HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – We had a feeling the rumors about Ron Artest agreeing to play in Finland in the event of an NBA lockout seemed just a tad bit suspicious, since Artest didn’t announce it himself via Twitter (where the name Metta World Peace has already been incorporated).
Artest’s agent, David Bauman, confirmed those suspicions to the Los Angeles Times, calling the entire affair a “publicity stunt,” among other things:
“I’m his agent and nothing has come across my desk,” Bauman said. “Although Ron has asked me to explore all options over in Europe in the event of a prolonged lockout, there are several legal and business considerations that have to be addressed. The biggest one involves insurance. None of those have been addressed and I don’t even know who this guy claiming to have an agreement is. Final thing is what if the league has a lockout for say two weeks and then end up getting a deal. It becomes a moot point.”
Artest currently has a three-year, $21-million contract remaining with the Lakers, making the possibility to play overseas during a possible lockout even more difficult. NBA Commissioner David Stern has publicly maintained players are free to play overseas during a possible lockout, but International Basketball Federation rules require teams to honor contracts signed in other leagues.
“The whole notion strikes me as a publicity stunt,” Bauman said. “Nothing has come across my desk. Ron has asked me to look into options in Europe, but certainly not with a small team in Finland.”
Glad we got that cleared up!