On The Move
Published 3:42 am Thursday, July 9, 2009
Finally a Laker, Ron Artest won’t guarantee another ring for his new team.
Especially not since some recent NBA champions made moves that could get them back to the top.
Boston and San Antonio signed veteran power forwards Wednesday, with Rasheed Wallace joining the Celtics and Antonio McDyess agreeing to a deal with the Spurs.
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They left the Detroit Pistons, who added Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva to a former title contender looking to get younger and better.
Wednesday was the first day deals could be signed, and Artest called it, ‘‘a long time coming,’’ saying he’s wanted to join Kobe Bryant in Los Angeles for many years. He received a five-year deal worth about $33 million, according to his agent, David Bauman.
Bryant has said he’s not sure the Lakers are a better team with Artest, who agreed with the assessment.
‘‘It’s not a given that just because you add me to the team we’re going to be the No. 1 team,’’ Artest said. ‘‘You’ve got to put that work in.
‘‘That’s something that I’m not afraid to do.’’
He changed places with Trevor Ariza, who took Artest’s forward spot in Houston. Ariza decided to leave a starting role with the NBA champions and an attempt by the Cleveland Cavaliers to change his mind.
‘‘It was tempting — very, very tempting,’’ he said. ‘‘But at the end of the day, I felt like Houston was the best place for me. I got approached by some really good teams. I felt like I could help this team a lot more and help myself also by being here.’’
Gordon and Villanueva agreed to their deals on July 1, the day free agency opened. Gordon, one of the top free agents this summer, signed a $55 million, five-year contract in leaving Chicago and Villanueva inked a $35-million, five-year deal as he bid farewell to Milwaukee.
They were teammates at Connecticut, where they won a national championship in 2004.
‘‘Ben and I, we’re two very good offensive players,’’ Villanueva said. ‘‘The last time I played with Ben, we won a championship so that made my decision a little easier.’’
—The Toronto Raptors re-signed former No. 1 pick Andrea Bargnani to a five-year, $50 million contract extension, as they also closed in on a deal with free agent forward Hedo Turkoglu.
—Chris ‘‘Birdman’’ Andersen reached a five-year deal that could be worth up to $26 million to keep his high-flying, shot-blocking act with the Denver Nuggets, the team he revived his career with last season.
—The Lakers also signed guard Shannon Brown to a two-year contract for $4.2 million. They are still trying to retain free agent forward Lamar Odom, who averaged 12.3 points and 9.1 rebounds during the playoffs.
—The Atlanta Hawks and center Zaza Pachulia agreed on a four-year contract, a person with knowledge of the negotiations told The Associated Press.
—Quinton Ross returned to his hometown, signing with the Dallas Mavericks.