Here’s a headline you could have seen coming from a mile away.
About the only thing less surprising was Metta’s explanation for his less-than-impressive cardio.
“When David Stern says there’s going to be a nuclear winter, I’m thinking the season isn’t starting anytime soon. So a little more martinis in November and then, boom, David Stern says no nuclear winter and we have a season.”
Such is the conundrum that is the man formerly known as Ron Artest. You want to give him credit for being honest and owning it but then again you can’t overlook his misgivings. Metta admits to not playing much ball during the extended downtime. He also claims the lockout affected his ability to rehab his Achilles. However that didn’t stop him from doing his best Frankenstein impersonation on Dancing With The Stars.
And while we’re on the subject of Metta’s off-season, how exactly was he going to ball in Britain, Finland or Estonia if he wasn’t even getting ready for a basketball season of any kind?
Currently the Lakers are on the hook for three years and another $21-million for the World Peace fund. Oh…but there is this little tool known as the “Amnesty Clause” which all NBA teams have at their disposal. Just consider it a Gilbert Arenas eradicator of sorts.
Given Metta’s career worst season and now his clear lack of dedication that clause is becoming a reality.
No doubt aware his paycheck is on the line, Metta made sure to bust his tail on the first day of practice. Proving his tactics worked like a charm, new head coach Mike Brown took notice as evident by this quote given to the L.A. Times.
“The thing that excited me about him is during drillls he always tried to keep himself in to give himself some extra reps. I know for sure he went through at least two practice jerseys if not more. He’s working his tail off and you can’t ask for anything more.”
These were the inevitable crossroads that the Lakers knew they’d eventually hit when signing a then Artest. His first season in Los Angeles wasn’t great but he made big plays when the Lake Show needed them. Last year Metta was a no-show and now he’s clearly given in to all of those distractions he initialed ignored here in Los Angeles.
Coach Brown might be willing to give World Peace a chance but how much more will the Buss family and Mitch Kupchak tolerate?