Ron Artest prepares to play against LeBron James, Paul Pierce
Either way, when Lakers forward Ron Artest talks, it's always interesting.
When the Lakers signed Artest to a five-year, $33.3-million deal last summer, it was so he could use his size and strength against the more powerful small forwards like Cleveland's LeBron James, Boston's Paul Pierce and Denver's Carmelo Anthony, players who have overwhelmed the Lakers in past years.
The Lakers embarked today upon a 13-day, eight-city strip that has stops in Cleveland and Boston.
Artest will get to play against James and Pierce on this trip.
So, Artest was asked if he looked at it as a challenge to face James and Pierce. “Not really, because I had those assignments since I was first in the NBA,” he said. “That’s a normal day of work. It’s nothing new, nothing new to get excited about. I get excited for everything.
“Me and Paul, we’ve had tons of battles over there in the East when I was on Indiana [Pacers] -- even me and LeBron when I was on Indiana. When I left for the West Coast, I kind of think both of those guys were kind of happy to see me go.”
Happy, huh? OK. So does that mean James and Pierce will be happy to see Artest on this trip?
“I think they are,” Artest said. “They are competitive. That was five years ago. This is a new day so now I think they are ready.”
-- Broderick Turner
Photo: Lakers' Ron Artest, front, guards Cleveland's Lebron James during the Cavaliers' 102-87 victory on Dec. 25. Credit: Lisa Blumenfeld / Getty Images