Thursday, December 29, 2005

Looking For Good Representation

2005 has been a great year in sports. But for the sports agent – not so much. First we had the “T.O. debacle” that I blame as much on Drew Rosenhaus as I do the immaturity of Terrell Owens. And now the “Ron Artest situation” with his own agent Mark Stevens playing a leading role.

Ron Artest needs an agent or friend or somebody to help him know what to say, when to say it and how to act. Mark Stevens didn’t do a good job at that. Where was Stevens when Artest made his desire to be traded so open? I know the man can’t sit next to him at all times, but he should know about any interviews that his client is having, and he should prep Ron or any other athlete about topics that you might not want to discuss. If that would have happened before the interview then maybe Artest wouldn’t have had to backpedal and apologize to his teammates and to Pacers management to try his hardest to stay with Indiana. Stevens obviously didn’t realize that his client was crazy. How he didn’t know is confusing to me.

Stevens did say that he understands that the Pacers want to trade Artest now. Artest has been inactive since his trade request on December 6th. Good – I’m glad he’s catching on.

So where will the player that Larry Bird called a “top 12 player in the league” end up? Some people have said Los Angeles - others have said Denver and Minnesota. Artest has said that he wouldn’t mind playing with LeBron James in Cleveland. He also said he would love to play in Denver because "it has nice scenery." Nice scenery? Ronnie, please get on some type of meds.

We’re talking about the same guy that lost 73 regular season and playoff games last year because of the brawl in Detroit when he ran into the seats to fight fans. He’s not even playing with just half of the deck, more like 15 or 16 cards. You can’t trust what he says and you had better not trust what he might do. We’ve seen him fight on the court, slam cameras out of the hands of cameramen, allegedly break Michael Jordan's ribs in a pickup game and say some of the most ludicrous things.

It was just this offseason that Artest said his goal was to help the Pacers win the NBA Championship this season, and that he didn’t care about individual goals. Then during this season's early weeks he changed that stance when he questioned why he wasn't getting enough shots. And then his now infamous comments about how his past haunts him in Indianapolis and how the Pacers would be better team without him.

Let’s look at the facts here – the guy is incredibly talented and has great size and speed for a small forward. He’s 6’ 7” and 260 pounds and has been an All-Star and won the Defensive Player of the Year Award. In most offenses he’ll be the number two scorer and can drop 20 points a night regularly. There are probably a dozen or so teams that will want to trade for him. Whatever team that Pacers CEO Donnie Walsh and Team President Larry Bird choose will most likely be giving up a starter and a few draft picks. I can see him on several teams and can see him having success. The biggest concern will always be his temperament.

Right now, reports are that Artest is working out and spending lots of time with his family. I’m wondering if after spending last year with him they might be sick of hanging out with him like the Pacers finally are?

Artest is a wild-child – but it all goes back to who keeps him in line. Mark Stevens should be replaced because he didn't…maybe by somebody with a straight jacket and a muzzle? Artest needs to take responsibilty of his own actions, but when you're not all there - the people around you must keep you in line (or try).


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