Pacers send Artest to Kings

Published: Thursday, January 26, 2006 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 26, 2006 at 12:00 a.m.
Ron Artest needed a place to play. The Indiana Pacers needed to unload their biggest problem.
And the rebuilding Sacramento Kings were willing to gamble on the league's most unpredictable All-Star.
The elements came together Wednesday, and this time they stuck: The Kings sent sharpshooter Peja Stojakovic to the Pacers for Artest in an on-again, off-again deal that's been talked about for months.
"We're glad this is over with," Pacers president Larry Bird said. "We wanted to be patient with this one because Ronnie is a heck of a player and someone's always going to take a chance on someone like that."
The deal ends a turmoil-filled career in Indiana for Artest, best known as the man who set off one of the nastiest brawls in U.S. sports history last November. The fight with Detroit Pistons fans earned Artest a 73-game suspension - the longest in NBA history.
The latest mess with Artest began with a trade rumor in December that wound up coming true: Artest for Stojakovic. Upset at the perceived slight, Artest demanded a trade. The Pacers responded to the tantrum by deactivating the former NBA defensive player of the year.
Trouble follows Artest. He had kicked a ball into the stands, broke a television camera when he threw it down and verbally sparred with Miami Heat coach Pat Riley during games.
On Tuesday, it appeared Artest would no longer be Indiana's problem. Not so fast. Artest reportedly balked at playing in Sacramento, temporarily scuttling the deal.
But the Kings owners were more interested in Artest's skills than his sideshows, which will return to Indy when the Kings visit March 17.
"We're gamblers. So we're going to take a chance on him," said Kings co-owner Gavin Maloof, who also owns a casino with his brother, Joe. "We want to look forward, otherwise we wouldn't have made this happen."
KINGS 106, KNICKS 102, OT: Mike Bibby scored eight of his 35 points in overtime and added 10 assists, and Brad Miller had 25 points and 15 rebounds to lead the short-handed Kings over New York.
WIZARDS 89, CELTICS 87: Gilbert Arenas hit two free throws with 1.7 seconds remaining to lift Washington to a win over Boston.
PISTONS 106, BUCKS 102, OT: Chauncey Billups scored 11 points in overtime to help Detroit win its ninth straight game.
CAVALIERS 106, HAWKS 97: LeBron James had 38 points, nine rebounds and six assists as Cleveland won its third straight game.
BULLS 104, RAPTORS 88: Chris Duhon scored 26 points and Chicago beat Toronto for the 12th straight game.

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