Looks like Ron Artest will not be playing basketball in England after all.
It’s not that the Cheshire Jets don’t want him, they do. And it’s not that Artest wouldn’t go there to play for peanuts, he would. Although he did postpone his trip to Great Britain to meet with the team last week.
It’s insurance. The insurance to cover the remaining money $21.6 millon on Artest’s deal should he get injured.
The Chester Chronicle has the details (via Eye on Basketball):
Later it was reported the deal had been scrapped, Artest’s agent unhappy with the $33 million star’s insurance package to play during the NBA player dispute known as the ‘lockout’….
“The next few days we need to work really hard,” (club director Pete Hawkins) said. “Insurance was always an issue from the outset but we are still trying hard to ensure Ron has the protection he needs to play.”
We were always hoping against hope this would happen. Just because it would have been fun to watch. But once again, money gets in the way of our entertainment.
It’s not about the money.
If Ron Artest goes and plays for the Cheshire Jets — and he really want to — he would make less than most of you reading this. Basically everyone reading this who isn’t a student. And even some of them (especially the “students” playing football at Ohio State).
Artest detailed the salary to the Los Angeles Times.
Artest said he will make between $1,500 to $2,500 a month playing for the Jets, although that’s not definitive since the deal isn’t finalized.
Soon-to-be Metta World Peace would pad that income with marketing opportunities, ways he could raise his profile in Great Britain, such as possibly being on a British soap opera. Although I see Artest as a better fit on an episode of “Dr. Who.”
For Artest, playing overseas is about fun, not the money (he potentially risks the $21 million he has on his NBA deal, although his agent is looking for insurance). That makes his intentions more pure than some big name player signing to play in China because he can help increase his brand and sell more shoes.
All we are saying, is World Peace is going to give England a chance.
Yesterday, his handers were trying to play down the idea of Ron Artest — soon to officially be Metta World Peace — playing for the Cheshire Jets in England next season. He’s just going there next week to get the lay of the land, they said.
Meanwhile the Lakers forward himself is rushing full speed ahead with the exuberance that usually accompanies his off the court activities. Artest doesn’t really know going slow. And speaking with Mark Medina at the Los Angeles Times, Artest wasn’t trying to apply the breaks, he was hitting the gas.
“I’m definitely going to play for the Jets,” Artest said in a phone interview Thursday night. “I’m definitely going to play for the Jets.”
Just for the record Ron (or Metta), it’s bad negotiating tactics to tell the other side you’re going to take a deal before you talk price. Not that they can pay much anyway, but they are trying to be creative, like having Artest get a role on a British soap opera.
“I went on Jimmy Kimmel in my underwear, so, of course I would do a soap opera,” said Artest, who also appeared Thursday in George Lopez’s series finale. “Hands down. When they told me I had the opportunity and asked if I wanted to do a soap opera, I said, ‘Of course, man.’ I’m not going to run away. When I was a kid, I wanted to be on TV. Why would I run away from being on TV?”
That leaves it to his agent and others to deal with the dull details of things like finding insurance for the remaining $21 million he has in NBA salary.
But it looks like this is a go; Artest thinks it will be fun.
The Cheshire Jets are serious about getting Ron Artest — soon to be Metta World Peace — on their team. They’ve got the meetings set and the jerseys made.
What they don’t have is money. Nobody in Europe pays NBA-level money but the Jets don’t have the money that a team in Turkey or China or Spain or even Greece could offer. Well, maybe Greece these days, but you get the idea.
So they are trying other ways to entice him with other perks, club director Peter Hawkins told Marc Stein of ESPN.
“You’ll appreciate that we haven’t got the means to entice someone of Ron’s standing on financial grounds,” Hawkins said. “Our commitment is to help raise Ron’s profile in the UK in order to help him develop his music and movie career over here while playing basketball.”
One possibility, according to a source with knowledge of the Jets’ plans, is trying to find Artest a role on a British soap opera.
As tends to be the pattern, Artest is jumping into whatever interests him with the energy of a 14-year-old boy while his agent and publicist spend time playing the adult. In this case, they say he is going to England next week just to take some meetings and get a sense of the place, not make a decision. Meanwhile Artest is tweeting “ Jets are the best!!!”
It could really happen. It may not. But the Jets are putting together a creative package, that much is clear.
After Ron Artest tweeted to the world the picture of his name on a Cheshire Jets jersey and a whole lot of “Jets are the Best” a number of outlets reported that Artest had signed to play with the English team.
Except, he hasn’t signed. Not yet.
He tweeted this on Tuesday night.
“First I have to do my tv show first Then Finland for a week Then right to Uk But when lakers call You already know !!!”
He’ll be in Great Brittan soon and will speak with the team then, reports the Los Angeles Times.
Lakers forward Ron Artest will be in the United Kingdom from Aug. 18 to 23 to speak with officials with the British Basketball League’s Cheshire Jets about possibly playing overseas with them during the NBA lockout, Artest’s publicist, Courtney Barnes, said Tuesday evening.
Artest is clearly interested in playing over there, but this is Artest — he’s interested in a lot of things. His attention bounces from one to the next like a teenager. He may decide he’s in and then change his mind and then change it again a dozen times between now and when he has to make a final call.
I think Artest would have fun playing in England, even if it is not the most challenging of European leagues. Whether he will or not is anybody’s guess.