Report: Artest likely to remain with Kings next season

4/2/2008 - NBA Ron Artest Sacramento Kings + more

Ron Artest says it's likely he'll remain with the Sacramento Kings next season rather than opt out of his contract.

"Most likely we won't [opt out]," Artest, speaking for himself and agent Mark Stevens, said after Tuesday's win over the Houston Rockets, according to The Sacramento Bee.

"We're not really worried about the money or anything like that. We're just worried about playing ball. That's how I've been this whole season, just worried about playing ball and we'll see what happens," Artest said, according to the report.

Artest has changed his mind on such matters before. But according to the report, he said his happiness in Sacramento outweighs the money he could make on the free agent market. Artest is due to make $7.4 million next season.

"There's a lot of teams that could use me out there that are [under the salary] cap and have got the money," he said, according to the Bee. "The issue's not the market, because there's only a few players as good as me that [will be] free agents out there anyway.

"I just like [the Kings]. I told my agent that. I said there's only a few people I'm wanting to play for," Artest said, according to the report. "And we're not going to expose those names, or those teams, but I just want to win."

Kings co-owner Joe Maloof said earlier this week that he would consider re-signing Artest if he doesn't opt out, the Bee reported.

"If he plays great this year and decides not to opt out and has another terrific year, then sure we're going to look at signing him," Maloof said, according to the newspaper. "Sure, absolutely. It's up to him, though, really. It's up to him. The ball's in his court. ... All the guys like him in the locker room. He brings such an intensity to the game. It's up to him."