Artest Won’t Take Paycut For Chance at NBA Title

When it comes to getting a shot at an NBA championship, Ron Artest is willing to wait if the money ain’t right.

Ron Artest Kings

The current Sacramento Kings guard made an appearance on ESPN 710’s Steve Mason & John Ireland show on Tuesday to discuss his plans for the offseason.

And it turns out that teams hoping to lure Artest away from Arco will be a bit disappointed, and owners thinking that they can bring Ron in at a discount better think again.

After Steve & John’s initial concerns that their guest would even show up, Artest finally phoned in, saying he was taking a break from the gym. As he gave his pectorals a rest, Ron pontificated that his status would seem to stay the same:

“It looks like I’m gonna be a King next year. I haven’t seen anything change as of yet. Looks like I’m gonna be a Sacramento King. The Sacramento Kings are a good organization.”

But they weren’t so good last year, finishing below .500 and missing the playoffs.

So, Ireland mentions to Artest that they’d like to see him in the Lakers line-up with Kobe Bryant & Lamar Odom. As such, John asks Ron if he would give up a chunk of his paycheck to be on a championship-caliber team - and gets a frugal response:

Ireland: “Would you be willing to take less money to go to a contender?”

Artest: “Oh, never. Not in a million years. Actually, not in 10 million years.”

Ireland: “Really?”

Artest: “Make that more like 3 million years.”

Is Artest really that idiotically greedy? Or is he a smart businessman?

Ron explains that he’ll be “free” (i.e. his contract is up) after next year, and opting out wouldn’t make much financial sense, even if it means spending another season in Sac-town (which he doesn’t seem to mind):

“We’re not gonna opt out the contract right now, ’cause it just doesn’t make much sense. The whole market’s kind of messed up right now. You know, it’s not bad, the Kings still treat me good … i’m not gonna complain too much, things are going pretty good.”

So he’s staying put - and staying in his same tax bracket.

But it wasn’t all business talk between Artest and Mason & Ireland - the guys also sought Ron’s opinion on Shaq’s recent anti-Kobe rap.

Kobe Lakers Shaq Suns

Artest preferenced that he’s good friends with both O’Neal and Bryant, so he wasn’t saying much in support for either side.

But Ron did give props to Shaq’s performance, saying he “actually had good delivery.” And when it comes to athletes who rap, Ron proudly declares Shaq the best: “He’s the only one that ever selled a million records … he’s funny, people still love him.”

Then Ron ended his glowing review with this cryptic quote:

I’m kind of surprised he’s not in L.A.

You’ll have to talk to Kobe & Dr. Jerry Buss about that.

Full audio of the interview can be heard here (although Artest doesn’t appear until a few minutes into the clip).