And, then Jackson and his girlfriend, Jeanie Buss, jumped in… Easy, hormonal readers. I make jokes, however, the title of this post is true. Phil Jackson reveals a story below about Ron entering the Lakers locker room and his longtime desire to acquire Artest. Is this tampering? Doesn’t matter; what does Jax care if he gets fined again? Not much time on the clock for him anyway. Phil’s candid assessments of Ron-Ron’s game are very refreshing and he seems up for the challenge of reining him in a little bit. I assume when negotiations with Trevor Ariza fell apart, LA made the next best move in their eyes and signed the colorful Artest. Included in the contract is a clause that requires both Ron’s dressing room stall and shower stall be next to Kobe’s. Jackson joined KLAC to discuss when Ron appeared in the Lakers’ dressing room, what Artest can bring to the table when right, and if the Lakers picked between Artest and Ariza.
Did Kobe Bryant have a say in allowing Ron Artest to join the team?
“Last year after the devastating loss in game 6 to the Boston Celtics, Ron Artest came in our locker and walked in the shower with Kobe Bryant. Kobe’s there taking a shower – and this is a locker room the coaches have, it’s off limits – so, Ron said, ‘Coach, I can help your team, I can get that championship for the Lakers.’ I said, ‘Well, thanks Ron, that’s very nice, I appreciate your sympathies. We’ll see what happens as you go through this year.’ Then, he walked out of that coaches’ area, and in to the shower and told Kobe the same thing. Kobe’s been knowing Ron’s intentions for the last two years… He didn’t soap down Kobe and he didn’t towel him off, I’m not saying that.”
What do you get in Ron Artest?
“He’s an unknown. He’s a player that I mean if I think his own teams don’t know exactly what he’s going to do that particular night. What he does do well is defend – he’s a strong defender that can play a variety of roles on defense, as a shutdown guy, he can run big or small, he can go two-guards or power forwards depending upon what their challenge is, and he likes that. I think that’s his calling card for us. He does have an accurate three-point shot and he’s a good post-up player.”
Did the Lakers organization have to pick between Ariza and Artest?
“I wasn’t given the either/or. They knew we had Ron on our wishlist for what, three years now? And, we needed a defender, somebody that was a lockdown defender besides a Kobe Bryant that would take on the chores, and Trevor turned out to be that guy this year. So, I was quite surprised, as was most of our fans that negotiations did not go well with Trevor and his people. And, we think that we have a player that has probably a little more dimensions than Trevor, but still Trevor has that youth and that speed that we’ll miss.”