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Artest IS Back Home Again in Indiana

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Sorry for the double-Artest post, but when Ronnie unloads his inner-most thoughts involving the Pacers it deserves its own post. According to this story by Mark Montieth, Ronnie is moving the whole family back to the cozy Indy 'burb of Zionsville, with plans to make it the family's permanent home. Montieth also helped Artest unload some of his old baggage with the Pacers, including his genuine regrets on forcing a trade.

"I reacted a little too fast," he said of his trade request in December 2005. "If I hadn't done that, I'd still be a Pacer now."

Artest was reacting to a home loss to Dallas, his irritation with coach Rick Carlisle's offense, a hand injury, a bogus trade rumor published in the Sacramento Bee, and, most of all, the cloud that had followed him since his 72-game suspension for his role in the brawl at the Palace of Auburn Hills in November 2004.

Already people were speculating about his return to the scene of his life-altering experience at the Palace, still 10 weeks away. That was nagging at his psyche, too.

"I was under a lot of pressure," he said. "I didn't want to go back to Detroit and play in an Indiana jersey. I was under a lot of pressure because that was so crucial in my life. That almost ended my career."
See, the brawl fall out has not stopped raining for three years. I can see how maybe Artest thought he could get suspended for that return game to the Palace, but as he said he went too far. But the key is, he was willing to do anything to avoid one night in Detroit. Unfortunately, to avoid that night in the Palace he had to ruin a second straight season for the Pacers.

With a new coach in town, I figured the next thing out of Ronnie's mouth would be how he'd love to play for Jim O'Brien. But, in fact, he realized life wasn't so bad under Rick Carlisle.
"You know what?" he said. "As frustrated as I was at times playing for Rick . . . I like playing for the Kings, but I wish I was still playing for Rick. Nothing is going to go perfect in anybody's career. Certain guys in the league are mentally tough and always ready. But certain guys like me, because of how I grew up, I act out at times. Then you think about it and say, 'Man, I wish I would have gone about that differently.'

"It's almost like saying you wish you grew up differently. When you grow up like I did, you think that every day, every second is a life-or-death situation, but it's not so. If I could do it again, I would never (have given up on) that team.

"I had no reason to complain. I had a career year under Carlisle. What was I complaining about? When I look back on it, it was just stupid. Your ego takes over you sometimes."
OK, now everyone with a soft spot for Artest (ME!) will try to envision Ronnie returning to the Pacers on the cheap. I just can't see it no matter how hard I look, though. One thing I do know is that the Kings better unload Artest for anything anyone is willing to give.