“I really want to finish my career in Sacramento because of my relationship with some of the players,” Artest said, according to the New York Post. “I want to finish with Sacramento. I feel attached to Sacramento. I want to be their franchise player.”
Artest has been the subject of trade rumors as of late, specifically to the New York Knicks. Artest grew up in Queens, went to LaSalle High School in Manhattan, then attended St. John’s University before joining the NBA. The Knicks had an opportunity to draft Artest in 1999, but chose French center Frederic Weis instead.
The small forward is best known for being the center of the “Palace Brawl,” which started when a fan in Detroit hurled a beer at him and Artest responded by running into the crowd to fight the man. Artest was subsequently suspended for the remainder of the season and was then traded to Sacramento.
Though his contract runs through the 2009-10 season, Artest has the ability to opt out of his contract after next season. When asked about his contract, he made it clear that he is not thinking of leaving the Kings. “I’m not looking to break the bank. I probably won’t opt out,” he said. “I’m not chasing the money too much. I’m worried about winning more than opting out.”
Artest has career averages of 15.4 points per game, 5.0 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 2.1 steals; he was also the 2004 NBA Defensive Player of the Year.