Artest upset about being benched

Updated: October 9, 2003, 9:32 PM ET
Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS -- It took only one exhibition game for new Indiana Pacers coach Rick Carlisle to have something to talk about with Ron Artest.

Ron Artest

Artest, suspended for 12 games for bad behavior or flagrant fouls last season, was whistled midway through the third quarter of Wednesday's game against Chicago.

The call came when Artest acted like he was going to hand the ball to referee Scott Foster and then snatched it back.

Carlisle quickly pulled Artest from the game.

Artest didn't immediately join his teammates on the bench, deciding to sit in a seat on the end line nearest the Pacers bench. He later rejoined them and during a timeout went to midcourt and apologized to Foster.

Artest, who averaged 15.5 points last season and was runner-up for the NBA's Defensive Player of the Year award, was kept on the bench until the fourth quarter and expressed his unhappiness with his new coach in the locker room.

"Obviously coach Carlisle and the referee have never seen anything like that in their life. He gave me a tech and coach took me out," he said.

"If I'm going to be taken out for stuff like that I'd rather not be in the game," Artest said. "I'd rather be with another team. I apologized to the ref and it was that simple. That's all it was."

Carlisle said Thursday he had talked with Artest and was moving forward. However, remarks by Artest indicated he wasn't sure he can play under Carlisle, the former Detroit Pistons coach hired last month to replace Isiah Thomas.

"We just got started," Artest said. "You can't really make judgments fast. You have to wait and see what happens."

Asked whether he was concerned how Carlisle and team president Larry Bird viewed the incident, Artest said he couldn't care less.

"Nothing happened," he said. "I'm not the first one to get a technical foul."

Bird said Thursday that Artest could not be a distraction to the team.

"The coach has got to deal with that," Bird said. "I've dealt with it over the years. I've played with players that were unhappy. The one thing we want here is for our players to be happy. If they don't want to be here, you've got to do something."

Carlisle said he and Artest had talked about Wednesday's technical foul.

"We addressed what we needed to address and it is time to move on," Carlisle said. "I think we have an understanding of what's expected and it is a moving forward situation."

Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press