Artest Wants Out Of L.A. ?

Posted by the L.A. Times's Mark Medina:

Ron Artest's agent, David Bauman, refuted an ESPN report that said Artest hoped the Lakers traded him.

"Ron is not looking for a trade," Bauman said. "The frustration is there among everyone on the team. But Ron is a Laker, and he just wants to win. Ron is frustrated with the losing, as everybody is."

After the Lakers' 109-96 loss Sunday to the Boston Celtics, General Manager Mitch Kupchak told the Los Angeles Times' Broderick Turner and's Scott Howard-Cooper he was considering making a trade. The Times' Mike Bresnahan highlighted the limited trade options the Lakers had because of their "aging roster and cumbersome salaries," noting that Artest's trade value was low because of his season-long inconsistency, his age (31) and because he had three more years left on his contract after this season worth $21.8 million. And though both Ron Artest's brother, Daniel Artest, and the report itself said Daniel wasn't the source, he suggested on his Twitter account during the Lakers-Rockets game Tuesday that he was frustrated.

The ESPN report stressed that it was likely Artest could change his mind given his fickle personality and the fact that his relationship with Lakers Coach Phil Jackson had improved ever since a Yahoo! sports report in December on a confrontation during practice between Artest and Jackson in which Artest voice his frustrations with Jackson publicly criticizing him. Said Bauman: "Ron and Phil have definitely seen each other eye to eye better."

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