Report: Kings to wait on Artest
Kings president Geoff Petrie acknowledged that Artest and his agent, Mark Stevens, have not decided whether to exercise his 2008-09 contract option, according to a report Thursday by the Sacramento Bee.
Artest will make $8.45 million next season if he accepts the final year of his contract. But the mercurial forward also can opt out of the deal and become a free agent.
“I’m sure Mark is going to do his due diligence, and they will decide what they are going to do,” Petrie told the Bee. “They have up to June 30 to make a notification of their decision.”
The free-agent market for Artest, 28, is unclear. A talented but temperamental player, he battled injuries this past season to average 20.5 points and 5.8 rebounds in 57 games.
It marked the second full season in Sacramento for Artest, who missed two games during the 2006-07 campaign after being arrested on felony charges of domestic violence.
The melee began when Artest charged into the stands at The Palace of Auburn Hills, igniting a wild fight between fans and several Pacers players.
The 2004 Defensive Player of the Year, Artest was suspended without pay by the NBA for the last 75 games of the 2004-05 season, a penalty which cost him nearly $5 million in salary.
Artest made more negative headlines the following season when he publicly requested a trade in December 2005. Indiana eventually granted the surly star’s request, dealing him to Sacramento for Peja Stojakovic.
A 2004 All-Star, Artest has averaged 16.0 points and 5.1 rebounds in parts of nine seasons with Sacramento, Indiana and Chicago.