Artest to play in Finland? That’s one report… and it is false

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UPDATE 8:57 pm: As much fun as this sounded like, it turns out not to be true.

10:47 am: We warn you to take this report out of Finland with more salt than you would use to make graavikala — traditional Finnish salt-cured fish. So a lot.

But the Finnish paper is reporting Ron Artest has agreed to play “multiple games” with  Loimaan Korikonkarit of the Finnish league (Ball in Europe has the translation and confirmation). These would be some preseason games, apparently, although if there is a lockout still going on it could be extended, te report says. That team has the same GM who three years ago brought in a 42-year-old Scottie Pippen for one game, and before that had Dennis Rodman for about as long (at the GM’s previous team).

If it were most players we’d blow this report off — the original paper in question apparently has a reputation for sensationalizing stories (according to a PBT reader in Finland). But this Metta World Peace we are talking about. It’s hard to rule anything out.

This reportedly is not tied to an NBA lockout, although it would almost have to be as it’s hard to see the Lakers okaying this. Artest is still under contract with the Lakers. And that could be a problem — players under contract in one NBA league need a “Letter of Clearance” from FIBA to compete in another league. FIBA has hinted they might grant these type of letters if the NBA locks out for the season. But would he get clearance to play in September, as the article suggests?

Artest himself has yet to comment.

Our reader on the ground said the Finnish league is far from the top of the European hoops food chain — American players tend to end up there after they have washed out of other European leagues. Finland is a hockey first country, but Artest would certainly draw some interest.

Not sure this is really going to happen. If fact, likely nothing will happen. But Metta World Peace has done stranger things.

Kevin Love names NBA players he thinks could play in NFL

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The majority of guys in the NBA are not built for the NFL. Blake Griffin the tight end makes a huge target for a free safety to line up. Kevin Durant is a little thin. Carmelo Anthony? Come on now.

But there are a few guys who might be able to, and on his show Dan Patrick asks Kevin Love about it today (see the video above). Then DP tries to take the obvious call of LeBron James off the table.

Nate Robinson as a DB? He’s athletic enough but at his height he would be a target for tall receivers. I like Dan Patrick’s suggestion of Russell Westbrook the free safety — he is certainly athletic enough.

Love also picked himself as a QB. Um, no. I’m not sure his outlet passing skills translate.

Hawks’ Thabo Sefolosha on not guilty verdict: “Justice was served”

Thabo Sefolosha
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Friday morning, a New York jury found Atlanta Hawks guard Thabo Sefolosha not guilty of misdemeanor obstructing government administration, disorderly conduct, and resisting arrest. The charges stemmed from the night in the final weeks of last season when Sefolosha and then teammate Pero Antic went to a New York club after arriving in town, and while there Pacers’ player Chris Copeland was stabbed outside the club. In his clash with police, Sefolosha suffered a broken leg that required surgery and kept him out of the playoffs.

The New York prosecutor tried to make this go away with a plea deal of just day of community service and six months probation. But Sefolosha had the means and mind to fight the charges, got his day in court and won. This is what he said in a statement after the verdict, released by the Atlanta Hawks.

“This morning’s verdict ended a long and emotional period for me.  Justice was served and for that I am eternally grateful to the judge and jury for their quick and deliberate decision….

“It’s troubling to me that with so much evidence in my support that this case would even be brought to trial and that I had to defend myself so hard to get justice. It pains me to think about all of the innocent people who aren’t fortunate enough to have the resources, visibility and access to quality legal counsel that I have had.

“It was important to me as a man, a father to two young girls and as a role model, to stand up for what I believe in and have my name cleared of any wrongdoing.  Today’s verdict will not make up for the pain and trauma my family and I have suffered over the past six months or bring back the opportunity to have played in the Eastern Conference Finals and have a shot at an NBA title, but it does bring me some peace and closes a painful chapter in my life.

“Now I look forward to returning to the team and focusing solely on my rehabilitation for the upcoming season so that I can get back to playing the game I cherish so much.”

While Sefolosha says he is focusing “solely” on his rehab, the win in the criminal case would bode well for a potential civil case if he wanted to sue regarding his treatment and the broken leg.

Hawks’ coach Mike Budenholzer — who testified at the trial and was amused by parts of it — released this statement:

“Thabo is a man of great character and we are proud that he took a principled approach to proving his innocence. We are extremely happy for him and his family, and we are very pleased with today’s verdict in his favor.”