Add Laker Ron Artest to the list that includes David Stern and Charles Barkley. While Artest was talking to the media about preparations for the NBA Finals and a showdown with the Celtics, he was asked about LeBron’s free agency decision. Of course he was. And who asked him about it? Why the New York Daily News of course. Let’s hope that they at least waited until he talked about the Celtics series before pushing their own agenda on Artest.
“He should stay where he is, he should stay in Cleveland,” Artest told the Daily News Wednesday after practice at Staples Center. “He’s done great things in Cleveland. Why leave?”
Artest, 30, was careful to say that he did not tell James to stay away from New York. And he did not repeat his theory from last November, that the Knicks could be hurt in recruiting free agents because marquee players are “so scared of the pressure and the media” in New York.
“I don’t know what he’s going to do,” Artest said. “But he should stay.”
There you have it. At least he didn’t pretend to have some sort of insight. He could however have helped LeBron make that decision easier by signing with the Cavs instead of the Lakers last off-season. But I suppose you could hardly blame the guy. He is getting ready to play in the NBA Finals and the Cavaliers are on vacation.
Also making the rounds through the rumor mill are names for Cleveland’s coaching vacancy-
John Reid of The Times-Picayune wrote, “Source in Cleveland informs me that former Hornets coach Byron Scott is under consideration for vacant Cavs’ job”, via his Twitter page on Wednesday.
Scott, Cavs assistant coach Chris Jent, Milwaukee assistant coach Kelvin Sampson and Lakers assistant Brian Shaw are the names that have been mentioned as candidates to receive an interview from Cleveland general manager Danny Ferry.
Scott and I had a conversation about Chris Jent becoming the head coach at last week’s WFNY Tribe Social Deck event. Jent as most of you already know is the Cavs assistant coach that has been working with LeBron on his shooting for better than two years now. LeBron trusts Jent, and has even gone as far as to take the former Buckeye with him on trips around the country and even to China last summer in order to have regular workouts.
LeBron has said, at least publicly, that he will not be picking the next Cavalier head coach. Including Jent’s name on the candidate list sure seems like a ploy by the Cavaliers. Is Jent really qualified to be a head coach at this level? I can’t answer that to be honest. It seems a little premature to think that he would be ready. He hasn’t been given the coaching responsibilities that Michael Malone or Hank Egan has on the team. But he has coached Cleveland’s summer league teams before. I would dare say that if Jent were given the head coaching job it would mean the end of him flying around with LeBron to help him work on his shooting. No head coach would do that.