Ron-Ron is about to be gone-gone.
A source close to the Sacramento Kings says a trade has been agreed upon sending Ron Artest to Houston for former Kings point guard Bobby Jackson, first-round draft pick Donte Greene, next season's first-round pick and cash considerations of approximately $1 million.
The deal, the source said, cannot be finalized until Aug.14 because of the nature of Greene's contract. A Rockets official who requested anonymity because of the private nature of trade talks said of the likely deal: "It feels very done to me."
A second source close to the Kings said second-round draft picks Sean Singletary and Patrick Ewing Jr. could be sent to Houston as a means to keep the Kings under the luxury tax threshold ($71 million). Both players have partially guaranteed contracts that aren't fully guaranteed until the regular season begins. That element of the deal, however, could be handled with different pieces in the deal as well. Kings basketball president Geoff Petrie issued a statement Tuesday afternoon.
"We've had some very positive discussions with Houston involving Ron, but no trade is imminent at this time," Petrie said.
Reached by phone Tuesday afternoon, Jackson who will earn $6.09 million in the final season of his contract said he had just been told of the likely trade.
"I got wind of it, but it's not done yet," said Jackson, the point guard who was a fan favorite with the Kings from 2000 to 2005. "It's a possibility. I don't know yet."
The Artest era in Houston will begin just as it did in Sacramento with Rick Adelman as his coach. It is quite an addition for the Rockets, who needed a potent third piece to complement Tracy McGrady and Yao Ming after losing in the first round of the playoffs in three of the four seasons the superstars have been teamed. They missed the playoffs in 2005-06.
When the mercurial small forward first was traded to the Kings from Indiana in January 2006, he flourished under Adelman. The Kings went 26-14 down the stretch with Artest after starting the season 18-24, then pushed the eventual NBA champion San Antonio Spurs to six games in a competitive first-round playoff series.
As recently as this summer, Artest had shared his admiration for Adelman, saying he wished his free-agency year had come that season because of his ability to play well under the veteran coach. It is an ideal reunion for Artest, who decided not to opt out of his contract by the June 30 deadline and almost immediately expressed regret for doing so.
While Artest repeatedly had stated his desire to remain with the Kings, the organization was not interested in signing him to a long-term deal. Artest, however, had been given a different impression. On July 1, he requested a conference call with his agent and Petrie in which he according to sources with knowledge of the talks expressed his desire for a maximum contract. To the contrary, he was informed that he was not in the team's long-term plans. Its plan, of course, was to further the youth movement.
This trade certainly fits that plan. Green, a 6-foot-10 small forward who played one season at Syracuse, was taken by Memphis with the 28th pick and traded on draft night to Houston as part of a three-team deal also involving Portland. He is seen as a major piece of the team's future, an athletic scorer whom many league executives expected to be taken higher in the draft. His coming-out party in Las Vegas summer league earlier this month seemed to support that notion, as Green (22.6 points in five games) was the second leading scorer. He will earn $971,160 in the first of his two guaranteed years.
DENG, BULLS AGREE TO NEW DEAL: Restricted free agent forward Luol Deng and the Chicago Bulls have agreed to six-year contract that could be worth as much as $80 million.
The Bulls e-mailed a news release Wednesday afternoon announcing the "contract signing of Luol Deng." No details on the deal were released.
General manager John Paxson did not immediately return a phone call from The Associated Press.
The new deal was reported earlier by the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times and ESPN.com, which said the contract would include $71 million in guaranteed money.
Deng averaged 17 points and 6.3 rebounds last season, while shooting 47.9 percent. That marked a drop from 2006-07, when he scored 18 points a game with 7.1 rebounds, while making 51.7 percent of his shots. Deng had rejected a five-year contract extension last October that was worth $57.5 million.
A four-year pro out of Duke, the 6-foot-9 Deng has career averages of 15.6 points and 6.4 rebounds.