steve Javie (and at least one observer suggesting the ref has a hard-on for the Answer), Allen Iverson showed some political chops in calling Javie “a great referee, and, obviously, he’s one of the top referees because he’s been around for a long time, and he’s earned the respect that he’s gotten over the years.”

The unusually sensitive Peter Vescey of the New York Post takes umbrage at any inference Pat Riley’s hip troubles are a smokescreen for the Heat president/coach bailing on a bad team.

It’s not like it’s a trouble-free proposition. Dick Schaap died from complications. Cal Ramsey almost died from infection and spent months and months in the hospital convalescing. Earl Monroe had both hips replaced and then needed them re-done years later, if I’m not mistaken. Larry Brown had that procedure among others. Phil Jackson’s pre-season surgery went smoothly.

People who believe this is a slick move by the “master manipulator,” and that this is some sort of state-of-the-art motivational tool, have gone from taking swigs of Kool-Aid to chug-a-lugging it.

Not to say Riley’s decision to get sliced up at this time has nothing to do with his architecturally-designed roster . . . as well as his reflexes. Dealing with the pain of both would be enough to make any of us turn over the coaching duties to Retro Ron Rothstein.

By the way, after learning of Rothstein’s ascension, Miami Herald columnist Dan LeBatard declared Bob McAdoo, Keith Askins, and Richard Roundtree were all shafted.