Pacers aren't pushing Artest . . . yet

Are the Sonics ready to send Brent Barry to the Pacers for Ron Artest?

Updated: September 12, 2003, 11:51 AM ET
By Chad Ford | NBA Insider
Ten days, a trip to Africa, and 16,000 frequent-flyer miles later, here's what we're hearing around the league. . .

  • It's nice to see Peter Vescey awake from his summer hibernation. But his report in the New York Post that the Pacers might trade Ron Artest to the Sonics for Brent Barry simply can't happen. Artest is starting the first year of his six-year extension this year. That makes Artest a base-year compensation player. That means in any trade for Artest, the Pacers can take back only $2.7 million of Artest's $5.5 million salary. Barry makes $5.4 million this year, so there's a $2.6 million gap that would have to be made up.

    While it appears that no one on the Pacers, with the exception of Jermaine O'Neal, is completely safe . . . don't expect the Sonics to blow off Artest this fast. Some in Indiana feel that Artest's bizarre behavior last season was due, in part, to Isiah Thomas' constant pushing of Artest to be the "tough guy" on the team. While Artest had a history of being eccentric before he ever hooked up with Isiah, he never had any serious problems on the court before last year.

    Chad Ford

    ESPN Senior Writer