Welcome to The Pulse, the place to find out what the sports world is thinking. Every day on ESPN.com, SportsNation registers its opinion on a wide range of topics by casting votes and chatting with experts in The Show. We collect the daily highlights and put them in The Pulse.
Story of the Day: Ron Artest
There's a saying in some parts of the country that if you don't like the weather, wait and hour and it will change. And now Ron Artest is making weathermen of us all.
What looked like a done deal on Tuesday, a trade sending Artest to Sacramento for equally disgruntled Peja Stojakovic, is now just the latest chapter in a story that SportsNation has had about enough of. Late on Tuesday, the Kings denied the trade was on and reports surfaced that Artest, through his agent, had said he didn't want to play for the Kings. The Pacers called Artest in for a meeting on Wednesday, after which he said he's play anywhere, but it was unclear if the particular deal with the Kings could still be salvaged.
SportsNation's take on the whole affair? Well, at least Artest isn't Terrell Owens. Despite claims to the contrary by some players, voters offered a resounding 'no' when asked if Artest's impact on the Pacers was as negative as T.O.'s on the Eagles. And while voters are more sick of hearing about Artest than Theo Epstein, Barry Bonds or Bode Miller, he's not yet in T.O.'s class for media overkill.
Back in December, only 20% of voters tabbed the Kings as the favorites in the Artest derby, behind both the Nuggets and Warriors. But would the Kings really be the "winners' of the derby? Don't ask a split SportsNation, where 51% of voters would want Artest on their favorite team.
"There are only a select few teams that can make Artest work in their system, and Sacramento isn't one of them. The Kings lucked out, and they don't even know it."
Lucas (Chicago) in the Quickie chat.
How would you feel if you were a Kings fan right now? (15,281 votes)
59.2% Don't make the trade
40.7% Make the trade
Which sports figure are you most tired of hearing about? (45,799 votes)
44.6% Terrell Owens
24.3% Ron Artest
20.8% Barry Bonds
7.6% Theo Epstein
2.5% Bode Miller
Which player's prolonged soap opera do you think had a more negative impact on his teammates? (25,578 votes)
81.4% Terrell Owens on the Eagles
18.5% Ron Artest on the Pacers
If it didn't require giving up a player in return would you want your favorite team to acquire Ron Artest? (4,909 votes)
Voice of the Fan
Eventually, SOMETHING has to be sacred. You can't pay a guy millions to act like Eric Cartman every time he doesn't get his way. "Screw you guys, I'm goin' home!"
Not surprisingly given the turmoil, neither the Pacers nor Kings cracked SportsNation's top 10 in the Power Rankings. But Kobe Bryant carried the Lakers all the way to the top group.
1. Detroit Pistons
2. San Antonio Spurs
3. Phoenix Suns
4. Dallas Mavericks
5. Miami Heat
6. Denver Nuggets
7. Memphis Grizzlies
8. New Jersey Nets
9. Cleveland Cavaliers
10. L.A. Lakers
Considering my team is the Bobcats, sure, why not add Artest? What's the worst that can happen? As long as he doesn't take Emeka Okafor and throw him into the stands, it'd be ok.
Christian (High Point, N.C.)
I'm a Warriors fan, and I was hoping more than anything that they'd land him. Now, I'm not sure. Even with Golden State playing its worst basketball of the season, I'm not sure if it's worth it to make such a dramatic change for such a volatile guy.
Matt (Portland, Ore.)
I don't want him on my team anymore. I hope someone with a Phil-Jackson-sized ego thinks he can handle him, so that we can get him off our hands.
If I have a team and he's available, I want him. His attitude (self-censored)! But that guy can play. Plus as an owner, my ticket sales would rise with him on my team. No brainer. Sign here, Mr. Artest.
R.Keane (Old Southington, Conn.)
I would want him on my team if I had a hardnosed head coach who could keep him in check, as if he were a military drill sergeant. Because Artest is flat-out the most dominant perimeter defensive player in the game today. But that's the only way I would take him.
Joe (Washington, D.C.)
I wouldn't want him. This is the exact same scenario as TO. Wanted to leave his old team, got traded to a new team but refused to go there, then tried to pick his new team.
SportsNation's Show: Expert Opinion
Drew (Lexington): I'll keep it short and sweet: Peja for Artest, a matter of if or when?
Marc Stein: With Artest, we're all probably better off saying IF. Artest-for-Maggette was "done" and look what happened. My quickie reactions are as follows: Indiana would surprise me a bit here by taking on a free-agent-to-be, because keeping Peja is going to be expensive and we keep hearing how concerned Indy is about getting its payroll down. Chicago (a city Peja likes) has significant cap room in the summer and would have a decent shot to steal him away, just to throw out one potential complication. One reason why none of Indy's talks with Denver have resulted in a deal is because Nene is also a free-agent-to-be and the Pacers weren't sure that they'd be able to keep him around. If the Pacers are convinced that they won't lose Peja this summer without at least getting something back for him in a sign-and-trade, then it makes more sense because he can give them some immediate help, which Indy clearly needs. But that brings us to the Sacramento side. I like this for the Kings even less. We've discussed more than once how the Webber trade can't be fully evaluated until we see the big move Sacramento makes as a follow-up. Artest might only be part of the follow-up plan, but if you're a Kings fan, ask yourself this: Is Artest any more reliable than C-Webb's bad knee? Not on this scorecard.
Ron (North Hills): With Kobe going as good as he is, would you trade Lamar Odom and a draft pick for Artest? The rumors are that the Pacers are interested in Odom, and the numbers work.
John Hollinger: Obviously something like this is a calculated risk, but Phil Jackson's track record with Dennis Rodman tells me there's a good chance he could keep Artest under control. If I was Los Angeles, I would be very tempted.