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Artest Joins Lakers

When the Lakers fell to the Boston Celtics in six games in the 2008 Finals, most analysts predicted that they would be the favorites in the Western Conference this past season and they did not disappoint. Now after winning the championship, the Lakers have taken another step toward a possible repeat next season by signing Ron Artest. What this this does for the Lakers is gives the team an added dimension on both ends of the floor. While Artest is mostly known for his very physical style of defensive, he also averages around 18 points and 5 rebounds per contest.

I think the move is a significant one for the Lakers as versatile small forwards gave the Lakers problems throughout the regular season and the playoffs as well (i.e. Carmelo Anthony). This addition will help to address that problem in the upcoming season. What is interesting now is how signing Artest will affect the future of Lamar Odom. While Odom is definitely one of the more versatile players in the league, he has a difficult time bringing his "A" game on a daily basis, a fact that may figure into who the Lakers decide to re-sign in the off-season. In addition to that, the Artest deal is for 3 years worth around $18 million dollars which of course will have an impact on the team's salary cap heading into next year.

I am not a Lakers fan by any stretch of the imagination but I believe they while other teams have been busy in the off-season making key trades and signings, I think the Lakers have answered the bell and have shown they are serious about winning the title next season. If Artest can manage to keep an even temper and his ego in check, the Lakers will more than likely be playing in the finals again next year.

James Tillman

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