LOS ANGELES – First, he was playing in Finland. Then he wasn’t. Then he was playing in England. Then he wasn’t.
Now, he’s playing in England again. The Metta World Peace international basketball watch drags on. Via the Chester Chronicle, Cheshire director Pete Hawkins said a deal is in place for Artest to play for his team.
“I spoke to Ron’s representatives on Tuesday night. We have agreed the fundamentals of the deal and Ron is coming over (to England) in a few weeks,” he’s quoted as saying. “What we need to do is match up our timetables because we need him here for the start of the season, but there is a bit of a clash of timetables. If we can sort that out then the deal will be done, but talks are ongoing so hopefully we can get everything straightened out in time.”
All we need now to make the circle complete again is for Artest agent to come out and emphatically deny this. Because after the first Britain rumor, here’s what hs agent, Daniel Bauman, said:
“I told him, ‘Ron, the league over there is not strong enough to really give you the competition that you want,'” Bauman said. “Even though that makes sense from a (convenience standpoint), it doesn’t make sense from a basketball perspective.”
“God forbid any of these guys get hurt,” Bauman said. “Can I get $22 million insurance for Ron? I don’t think so.”
So something would’ve had to change in his mind to really start working a deal for Artest to play there. Maybe it was dollar signs. Those can change people’s minds pretty quickly.
Artest clearly has his eyes on playing overseas. He recently told SLAM, “Europe is definitely a real option, and it seems more likely every day. As far as where I’m gonna play, that’s still open but I have an idea. I’d play anywhere with the best offer so I gotta look at all my options. So far I’m looking at France, Spain, Finland, Greece, and the UK. But it has to match up. If the offer matches up, I’m there. ‘Cause like, you know, the movies and all that stuff. So if it doesn’t match up, I’m not going, but if it does, I’m out.”
And now FIBA has now officially cleared the path for players to head overseas that are still under NBA contracts, so it’s possible if Artest is serious. Then again, it’s kind of hard to know when Metta WorldPeace is serious.